Coco and other soundtracks
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - January 1, 2018 - 12:00am

Given the quality of the animation, the voice performances, the score, the story, I say everything about Coco is just excellent. It probably took the Pixar people several years to put the picture together. But how nice that it came out only this year. I say this because no matter how great the film turned out to be, the very Mexican soundtrack would have been lost on audiences in non-Spanish speaking countries. But after the phenomenal Despacito, kids, the main audience of Coco, are now aware of places where Spanish, like what they heard Justin Bieber sing, is spoken.

The music plays a most important role in telling the story of a boy, Miguel voiced by Anthony Gonzales, who is accidentally taken to the Land of the Dead and Michael Giacchino came up with a score that meets every demand.  Then New York-bred Academy Award winners Robert Lopez and his wife Kristen were asked to write the theme song. The result is Remember Me or Recuerdame in Spanish. 

Remember Me initially seemed just a simple tune performed by Law and Order star Benjamin Bratt who plays Ernesto de la Cruz. But as the picture played out and we got to hear the song in various styles and situations, it just became more moving and utterly enchanting. Looks like the Lopezes have come up with another winner. Will Remember Me be as big as their Let It Go from four years ago? Maybe.  Anyway, I already love the Spanish version by pop idol Carlos Rivera. I am sure you will too.

I believe that Disney envisioned Coco as a rah-rah project for Mexican culture, but this did not limit the film in any way. Its theme of young dreams and love for family is so universal that anybody can relate to the story. As for Coco and the Land of the Dead, the kids I know, who watched found Miguel’s adventure exciting and loads of fun.  Besides, we do have our own Moomoo, so there is no way Pinoy kids would be scared of Coco.





On the other hand though, Remember Me is up against formidable rivals in the theme song awards race of the year. Home from Ferdinand composed by Nick Jonas and Justin Tranter, performed by Nick Jonas is one. Yes, Nick has invaded films. He is one of the guys behind the theme for this picture about a bull who was bred for the corrida, but who would much rather smell the flowers and make friends. Come to think of it, because Ferdinand is set in Spain, Home shows a lot of the Latin influence which is really quite trendy these days.

Mighty River from Mudbound, composed by Raphael Saadiq and Mary J. Blige and performed by Mary J. Blige, whose singing is simply magnificent. She is also said to be one magnificent actress in the movie where she is one of the leads. The current buzz is that Blige should at least get a nomination or two for her performance. Then perhaps she can add a few more for her work as singer and songwriter of the theme song.

The Star from The Star composed by Mariah Carey and Marc Shaiman, performed by Mariah Carey. You all know what Mariah’s vocals can do to a song and she really gave The Star a beautiful rendition. This is the theme from the animated flick about a donkey’s part in The Nativity story.  The picture tanked but it has this killer song and a fantastic soundtrack album with Christmas sounds from Pentatonix, Fifth Harmony, A Great Big World, Zara Larrson, Kelsea Ballerini and other big name stars.

This Is Me from The Greatest Showman, composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and performed by Keala Settle.  Pasek and Paul are the guys behind the music of the Tony Award-winning musical Dear Evan Hunter. So it should follow that the music for the film must be superb. The song is a big, inspiring anthem that mirrors the big dreams of P.T. Barnum who is known as this great showman who provided audiences with the unique, memorable and most entertaining spectacles during his lifetime. Hugh Jackman plays the title role. He returns to singing after dying as Wolverine in Logan.

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