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South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Co-Composed, Co-Produced, and Lyrics Co-Written by:
Trey Parker

Co-Composed, Arranged, Co-Produced, and Lyrics Co-Written by:
Marc Shaiman

Conducted by:
Pete Anthony

Female Voices Performed by:
Mary Kay Bergman

Atlantic Records

Release Date:
June 29th, 1999

Also See:
The Little Mermaid
Beauty and the Beast

Audio Clips:
1. Mountain Town (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (243K)
Real Audio (151K)

4. Blame Canada (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (251K)
Real Audio (156K)

6. What Would Brian Boitano Do? (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

10. I Can Change (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

Regular U.S. release.

  The song "Blame Canada" was nominated for an Academy Award.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

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Buy it... if you like your musicals served up with lyrics that typically make the bodies of good, church-going folk seize up.

Avoid it... if you have no tolerance for the childish and offensive television show, because the feature film's musical numbers, while impressive in their orchestral and vocal mix, are the ultimate in similarly obnoxious parody.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: (Trey Parker/Marc Shaiman) If you're offended by such words as shit, bitch, fuck, anti-Christ, etc, then both the following review and the music it discusses won't be your cup of tea. Cease reading here. Otherwise, take what you read with a grain of salt, because your opinion of the music for South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is so directly correlated to your tolerance for the show that nearly all the parties interested in this album will be those who support its 10+ year run on the Comedy Central cable station. The longevity of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "South Park" concept is somewhat amazing given the tendency of some fans to "grow out of it." The phenomenon was intriguing in its plainly offensive nature when it started, introducing people to the pleasures of alien anal probes and a talking piece of fecal matter. Somewhere along the way, however, the show lost its unique appeal. Fortunately, the feature film adaptation of the show, even far wilder and more disgusting than the television version, opened in 1999 when "South Park" was still making waves. The premise is basically the same: four animated grade-school boys living in the redneck town of South Park, Colorado, use running gags and, in this case, a war against Canada to stir up controversy. It's parody at its most juvenile, which makes it an odd combination of extreme smarts and tiresome immaturity. The film's musical format allowed Parker to really flourish in his sense of humor, using the formula of a 1990's Walt Disney blockbuster to guide its structure. It was a surprising success at the time, too, winning Chicago and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards for "Best Music" and nominated for an Oscar for one of the less verbally offensive songs. Its performance at the ceremony was something to behold. To flesh out the songs with an orchestral accompaniment suitable for any Broadway production, Parker brought veteran composer and songwriter Marc Shaiman onto the crew. That choice is among the most admirable of South Park, because the composer's personal sense of humor and great knowledge of musicals paid off.

The production numbers for South Park are so brilliantly obnoxious that this is one of the very few albums that you simply can't write about while listening to it. In a technical sense, Shaiman and Parker (who collaborated on most of the songs; Parker handles the non-orchestral numbers himself) offer songs that so perfectly emulate the sound of Alan Menken and a host of Broadway staples that you can't help but be fascinated by them. Shaiman uses some of the best orchestrating talents in the industry (Jeff Atmajian, Pete Anthony, Frank Bennett, and Patrick Russ, among others) to provide a rich and pleasant symphonic backing for many of the major songs, which is just what they need to create the necessary parody environment. After all, you can't tweak Menken fans with subversive lyrics and wacky voices unless you have that full ensemble playing at its most wholesome. In terms of melody, Shaiman and Parker break no new ground in South Park, relying so heavily on stereotypical musical song structures that there's frightfully nothing original about it outside of its magnificent compilation of arrangements. The recording of the orchestra is crystal clear and could be, given a different mix, an addendum to any number of Menken works. In striking contrast, the voices and lyrics in all of the songs are, obviously, ridiculous and offensive. The voices come with the territory; a few accents here and there are tonally enjoyable, including Satan's contribution, but the characters of Stan Marsh and Eric Cartman are simply not meant to be heard singing. Period. That's why they're funny, though, and the layers upon layers of vocal performances (necessary considering that just a couple of people actually performed all of them) are extremely well balanced. By the time you hear "La Resistance," with many of the character voices forming a truly full cast performance, the recording is extremely impressive. It's a shame that the orchestral recordings, along with any of Shaiman's actual underscore, can't be heard alone on album.

For those who aren't fans of the show, the South Park is difficult to recommend. From the standpoint of a veteran collector of musicals, though, the recording could remain a fascination. Like any musical, this one has its highlights. The first eleven songs are original pieces that advance the story of the film, with a standard reprise of the opening song at the end to appropriately close out the happy ending with a crescendo of voices, bold brass, and banging chimes. That opening song is "Mountain Town," a delightful introductory piece that is, for all intents and purposes, a parody of "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast. Among the more popular numbers because of its profanity is "Uncle Fucka," and its reach to the Golden Age of Broadway hoedown style is unmistakably mismatched the the flurries of "fucks" in the song. The Oscar-nominated "Blame Canada" is an outrageous mutilation of the Canadian national anthem and takes every opportunity to roast everything that comes from what they refer to as "not even a real country anyway." The 70's pop style of "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" is inspired from the upbeat half of Evita. The longing "Up There" takes the lyrics of "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid and applies them to Satan and a pseudo-gospel tone. The medley of "La Resistance" balances "God Help the Outcasts" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame with the Broadway production of Les Misérables before launching into overlapping fragments of "Blame Canada," "Uncle Fucka," and "Up There" (and some counterpoint from Satan mirroring the climax of The Phantom of the Opera). The Saddam Hussein song "I Can Change" is modeled after "Arabian Nights" from Aladdin, and advances the homosexual innuendo of the scene. The remainder of the songs isn't as strong, but none is completely off course with the overall program. Like the show itself, the album can be funny while listening to it (and it's certainly engaging... nobody can argue with that), but it could leave a bitter aftertaste. Countering the positive influence of Shaiman's musical talent are a number of detriments working against this album. First among these are the eight "interpretational songs" at the end of the album, of which only one appears over the end credits of the film.

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The more problematic aspect of South Park is the fact that the trashy humor of the lyrics is so excessively juvenile that the overall product eventually gets tiring. Part of this exhaustion of patience also comes from the fact that Parker and Shaiman never let up with the explosive pacing of their music. But, in the end, the sharp edge of the lyrics can only sustain themselves for a short while and, as expected, the voices are fucking irritating! It's one thing to hear Stan and Cartman's high pitched tones during the show, but nobody should be submitted to the torture of hearing them attempt to sing for as long as this. Protests against South Park and its music were generally more concentrated on the blasphemous, racist, sexist, and bigoted aspects of the lyrics. They target just about everybody, and it's by no coincidence that this album vilifies certain racial groups. Satan, with his gospel ensemble, is clearly black. Arabs are stereotyped as a bunch of brutes. Canadian listeners will hear their anthem crucified. Religious advocates will hear Jesus at the butt end of every other joke (literally). And that doesn't even address what Anne Murray, Brian Boitano, and Celine Dion think of it. While valid to a point, though, these arguments do miss the purpose of the production. Overall, the South Park musical numbers definitely earned Shaiman some respect. While many listeners will only be familiar with his fluffy, sappy music for the likes of Patch Adams and The American President, those who had the privilege to hear his improvised on-stage song performance about the state of film scoring in 2008 at an ASCAP event (before melodramatically collapsing to the floor) will know better. If only some of his score had been placed on this album instead of the wretched and inexcusable cover versions of the songs at the end, it would have been a product that could be recommended to people who can't tolerate the show. Still, although the film has just too much trashy music for some to enjoy, it's a splendid culmination of efforts from the South Park team. If only they could have worked in the lyrics: "Oh my God! They killed that Disney song! Those bastards!" Price Hunt: CD or Download

    Music as Written for Film: ****
    Music as Heard on Album: **
    Overall: ***

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.82 Stars
Smart Average: 2.71 Stars*
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   Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review
  Todd China -- 5/3/09 (8:36 a.m.)
   "For Non-South Park Fans: FRISBEE"...
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   Re: South Park movie & music made the child...
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 50:34

Songs from the Film:

• 1. Mountain Town* (4:27)
• 2. Uncle Fucka** (1:06)
• 3. It's Easy, Mmmkay* (1:54)
• 4. Blame Canada* (1:35)
• 5. Kyle's Mom's a Bitch* (1:15)
• 6. What Would Brian Boitano Do?* (1:34)
• 7. Up There** (2:23)
• 8. La Resistance (Medley)* (1:52)
• 9. Eyes of a Child** (3:39)
• 10. I Can Change** (2:05)
• 11. I'm Super* (1:26)
• 12. Mountain Town (Reprise)* (1:02)

Interpretations: (recordings not contained in the film)

• 13. Good Love (3:31)
       Written and performed by Isaac Hayes
• 14. Shut Yo Face (Uncle Fucka) (3:59)
       Written by Trey Parker, Trick Daddy, Trina, Money Mark, and Corey - performed by Trick Daddy, feat, Trina & Tre, + 6
• 15. Riches To Rags (Mmmkay) (4:31)
       Written by Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman, and others - performed by Nappy Roots
• 16. Kyle's Mom's A Big Fat Bitch (3:54)
       Written by Trey Parker, R.J. Ritchie, Joseph Calleja, and M Shafer - performed by Joe C. and Kid Rock
• 17. What Would Brian Boitano Do? Pt. II (2:14)
       Written by Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman - performed by DVDA
• 18. I Swear It (I Can Change) (2:44)
       Written by Trey Parker and Gordon Gano - performed by Violent Femmes
• 19. Super (4:04)
       Written by Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman, RuPaul Charles, Bobby Gay and Ernie Lake - performed by RuPaul
• 20. O Canada (1:10)
       Written by C. La Vallee/R.S. Weir - performed by Geddy Lee/Alex Lifeson of Rush

* written by Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman
** written by Trey Parker

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert contains extensive credits for each track as well as an excess of pictures from the film.

  All artwork and sound clips from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut are Copyright © 1999, Atlantic Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/9/99 and last updated 6/12/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1999-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.