hink of those songs you sing at the top of your voice when you’re in the safety of your own shower. You belt it out with the pure, liberating sense of freedom that can only come when nobody else is in the house and you’re sure the neighbors are at work and have no chance of hearing you. In that brief moment there are no inhibitions, no critics, no fears. You may not get the lyrics right. You may be so off key the tomcat down the block starts howling. But it doesn’t matter. You just let it all hang out there, no holds barred. That’s the zeitgeist that The Muppets have been tapping into for the better part of four decades now, and they did it again with their latest movie (and soundtrack).
Ladies and gentlemen, anyone who spent any time growing up in the 80’s can’t escape the imprint left on the DNA of their youth by the classic cornball 80’s power ballad, “We Built This City On Rock And Roll” by Starship (formerly “Jefferson Starship”, formerly “Jefferson Airplane”).
That song/group has a special footnote in the history of our family. It was the very first album I ever had (yes… “album”, as in vinyl. Won it from a radio station), and Jefferson Airplane played at my parents’ prom way back when they were in high school. Although my good friend Theo would make a very articulate, well-conceived argument as to whether or not you actually NEED to pass on this particular bit of pop-culture (and indeed, he may be right), how then do you bring this storied piece of family lore into the lives of the newest generation?
Simple. Put it in a Muppet movie.
Now the soundtrack is in perpetual rotation in our minivan CD changer. If you happen to pull up next to a Toyota minivan at a stoplight and you notice a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old in the back seat rockin’ out and screaming with all their might “WE BUILT THIS CITY ON MERMAID GOLD!!!” along with their 38-year-old father in the front seat singing slightly more accurate lyrics with just as much enthusiasm and every bit as much disregard for what other people outside the car may be thinking, along with their ??-year-old UnDorkMommy slouching down in the passenger seat, a sad, slow shake of her head, covering her eyes with her hand and praying none of her mom’s-group friends see her…
…it may just be us. Feel free to crank up your CD player and join us.