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Karen O and The Kids - Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack

Sendak's Classic Gets First Rate Silver Screen Soundtrack

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Kids Music
Courtesy Interscope Records
The album opens with a child’s whispered “Hi,” followed by the mom’s reply, “I could use a story.” And so begins the magical musical accompaniment of a wonderful, classic tale.

Karen O Anchors the Soundtrack

Given author/illustrator Maurice Sendak’s independent spirit, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than maverick Spike Jonze directing the film of or The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O creating the music for Where the Wild Things Are. To help make her aural vision of the film, Karen O enlisted the talents of a veritable who's-who of current indie rockers: Tristan Bechet (Services), Tom Biller (co-producer with Karen O and member of Afternoons), Bradford Cox (Deerhunter), Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age, The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs), Aaron Hemphill (Liars), Greg Kurstin (The Bird and the Bee), Jack Lawrence (The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs, The Greenhornes), Oscar Michel (Gris Gris), Imaad Wasif (New Folk Implosion, Alaska), Nick Zinner, (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and "an untrained children’s choir."

If you need a stylistic hat to put on the whole affair, the acoustic/electric tunes on the Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack are a mix between the low-fi jangle of Kimya Dawson and the celebratory joy of The Flaming Lips.

The Music of the Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack

Half of the tunes on the Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack are instrumental pieces, such as “Igloo” “Rumpus Reprise” “Cliffs”, “Lost Fur” “Food is Still Hot” “Sailing Home” and “Animal,” complete with its song-ending bevy of howls. Yet, those tunes embody the spirit and vibe of the storyline so well that the soundtrack wouldn’t feel complete without them.

Highlights include the leadoff single “All Is Love,” an absolutely joyful song that’s so good it gets a reprise later in the soundtrack. The sing-along chorus and whistling bridge of “All Is Love,” along with lines like “L-O-V-E, it’s a mystery, where you’ll find me, where you’ll find all is love,” make the song a magical anthem.

The defiant “Capsize” describes Max’s angry exit from his home, while the song “Hideaway” is a little reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix’s “One Rainy Wish” from his album Axis: Bold as Love. “Worried Shoes” is an atmospheric, Neil Young-like tune, complete with vibes and jangly upright piano, which contains melancholy lines like “My shoes took me down a crooked path, away from all welcome mats.” And the song “Heads Up” transforms from a hand-clapping shuffle to a chugging rocker.

The Verdict

The Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack is a beautiful bridge between current indie rock sounds and classic children's literature that kids and their grownups will both enjoy. The only drawback of the album is that it doesn't include Arcade Fire's "Wake Up," a song the band re-recorded for the movie trailer. By many accounts, that tune is what drew in and captured scores of potential viewers. Otherwise, a great soundtrack for a great movie.

Released September 29, 2009; Interscope Records

Track Listing

  1. "Igloo"
  2. "All Is Love"
  3. "Capsize"
  4. "Worried Shoes"
  5. "Rumpus"
  6. "Rumpus Reprise"
  7. "Hideaway"
  8. "Cliffs"
  9. "Animal"
  10. "Lost Fur"
  11. "Heads Up"
  12. "Building All Is Love"
  13. "Food Is Still Hot"
  14. "Sailing Home"
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