SpongeBob SquarePants OST – The Yellow Album – Review


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Album Title: The Yellow Album
Cartoon Title: SpongeBob SquarePants
Artist: Various
Catalog Number: 73974
Release Type: Compilation
Release Date: 2005
Purchase at: Amazon, Amazon MP3iTunes

Tracklist

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Track Title Artist Time
01. Spongebob Squarepants Theme SpongeBob SquarePants 0:46
02. Sweet Victory SpongeBob SquarePants 2:08
03. Ripped Pants SpongeBob SquarePants 1:18
04. Doing The Sponge SpongeBob SquarePants 1:33
05. He’s Flying SpongeBob SquarePants 1:35
06. Gary’s Song SpongeBob SquarePants 2:27
07. Sweater Song SpongeBob SquarePants 0:33
08. Hey All You People SpongeBob SquarePants 0:44
09. Bubble Beat Box SpongeBob SquarePants 1:04
10. Underwater Sun SpongeBob SquarePants 1:32
11. Bossy Boots Song SpongeBob SquarePants 1:32
12. When Worlds Collide SpongeBob SquarePants 1:17
13. Jelly Fish Jam SpongeBob SquarePants 1:44
14. Campfire Song Song SpongeBob SquarePants 0:58
15. Hey Mean Mr. Bossman SpongeBob SquarePants 0:42
16. Stadium Rave SpongeBob SquarePants 1:10
17. All You Need Is Friends SpongeBob SquarePants 0:52
18. Nick’s B. Danube SpongeBob SquarePants 0:36
19. That’s What Friends Do SpongeBob SquarePants 0:35
20. You’re Old SpongeBob SquarePants 2:22
21. Electric Zoo SpongeBob SquarePants 0:37
22. Jingle Bells SpongeBob SquarePants 2:56

Review: Throughout its 204-episode run, SpongeBob SquarePants has never been afraid to ask the hard-hitting questions. Just how is the Krusty Krab sidestepping OSHA regulations? Will Larry the Lobster ever overcome his crippling steroid addiction? When will Mr. Krabs reveal to Pearl that he’s not her real father? Will Sandy’s status as an illegal immigrant ever be addressed?

As much as the inquiries above betray the complex intricacies and multilayered machinations that comprise SpongeBob SquarePants’ substantive writing and directorial portion, the show has historically always been a creature of rather inconsistent technical merit. Its nearly 14-year (and counting) runtime has been a veritable roller coaster ride of bizarre variations in its audiovisual quality, usually for the worse. This unfortunate distinction inevitably extends to the soundtrack, and a particularly substandard batch of tunes seems to have made its way onto this album at hand, The Yellow Album.

Released in 2005, the album is an unsettling amalgam of outlandish, exaggerated, and at times grotesque eccentricities. It’s lost on me whether these queer aberrations are the distressing results of overwhelming technical incompetence or some kind of fetishistic self-indulgence on the part of the staff. Whatever the case, it nonetheless stands that this release has serious issues and is representative of the many production-related woes the long-running franchise has suffered through the years.

SpongeBob SquarePants Theme

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The disc opens with the familiar “SpongeBob SquarePants Theme.” They say familiarity breeds contempt, and SpongeBob’s notorious opening track is still the throbbing pustule of affliction it has been since 1999. The song attempts to be a swashbuckling pirate shanty, but Patrick Pinney’s vocal effort simply falls flat – his try at emulating a pirate’s gravelly timbre sounds more like he’s singing with half a mouthful of food. The children’s repetitive chanting of “SpongeBob SquarePants!” (lyrics are not this track’s strong suit) sound similarly phoned in, with some seriously dubious pitch accuracy, to boot. This mutation of “Blow the Man Down” rather wheezes softly against its legendary folk predecessor.

He’s Flying

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Similarly, few kind words can be said about Tom Kenny’s singing throughout the disc. “He’s Flying” endeavors to be a bubbly, energetic Broadway-styled piece, but fails on account of Kenny’s leading vocals. His shrill, overblown vocals amount to a crass caricature of what singing should sound like. The song’s sudden, exaggerated twists and turns do little to support Kenny’s tiresome performance and frankly magnify its imperfections.  The backgrounds employ the crudest of orchestrations, content to flavorlessly reiterate the melodies from the vocals.

Underwater Sun

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“Flavorless” is actually a good term for much of this disc, as the series’ music does little to establish its own identity, and this lack of individuality is at the root of the problem for the show’s tunes. The show contents itself in simply aping well-worn tropes of the music world, and the imitations are less than flattering. “Underwater Sun” embodies this well, as it undertakes a mimicry of what it believes a surf pop song might sound like, but ultimately coming off as being cheap and uninspired. The reverb guitar disinterestedly squawks out chords as the bass monotonously thumps its best impression of flatulence. There’s little interesting going on here.

Campfire Song Song

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It doesn’t get much better. Tom Kenny takes another shot at the microphone in “Campfire Song Song,” this time joined by Bill Fagerbakke (introduced as “Patrick”), and does little to change prior impressions. Kenny’s performance is simply annoying, though it pales in comparison to Fagerbakke’s effort. The song’s shtick is its sudden, drastic increase in tempo, but Fagerbakke just cannot keep up. If his increasing exasperation as he attempts to remain in sync with Kenny is painful to behold, his solo section is even more so. What’s most embarrassing, and likely the lowest point for the disc, is a vocal track that was entirely forgotten and unmixed into the final song. The result is the awkward call for a certain “Skwedwird” to have a turn at the melody, with absolute silence in response.

Reviewing this album is an exercise in repetition. Everything is either a halfhearted manipulation of something better or a half-baked bad idea, and the album suffers greatly for it. The inadequacy on display here is nigh-unforgivable, and the show as a whole is a lesser work to its credit. The meticulous writing and plotting of SpongeBob SquarePants was always praised for its sophistication and nuance, and it’s a disgrace that these other aspects of its production could never quite follow suit.

Rating: Awful

Aftershok

A huge jazz nerd and unabashed fan of alternative rock, I joined Anime Instrumentality in December 2010. I tend to get very passionate when it comes to music and try my best to understand how it works. An enormous fan of The Pillows, among my favorite anime composers include Ko Otani and Yoko Kanno. My tastes in anime vary wildly, but I try to be as thoughtful about my viewing as I am about my listening. I play the saxophone.

2 thoughts on “SpongeBob SquarePants OST – The Yellow Album – Review

  • April 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm
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    I’d imagine most of the people buying and listening to this soundtrack would actually do so for the nostalgia of childhood or something similar to that, not because of the music quality in it. I as a child, though, had a bit of a better experience with the music in Spongebob, because I’m not from America, and everything that came here was dubbed. As a result, for example, the Spongebob Theme, and other tracks sound much better with Serbian vocals.

    Oh, and I like what you… did there, with the header :)

    Reply
  • April 18, 2013 at 8:53 pm
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    Hehe, an interesting review. But yes, SpongeBob SquarePants is certainly not a masterpiece on this regard. Much of the “technical incompetence” seems to be done purposely (for a humorous effect), and I will have to say that it’s given me a fair share of laughs over the years. Unlike other elements of the story, the soundtrack knows nothing subtlety, and to a certain degree I do think it meshed well from that direction.

    Reply

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