In 2008 some bright spark thought it would be a great idea to re-record and release an ‘all-star’ version of The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack. You know, a soundtrack that is beloved by many across a range of ages. I pity the child who watched the movie, jumped online to listen to the soundtrack and got this version instead.
I can literally picture the poor kids face as Marilyn Manson’s version of This is Halloween rings out. Ok, it’s not that bad but it’s not far off it. The thing is Manson covering this particular track makes sense, the issue is simply that it’s absolutely rubbish. The attempts to ‘weird it up’ come across forced and make it sound poorly recorded thanks to irrelevant fuzz on the vocals.
It’s not the worst cover though. The All-American Rejects absolutely murder Jack’s Lament, the vocals dour as hell and lacking impact. Flyleaf’s version of the super upbeat and energetic What’s This? is turned into a track most will be desperate to end. The sour approach to the melody, the decision to turn the tempo down, the overly dramatic vocals which don’t convey any wonder…it’s a shocker. Then we have Sparklehorse’s Jack’s Obsession, a track that is rage inducing for how subtle and coy it tries to be.
There are some highlights though. The Polyphonic Spree’s version of the Town Meeting Song is suitably huge sounding. Although it deviates so far from the original isn’t virtually unrecognisable at times. Korn’s Kidnap the Sandy Claws is darkly gothic fun and Jonathan Davis certainly sounds like he’s having a blast! The same goes for Rise Against’s Making Christmas who really rock it up and certainly sound like they’re trying.
Also Amy Lee of Evanescence deserves a mention as her voice fits Sally’s Song perfectly and she nails the emotion and honest outlook of the character perfectly.
You really can tell where the effort was made, whereas others seem like they were just picking up an easy pay check. Of the 20 tracks though it really only has a handful that are worth checking out and absolutely none that better the movie’s versions.
This Christmas just stick the film on if you want to hear great versions of these songs.
Various Artists – Nightmare Revisited Full Track Listing:
1. Overture (DeVotchKa)
2. Opening (Danny Elfman)
3. This is Halloween (Marilyn Manson)
4. Jack’s Lament (The All-American Rejects)
5. Doctor Finkelstein/In the Forest (Amiina)
6. What’s This? (Flyleaf)
7. Town Meeting Song (The Polyphonic Spree)
8. Jack and Sally Montage (Vitamin String Quartet)
9. Jack’s Obsession (Sparklehorse)
10. Kidnap the Sandy Claws (Korn)
11. Making Christmas (Rise Against)
12. Nabbed (Yoshida Brothers)
13. Oogie Boogie’s Song (Rodrigo y Gabriela)
14. Sally’s Song (Amy Lee)
15. Christmas Eve Montage (RJD2)
16. Poor Jack (Plain White T’s)
17. To the Rescue (Datarock)
18. Finale/Reprise (Shiny Toy Guns)
19. Closing (Danny Elfman)
20. End Title (The Album Leaf)
Various Artists - Nightmare Revisited
The Final Score - 4/10