"Everything's got em', everything needs one..." Thus begins Harry Nilsson
's musical fable of existence, of finding one's point in life. The Point!
began as an endearing and much beloved animated television
special, and the accompanying soundtrack became another project in Nilsson's unique recording catalogue. From afar, The Point! Soundtrack
seems like a cute distraction for young music fans, but upon deeper listening, there's a lot more going on here, enough to entertain the entire family.
Harry Nilsson led an interesting musical career, from struggling songwriter championed by The Beatles, to up and coming composer of unique pop tunes, to down and out caricature of a burned out musician. Nilsson began his career as such, Nilsson, the singular name that graced almost every one of his albums. Nilsson was that rare creature in the music biz, possessing both a remarkable singing voice and the ability to write magnificent melodies and one of a kind lyrics.
Harry Nilsson also had a weirdly ironic chart career in that, although he was critically known for his songwriting, he had much more commercial success interpreting other writers' songs. In 1969 Nilsson hit number 6 on the Billboard Top 40 Charts with Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'" a performance for which he won a Grammy Award. In 1972, Nilsson hit the top of the Billboard Charts with his cover of Badfinger's "Without You," winning a second Grammy Award. His own songs were most famously covered by Three Dog Night ("One") and The Monkees ("Cuddly Toy" and "Daddy's Song"). Nilsson himself hit the Billboard Top 40 with his tunes "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City," "Waiting," "Me and My Arrow," "Jump Into the Fire," "Coconut," "Spaceman," "Remember (Christmas)," and "Daybreak."
The Music and Narration of 'The Point!'
The Point! Soundtrack
cheerfully begins with the circular "Everything's Got 'Em" (a point, that is), followed by Harry Nilsson's narrative
"The Town," which sets up the storyline of The Point!
which follows a boy named Oblio, the only round-headed person in The Pointed Village. Next comes the brilliant pop of "Me and My Arrow," the one hit song from The Point!
, reaching number 34 on the Billboard Top 40 Charts
in 1971, a year before his smash hit "Without You" reached the top of the charts, a song Pete Ham and Tom Evans originally wrote for their band Badfinger. Nilsson returns to describe "The Game," a match of Triangle Toss between Oblio and the evil Count's son, while "Poli High" is a lyrically super fun musical description of a football
game between Politech High and Valley Low. Nilsson narrates "The Trial and Banishment" of Oblio and his dog Arrow from The Land of Point to The Pointless Forest, then the swaying "Think About Your Troubles" gets really metaphysical
, as the circle of existence rolls around from the bubbles in a tea cup to the decomposing body of a whale and back to said tea cup. Far out!
More Music and Narration from 'The Point!'
The last three musical numbers could comfortably find a place on an album for grownups, as those tunes deal with loneliness, bittersweet memories, and relationships, themes which easily fit into the overall feel and specific storyline of The Point!. First, Nilsson tells us how "The Pointed Man" gives Oblio advice about life and perceptions of it, followed by "Life Line," easily the dreamiest, most melancholy tune on The Point!, in which a lonely voice pleads for salvation and companionship. During "The Birds," Oglio and Arrow meet a fantastical cast of characters who offer tidbits of wisdom, while "P.O.V. Waltz" sounds like leaves falling from the highest branches of a very tall tree. Oblio and Arrow then come to "The Clearing in the Woods" where they witness the hatching of a pterodactyl egg and fall asleep on a huge boulder. "Are You Sleeping?" jauntily describes an undying love and friendship, while "Oblio's Return" concludes the album with Oblio's discovery that everything has a point, including himself.
For lovers of pure pop, for aficionados of imaginative narratives, and for those who admire timeless art, Harry Nilsson's The Point! is a must listen. Of all the kids' music albums created by Top 40 musicians, The Point! Soundtrack is certainly one of the best you'll ever hear.
Released 1971; RCA Victor
- "Everything's Got 'Em"
- "The Town" (Narration)
- "Me and My Arrow"
- "The Game" (Narration)
- "Poli High"
- "The Trial and Banishment" (Narration)
- "Think About Your Troubles"
- "The Pointed Man" (Narration)
- "Life Line"
- "The Birds" (Narration)
- "P.O.V. Waltz"
- "The Clearing in the Woods" (Narration)
- "Are You Sleeping?"
- "Oblio's Return" (Narration)