Film Music Review
The Sammy awards






CARS (2006)

20 tracks (Total Playing Time = 52:29)/ 1 Data Track

Original score composed and conducted by Randy Newman


Nine songs by various artists.


1. "Real Gone" (Sheryl Crow-John Shanks) -- performed by Sheryl Crow
2. "Route 66" (Bobby Troup) -- performed by Chuck Berry
3. "Life is a Highway" (Thomas Cochrane) -- performed by Rascal Flatts
4. "Behind the Clouds" (Brad Paisley-Frank Rogers) -- performed by Brad Paisley
5. "Our Town" (Randy Newman) -- performed by James Taylor
6. "Sh-Boom" (W. Edwards-C. Feaster-J. Keyes-F. McRae) --
performed by The Chors
7. "Route 66" -- performed by John Mayer
8. "Find Yourself" (Brad Painsley) -- performed by Brad Paisley
11."My Heart Would Know" (Hank Williams) -- performed by Hank Williams

Produced by John Shanks, Dann Huff, Rascal Flatts, Frank Rogers, Steve Jordan, John Mayer, and Randy Newman. Music surpervisor: Tom MacDougall. Orchestrations by Jonathan Sacks. Music Editor: Bruno Coon. Score recorded and mixed by Frank Wolf. Album design by Tim Hankins.

Disney PIXAR 61349-7

Rating: ***1/2


The PIXAR animation team has another winner here with a film full of wit and energy. So far they have an unbroken string of successes, especially TOY STORY and TOY STORY 2. And they wisely have chosen Randy Newman again, this time to compose the score for CARS, although his score doesn't reach the heights of the previous PIXAR hits.

The songs are mostly just filler. The exception is Randy Newman's very good nostalgic song,"Our Town" (4:07) sung with nice easygoing style by James Taylor. It's far and away the best song on the soundtrack. "Route 66" is an old song written by Bobby Troup. There was a memorable recording of this song made back by the Nat King Cole Trio. Why not use that recording? I guess it's "baby boomers" (or others with the same mindset) who rule in Hollywood these days because both versions on the soundtrack are rock versions, and neither of them are that good. The only other songs worth anything are also old ones: "Sh-Boom" (2:25) -- the original recording by the R&B/Doo Wop group, The Chords. And the other one is by the great country singer, Hank Williams, singing his own song: "My Heart Would Know" (2:26). It's not one of his best known songs but it has far more emotion than all of the newer songs, except "Our Town."

Newman's score takes up the last nine tracks of the CD and are all realtively short. The first one is "Bessie" (track 12, (0:58), is a blusey cue that unfortunately is too short. The longer cues -- most only about 2 minutes or less -- are of the most interest. For example, "New Road" (track 14, 1:27) has a nice feel of Americana with the use of banjo and strings. Another good cue is "McQueen & Sally" (track 16, 2:00), with solo guitar providing a nice opening before the orchestra takes over and the theme is expanded further.

Probably the best cue is the lovely "Goodbye" (track 17, 2:42), with the solo guitar again taking a prominent role in this slow and sensitive cue.

The final three cues ("Pre-Race Pageantry"/ "The Piston Cup"/ "The Big Race") deal with the final scenes in the film and are mostly rapid paced orchestral showpieces. They're effectively handled by Newman but overall they all sound formulaic, like most action films for the past few decades. "Pre-Race Pageatry" even opens with a motive very similar to the famous theme from THE EMPIRE STRIKES STRIKES BACK by Williams. Of the three tracks, the last one (track 20, 3:09) is the most impressive and satisfying, a combination of old and new Hollywood film music styles.

The booklet design is very colorful but with far too many ads. As usual with these soundtracks, no comments are given about the score, only the long list of credits and a silly poster inside the foldout.

When you first put in this CD in a computer drive, an icon pops up to go to the Disney web site. Don't they make enough money already selling all those movie tickets, merchandise and incentives to book Orlando, Tampa amd Miami vacation packages to get people into the parks? This is another case where the CD becomes another cash cow for Disney. The appeal and mass popularity of the Disney brand coupled with money making techniques such as this is the reason that the majority of the hotels Orlando, Florida has to offer are either Disney World or owned by Disney.

You should enjoy your ride with CARS, at least the very appealing Randy Newman score and song.

But be aware of those commercial speed-bumps!


--Roger L. Hall

Comments regarding this review can be sent to: FMR


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