Right from the start, "The Simpsons" television series has had a strong reputation for its music. It has a wonderful theme by Danny Elfman which perfectly matches the show's introductory sequence, complete with fast cuts between all the main characters. Then Alf Clausen has brought us some first class music within the weekly show, with cunning pastiches from different film genres and many other styles of music including Gilbert and Sullivan! The show itself has featured cartoon versions of a number of celebrities from the world of music and spawned various albums of collected songs from the series. These songs can be clever or silly, and often both clever and silly at the same time, but always well-loved. With his soundtrack for The Simpsons Movie, Hans Zimmer has very much continued the show's tradition for the quality and entertainment value of its music.
The "Simpsons Theme" is the familiar television theme by Danny Elfman in a full orchestral arrangement with a few extra twists including an extended sax solo for Lisa. With "Trapped Like Carrots" Zimmer introduces the movie's main theme which is related to the series theme, and some other Elfmanesque gestures make us feel very much at home with the soundtrack. "Doomsday Is Family Time" continues this homely feeling, before "Release the Hounds" truly bounces from the speakers with its electric guitar theme over a bouncy, jazzy, rock 'n' roll beat and extended percussion interlude ending with another tiny reference to the theme. The next few tracks introduce a range of developmental material with religious choral elements and ever-present comedic undercurrents. "Why Does Everything I Whip Leave Me?" is based around an Aaron Copland-style hoedown, and "Bart's Doodle" is a nonsense song. The soundtrack develops in a number of satisfying ways with more pastiche and orchestral interplay, before returning to the earlier homely feel with "His Big Fat Butt Could Shield Us All". One of the main highlights of the soundtrack is the wonderful "Spider Pig" which is a largely unaccompanied song in the silly but clever tradition, and then "Recklessly Impulsive" is a techno track with the movie's main theme and full of "Doh!" samples.
The CD's sleeve notes by director Jim Brooks are well worth a read, describing how Hans Zimmer contributed to the story as well as the music. The soundtrack CD itself is available in two different packages. The standard package is available at these links: Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, while the "limited edition" package where the CD comes in a nice 3D doughnut (or "donut") can be found at these links: Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. Also look out for The Simpson's Movie Sheet Music which contains a number of tracks arranged for piano solo.
Among other interesting links, the official movie site has some interesting supplementary material about the making of the Soundtrack and allows you to play samples of all the tracks. The main movie site at www.simpsonsmovie.com is itself good entertainment value, and we also suggest checking out this online survey where you can win a Simpsons Doughnut Maker.