Various Artists – Spirited (Soundtrack From The Apple Original Film)

Republic Records

Release Date: November 18th 2022

Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre

Various Artists Spirited (Soundtrack From The Apple Original Film) (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. That Christmas Mornin’ Feelin’ (feat. Will Ferrell, Patrick Page, Sunita Mani, Tracy Morgan, The Spirited Ensemble)
  2. Present’s Lament (feat. Will Ferrell)
  3. Bringin’ Back Christmas (feat. Ryan Reynolds, The Spirited Ensemble)
  4. The View From Here ( Octavia Spencer)
  5. The Story Of Your Life (Marley’s Haunt) (feat. Patrick Page & Ryan Reynolds)
  6. Good Afternoon (feat. Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, The Spirited Ensemble)
  7. The Story Of Your Life (Clint’s Pitch) (feat. Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell)
  8. Unredeemable (feat. Will Ferrell, The Spirited Ensemble)
  9. The View From Here (Riverwalk) (feat. Octavia Spencer, Will Ferrell)
  10. Do A Little Good (feat. Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell, Patrick Page, Sunita Mani, Tracy Morgan)
  11. That Christmas Mornin’ Feelin’ (Curtain Call) (feat. Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell, Octavia Spencer, Patrick Page, Andrea Anders, Tracy Morgan, Marlow Barkley, Jen Tullock, The Spirited Ensemble)
  12. Ripple (Cut Song) (feat. Will Ferrell, Sunita Mani, Tracy Morgan, Patrick Page, The Spirited Ensemble)

There’s been many Christmas movies released to mainstream media over the years. Movies like Elf, The Polar Express, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Santa Clause, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life, Die Hard, Jingle All The Way, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Scrooged and Love Actually have been written into folklore and history as being classic, iconic movies to be watched during the December holiday season, year upon year upon year. It’s these movies that we watch each year that we don’t get sick of, and now…let’s add another movie to such a list as this. Spirited, distributed through Apple TV + in 2022, is one such movie that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, and many reviews online (through Rotten Tomatoes) also say this fact as well- with a 71% score on this tomat-o-meter as well as a 81% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes too, and it’s certainly a movie to sit up and take notice. I watched the movie with the family late last year, and boy did this movie not disappoint. Sure, me ‘reviewing’ this soundtrack, around 8 months after the movie released, seems a little redundant now, but nevertheless, this is my thoughts on the music that has accompanied one of the most surprising ‘sleeper’ hit movies of 2022. Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds are great comedy actors and the way they play and improvise off of each other, shows us a level of mutual respect and camaraderie not shown enough amongst comedy actors nowadays- not since the bromance of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in the movies of Zoolander, Starsky and Hutch and the Meet the Parents series, have I seen a ‘bromance’ played between Ryan and Will, so well. This movie, in and of itself, is a modern day retelling of sorts, of the age-old Christmas carol story, originally by Charles Dickens, and indeed a timeless classic tale of second chances, hope, forgiveness, starting over, and changing one-self for the better. Sure, it’s given an up-to-date demeanor and shine, but the story and essence are still there. It’s a movie that is fun for the whole family, and a movie that has tremendous replay value- I myself will be re-watching the movie when December rolls around again.

The soundtrack (which stands at 12 songs and a little over 37 minutes) makes little sense if you’ve never seen the movie, and thus, anyone who hasn’t seen Spirited (and have gotten this far into this ‘review’) needs to stop reading and watch the movie…now. It’s a soundtrack, just like the soundtracks for Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman, where the songs are heavily plot-driven, and anyone who hasn’t seen these movies will indeed spoil themselves if they hear the songs without any context (funnily enough, the writers of the songs on Spirited, Justin Paul and Benji Pasnek, have written for both The Greatest Showman and Dear Evan Hansen). Nevertheless, these 12 songs are powerful and compelling, and even without context, still drive home points, messages and themes that are relevant to society in general. ‘That Christmas Mornin’ Feeling’ celebrates the joy that happens when people change their lives around Christmastime (and hopefully, the change is stickable, long-term and infectious to others), whilst ‘Present’s Lament’, in the movie itself, shows Will Ferrell’s character, The Ghost of Christmas Present, longing to become a human again, to have a second chance at life, and do the things that he missed out on when he was alive (the song therefore challenges this notion of regret, and making sure you live life without it…and around the holidays, regret especially comes out in drove and spades). ‘Bringin’ Back Christmas’ has Ryan Reynolds try his hand at singing, to much success, as the song challenges listeners to embrace a more authentic Christmas-like experience, to rid themselves of the corporate things that come with the commericalisation of the holiday, and to get back to the grass roots of what the season is really about- friends, family, togetherness, and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

The emotional ‘The View From Here’ has Octavia Spencer sing via her character Kimberly, lamenting of the fact that her high-flying office job has come by at the steep price of her morals and ethics- ‘…they say, “Climb the ladder, no matter the cost”. But nobody tells you how much can get lost, that decent and hopeful young woman you were, well, you wake up one day, and you wonder ‘what happened to her?’ That woman was made to see good in each heart but now she gets paid to pull people apart. And, I mean, hey, look at me, MVP, Employee of the Year, well, maybe, I guess that this looks like success, but it doesn’t feel true, that’s the view from here…’; while ‘Good Afternoon’ is a 4 minute noncensical song where both Will and Ryan deliver this musical number with joy, gusto and passion, as the song itself is a history lesson, as we see that during the times of the 30s and 40s when the original A Christmas Carol was released, saying ‘Good Afternoon’ to someone meant something more sinister than what it means right now- ‘…’Good Afternoon’ is a great example where it all came from Sean Anders, our director, who was studying the classic version of ‘A Christmas Carol,” which I think was shot in the 1940s or ’30s. And he was remembering how everyone in that movie, when they said, ‘Good afternoon,’ it was, as if, it was like, ‘Ah, what did he just say to me? Oh my goodness!’ And it was the Dickensian version of ‘F you.’…’

Then you have the songs ‘Unredeemable’ and ‘Do A Little Good’, two songs that for me, stand out amongst all the rest, and two songs that have the most meaning out of all the musical numbers of the movie. Whilst the end song ‘Ripple’ is indeed a ‘cut song’- a song that interplay all of the songs sung previously in the movie, spliced together to form a new ‘song’, with all of its seamless musical transitions, the songs ‘Unredeemable’ and ‘Do A Little Good’ can both be easily enjoyed by people, even if they haven’t seen Spirited yet. ‘Unredeemable’ tackles this age-old question- am I unredeemable in the life that I’ve led, in the choices that I’ve made? Can I ever turn myself around and rid myself of the things that have happened to be me because of circumstance, or even rid the effects of my own actions on someone else? Can my own slate be washed clean of all my messiness? And the answer is…yes. Through Christ Jesus, this is the very message of Christmas and Easter, and a song like ‘Unredeemable’ asks these soul-searching questions- ‘…spent every waking minute, taking all that I could take, never stopped to reckon with the ruin in my wake, with all the bridges that I burned, all the wounds I didn’t mend, all the worth I thought I earned, it turned worthless in the end, what was it for? Is it possible I was meant for something more? Am I forever unredeemable? Can I be the man who breaks from a lifetime of mistakes? Can my worst be left behind? And do I deserve to find the kind of love that I could lean on every day? Or will I learn I have to stay unredeemable?…’ It’s a song that is not afraid to ask questions that don’t necessarily have a straight-forward answer…and maybe that’s ok. It’s ok to ask more questions, and if discussion comes out of ‘Unredeemable’ and Spirited in general, then this Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell comedy has done something right. ‘Do A Little Good’ is a last ‘major’ song on the soundtrack (apart from the ‘That Christmas Mornin’ Feeling (Curtain Call)’ and ‘Ripple’), and in and of itself, is a song about doing well in the little things, so that big change and outcomes happen. Doing a little good, and doing whatever we can, doesn’t have to be hard. We ought to just follow the promptings from the Lord as to how He wants us to interact with the people around us, who He wants us to encourage. Even the smallest gestures of kindness can often go a long way in the lives of others- we never really know the difference we can make in someone else’s life- so we treat each other with respect, dignity and kindness, acting faithfully in the littlelest of things, and allowing God to faithfully undertake the rest.

So, there you have it…the soundtrack to the movie Spirited. It’s an album that I’ve listened to a few times, each song impactful and heartfelt, just as whence I heard the songs the time before. The movie itself has tremendous replay value, and maybe in years time, will become a classic like The Santa Clause or Elf…we never know. Till then, Ryan and Will have created a movie (and corresponding album) that is just as fun as it is compelling and heartfelt. It’s as ‘mainstream’ as you’re gonna get, and maybe, just maybe, God can use a movie like Spirited to bring us closer to each other and to Himself, not only during this holiday Christmas season, but also during other moments of the year as well. Well done to Spirited for this impactful movie which stands tall amongst all movies last year. And well done to Benji and Justin (the incredible minds behind the songs of The Greatest Showman and Dear Evan Hansen), for songs that I’m sure the Lord will use in the months and years ahead.

4 songs to listen to: That Christmas Mornin’ Feelin’, Unredeemable, Do A Little Good, Ripple

Score: 5/5

RIYL: The Greatest Showman Soundtrack, Dear Evan Hansen Soundtrack, Anything Disney

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