At Long Last…Music And Songs
From Arrested Development
Music By David Schwartz & Various Artists
Varese Sarabande VSD-7233
42 Tracks/Disc Time: 58:30
Ten years ago, Fox aired what would be come a cult comedy that would be an Emmy winning darling and yet despite this, the network yanked it off the air after three successful seasons. If you don’t know the story of “Arrested Development” which was developed by Mitchell Hurwitz and produced by Oscar winning director Ron Howard (“Apollo 13”, “Rush”), who also provides the voice of the shows’ narrator to hilarious results and his producing partner Brian Grazer (“Apollo 13″,”Frost/Nixon”, A Beautiful Mind” amongst many others) means you’ve missed out on a terrific series that was on the verge of getting bigger and bigger if it was left alone and continued its’ journey into one of Fox’s longest running series. That was not to be however at least until Netflix stepped in and finally gave the fans what they’ve been wanting for years: the return of the nutty Bluth family lead by the honest and hardworking Michael (Jason Bateman, “Horrible Bosses”) who’s been trying to be the responsible one in guiding the Bluth’s out of the serious trouble that his father, George Sr. (Jeffery Tambor, “Mr. Mom”, “Meet Joe Black”) got them into and landed him in prison with the family’s assets now frozen. Michael tries to balance his fatherhood in teaching his son George-Michael (Michael Cera, “Superbad”, “This Is The End”) the right things while keeping the rest of his oddball family members in line that include the always imaginative GOB (George Oscar Bluth III) (Will Arnett, “Blades Of Glory”), the seductive and manipulative sister Lindsey (Portia DeRossi) who’s married to the lovable goof Tobias (David Cross, “Small Soldiers”) and while trying to obtain some type of control over their mom, Lucille (Jessica Walter, “PCU”), who still tries to live a life of luxury despite the always klutzy Buster (Tony Hale, “The Heat”) close by her side and while George-Michael shares a strong attraction to his beautiful cousin Mabye (Alia Shawkat, “Juno”, “Three Kings”). Michael’s life became a three ring circus complete with repeated escape attempts from his father, salvaging what’s left of the family business, dealing with their father’s sleazy lawyer Barry (Henry Winkler, “Happy Days”) at point falling in love with the lovely Charlize Theron (in a very special appearance in season three) all guided by the voice of Ron Howard.
The show was a hit and still is with this new season along with seasons’ past featuring some outrageous and hilarious cameos by the likes of Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Amy Poehler, Liza Minnelli, Isla Fisher, Christine Taylor, Dave Thomas, Terry Crews, Scott Baio, Justine Bateman, Seth Rogen, Carl Weathers, Ed Helms, John Slattery, Jane Lynch, Heather Graham, and Julia-Louis Dreyfus to name a few of the stars that have appeared over the years including this season. One constant from the series is the use of its’ music courtesy of composer David Schwartz, who has returned to the series after the series’ long hiatus and possible big screen version, which is still in the works by Twentieth Century-Fox.
Starting with the famous ukulele theme (“Arrested Development (Main Title)”), the album reminds me alot of the “The Simpsons” concept soundtrack albums that were released by Rhino Records and later on another label, that featured songs and original score mixed with dialog from the show. This one features no dialog but it does feature alot of extended versions of songs from the current season that are just infectiously goofy that include “Balls In The Air,” “Get Away” and “Shot By Love.” along with favorites from the previous three seasons in “Big Yellow Joint,” “Fantastic 4 (medley)” and “Motherboy.” that are huge fan favorites which fans have clammored for over the years. The album features a few choice selections of Schwartz’s fun music that include some inspired moments in the Django Reinhardt take offs “She’s Cute”, “She Winked”, “The Cute Test”, “Face Blindness” and “The Chipper”, the goofy polka styled “Buster & Lucille & George & GOB”, the Latin tinged “Rub It In” and the shows’ awesome End Credit suite “Police Cruise”, which is very infectious and lovely goofy. That flute motif just kills me in a good way.
When I heard that there was finally going to be a soundtrack album for the show (and hopefully inspired by the interview I had done with David earlier this summer in which we mentioned the music from the series and a possible album), I instantly got excited because I love David Schwartz’s music for the series and it’s just that good and loveable that you just want to listen to it as much as possible away from the show itself. What is on this album is not terrible and in fact is what most die hard fans of the series would’ve wanted just to have their favorite songs and score from the show’s four seasons to date. As a concept album, it really does work because the album brilliant interveaves from one goofy ballad to the next without hesitation and that’s where the album’s strongest assets lay in. What is sacrificed is Schwartz’s score for there are tons of wonderful material that I was hoping to see included on here including the first season’s Brazillian Bahia’ take off which just sends happy chills everytime I see it in the pilot episode.
You still have to commend Varese Sarabande, one of the greatest soundtrack labels in the world for having the gull to release this album and the production is definitely high quality all the way. Yet, the fault is that will have the lingering shadow of the “The Simpsons” albums that have come before it that really got an excellent mix of Alf Clausen’s terrific music involved with the goofy songs and dialog that just made it really enjoyable to listen to outside of the show. Perhaps, a second album is being planned to rectify the missing material and have a great focus on David Schwartz’s music and maybe some of Ron Howard’s funny narration included. Recommended for the fact that it’s a great show and features great goofy music to savor.