James Horner's score from An American Tail was at times light hearted, at other times dark and haunting, and at still other times, heart-wrenching. I firmly believe that James Horner's score is what gives this movie it's full emotional impact. Without the background music guiding the plot, it would be missing something. We as an audience would not know just how to feel during the storm sequence, Tony and Bridget meeting, the great fire nor the tragic Orphan Alley scene, arguably the most tragic scene in the film. I reccommend this soundtrack to anyone, you might be suprised it was written for a children's movie.
And further more, the lyrical songs are all memorable and fun with this film, unlike many animated features which throw in a song just because they think there should be one there. All the real voice actors perform the songs on the soundtrack, they sound just as they did in the film. The film's most memorable and award-winning song, 'Somewhere out There', is presented here in two versions, the one from the movie performed by Phillip Glasser and Amy Green, and then Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram's rendition from the ending credits.
Songs with lyrics:
James Horner's score here is much more light hearted than the first movie, though it still contains some recycled melodies from the first movie, intertwined with classic western riffs. It captures the mood of the movie well.
The songs are presented here sung by the original voice actors, and uninterrupted by background activity you hear in the movie (for example, you do not hear Fievel's struggle with Chula in the background of "The Girl You Left Behind"). Like with "Somewhere Out There" on the first soundtrack, the song "Dreams to Dream" is presented with two renditions, one sung by Cathy Cavadini, Tanya's voice actress, and another performed by Linda Ronstadt. It is perhaps the strongest track on the album, though many will prefer one version over the other.
Songs with lyrics:
To my knowledge no official soundtracks were ever released for these movies, but they did have some impressive tracks all on their own. Much of the background orchestration came straight from the first An American Tail movie, but occasionally they would have instrumental versions of an original lyrical song from the movie. The original tracks were as follows:
The Treasure of Manhattan Island
The Mystery of the Night Monster
The musical sequence for "Anywhere in Your Dreams" off of the DVD can be viewed here:
The track listing is as follows:
1. Diddy Duddy Dum Dum (Fievel’s Little Song) - Phillip Glasser
2. I Hate Cats! - Donny Gerrard
3. Fievel’s Point Of View - Phillip Glasser
4. The Fiddler’s Dance - Vikki Watson
5. Mouses Even Cry - Phillip Glasser
6. If Cheese Grew On Trees - Donny Gerrard
7. Poor Fievel - Vikki Watson
8. Somewhere Out There - Phillip Glasser
9. Little Bit Of Reggae, A - Donny Gerrard
10. Dreams To Dream - Vikki Watson
11. Anything Can Happen In America - Donny Gerrard
12. Fievel & Me - Donny Gerrard/Phillip Glasser
13. Fievel, That’s Me - Donny Gerrard/Phillip Glasser
This is perhaps the most interesting and obscure of the albums released. It includes songs never heard in any of the movies. I happened to come across the album in it's entirety shortly after learning of its existance. Phillip Glasser is the only real voice actor from the movies on it, and suprisingly he has a really wonderful singing voice. They should have had Fievel sing more in the actual movies. Vikki Watson portrays Tanya here, and while she doesn't sound much like Tanya at all, she still sings well, and I enjoyed her songs and her rendition of "Dreams to Dream". Donny Gerrard sounds enough like Papa, but his attempt at Tiger falls short somewhat. The only songs I personally dislike and consider weak are the ones Donny Gerrard performs alone in. One of the best songs on it is Phillip Glasser's rendition of "Somewhere Out There", which combines the music of Linda Ronstadt's version with Fievel's singing voice. The only thing that would make it more perfect would be if Cathy Cavadini sang Tanya's part, but sadly she's not on this CD, so Fievel/Phillip Glasser goes solo.
An Extensive Review:
Since so few people have heard this album, here's a breakdown and my own personal opinions of each song. Keep in mind they are just my opinions.
Diddy Duddy Dum Dum (Fievel’s Little Song)
It’s a nice warm spirited beginning to the album, if the whole "diddy diddy dum dum" chorus isn’t too much of a turn-off for you, its a cute and enjoyable song. Phillip Glasser really has a wonderful voice, being the only authentic voice actor from the movies featured on this album. Although you never hear Fievel’s "funny accent" as he says in the lyrics in the movies, I’m pretty sure it would have made him even cuter. Russia isn’t a bit west of Prussia either. Fievel fails geography forever.
I Hate Cats!
This one is sung by Papa Mousekewitz, the first of his songs. He's no Nehemiah Persoff though, Papa's real voice actor. But before you cat lovers out there get down on him for hating cats and singing a song about it, remember that his parents were killed by cats, so he does have reason. It’s not the worst on the album...unless you really like cats.
Fievel’s Point Of View
This song is beautiful, it just might be the best song sung by Fievel on the entire album, in close contention with "Somewhere Out There". It’s in the same vain as the song "Never say never", only it’s far more detailed. It’s even got an electric guitar. It just goes to show Fievel’s a little mouse with big dreams, and he’s not about to let anything make him give up on them.
The Fiddler’s Dance
This is a fun song, and the debut of "Tanya" in the album. She’s a good singer, but she doesn’t quite sound like Tanya...maybe how Tanya would sound as an adult, plus a slight accent. If you like fiddling this song has plenty of it in the backround. It’s a song that will probably stay in your brain for a while after you hear it.
Mouses Even Cry
This song is sung by Fievel once again. It’s very cute as well as a bit sad. The climax of the song ("It’s real hard stayin’ alive in a mouse’s world") was the most powerful part to me. The main message in the song is that mice have feelings too. Just try setting a mousetrap after listening to this song.
If Cheese Grew On Trees
It’s another Papa Mousekewitz song. This song is just wierd. Personally I’d stay away from cheese that grew on a tree, it would get all moldy and have bugs all over it. The world would also be a much smellier place too, I’d hate to walk by a limburger tree. But here it is, cheese-lovers rejoice.
I really like this song. If it were in a movie they could have had it during the Orphan Alley scene in the first movie, or any of the scenes where Fievel is just wandering through the city.The singer is Tanya once again. Still doesn’t sound like her but the singer has a nice voice regardless. This is one of the best on the album in my opinion. And the orchestration at around the 2:38 mark is really a nice touch, I’m suprised to find something like that on a soundtrack that wasn’t even made for a movie. But this album is full of suprises anyway. In all, I recommend this one.
Somewhere Out There
Yes, it’s the most famous song associated with An American Tail. But this time, it’s new and improved. It’s musicly identical to Linda Ronstadt’s version, but only instead of her and that other guy, they have Fievel singing. It comes complete with guitar solo as well. Needless to say this is a highly recommended track.
A Little Bit of Reggae
Yeeeeaahhh....this song is just way too many levels of wierd. Papa singing reggae...no. Just no
Dreams To Dream
It’s the second most famous American Tail song, this time sung by Tanya’s voice actress on this album. It’s a really terrific adaptation, I can hear Cat R Waul swooning from here. I still think Cathy Cavadini's is best but this one is still pretty good.
Anything Can Happen In America
This will be Papa’s final track. It’s another one of his rants about how anything can happen in America, only this time in song. What really creeps me out is he mentions computers...aren’t they supposed to be living in the 1880’s? Wow, either Papa knows the future or he time traveled or something.
Fievel & Me
This is a song about Fievel and Tiger and how they’re best friends and how he should have been a mouse, and how he betrayed Warren, it’s in the same vain as A Duo. Hate to disappoint but Tiger definately isn’t being voiced by Dom DeLuise, its the same guy they got to do Papa’s voice. He does do an okay job impersonating it...but it’s just not him. This is why I think getting someone else to play Tiger in a future movie would never work. Fievel’s monologue in the beginning is still the cutest part I think.
Fievel, That’s Me
This song is pretty funny, it’s all about how Fievel is a tough cowboy who you don’t want to mess with and how all the cats tremble at the sight of him. The guy singing the chorus sounds like the guy who sang "You got a Friend in Me" for Toy Story. Fievel sings the rest himself, singing his tough cowboy voice. It’s a funny song, but poor Fievel can’t pull off tough without sounding really cute.
Yes...yes this was real. It really did happen. It ran from 1990 to 1997. Was it really as horrifying as the above artwork suggests? That I don't know for sure. But you can judge for yourself, I found out about all this from this website here, where I was also able to download the 14 minute long soundtrack. The soundtrack starts out with a narrator talking about how the foreign mice came to America for a brighter future and all that. It doesn't follow the movies at all. Next we hear Papa and Mama seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time (despite the fact that it was still kinda being built) and other mice marvel at it's magnificence in their own languages, and they start to sing an original song called "We're Here in America". It's a song about how lucky and happy they are to be in America now. Presumably Papa picks up his violin and starts playing an upbeat Jewish tune with clapping and dancing heard in the background before they go back into the chorus. Wait shouldn't he be sad? He lost Fievel! Well it's one of those stage shows where they're not allowed to be sad I guess, like anything you'd see at Disneyland typically.
Next we hear Gussie Mausheimer greet the immigrants and announce she's holding a celebration 'wowie'. Papa asks what a wowie is and after she explains Tony Toponi realizes she means a rally. I'm not sure if Gussie or Papa are voiced by the same actors but Tony certainly sounds like he is. Gussie announces that the wowie is in celebration of Fievel for getting rid of the cats. But wait, didn't they just get to America like two minutes ago? That's...a little confusing. Fievel comes up to speak saying they won't have to worry about cats again. I really don't think it's Phillip Glasser voicing him, he sounds odd. After this assurance Papa begins to sing "There Are No Cats in America". Despite a few instrumental additions it sounds basically the same, until....instead of the Sicilian mouse from the first movie singing the second verse, Tony Toponi sings it! That's pretty much the most awesome part of the whole soundtrack. The only other time we ever get to hear him sing in the Mystery of the Night Monster during the song "Who Will", but technically, this is actually the first time we ever get to hear Tony sing. He changes the lyrics around a bit (because obviously the mobster cat couldn't have a taste for 'his brother Tony'); the opening line goes "Time's was hard in Sicily we hadda no mozzerella, The Don he was a Tabby with a taste for my sister Stella." So, Tony's got a sister named Stella? Interesting development, although of course I wouldn't call anything from this live show canon. That's the final verse before the song is interrupted by the screeching of a cat. Ironic. But it turns out it was just Tiger playing a trick on everyone, what a jerk. Then the narrator takes over, saying that they lived on happily in New York...for as long as one can live happily in New York. *cue laugh track*
We hear Tiger wondering how great it would be if everyone could live in a place where everyone is friends. Papa and Mama concur, and then Fievel says he's always wanted to go to Green River and meet his hero Wylie Burp. Oddly, Tiger then goes on for a while about how great Wylie Burp is. Fievel then pretty much orders Papa to move them out west. Apparently he calls the shots here. But, he does so by saying they should follow their dreams, and begins to sing a truly awful, horrible rendition of "Dreams to Dream". Yes, you read right. The horrible part isn't that Fievel is attempting to sing "Dreams to Dream", the horrible part is that someone is attempting to sound like Fievel attempting to sing "Dreams to Dream". Phillip Glasser would have done a better job. Then Tiger starts to sing it. Where is Tanya in all this?? Haven't heard from her at all since the beginning. She's too much of a high profile diva for this kind of rubbish, it would have ruined her reputation. Hearing Tiger sing it isn't all that bad actually, I think it might actually be Dom Deluise. Then Papa and a chorus of others start to sing it, until...it randomly turns into "Somewhere Out There". Wow, this is painful. And it goes back and forth between "Dreams to Dream" and "Somewhere Out There" a couple times, like they forgot the words or they can't decide which song they'd rather sing. After the song the narrator comes out again, and explains that they're now moving to Green River, you know because Fievel has all the authority in the Mousekewitz family. He's like that kid from the Twilight Zone episode who controls people around him with his thoughts. Heck maybe he got mad at Tanya one day and sent her to the cornfield, that's why she's not here.
Next up Tiger, Papa and Fievel begin to sing "Way Out West", which soon degenerates into Tiger laughing and an instrumental version of "The Girl You Left Behind", a part that probably would make more sense if you could see what was going on. Tiger at one point says "I had no idea mice could do that!" which...really makes me wonder. After that they start making up their own lyrics, and it once again randomly turns into "Somewhere Out There" again (I'm not kidding), with some lyrics from "Way Out West" and "We're Here in America" thrown in. After it ends Fievel thanks everyone for coming and says "Buh bye!" in typical Fievel fashion. After that we hear some jazz instrumental versions of songs from An American Tail like "A Duo" and "Never Say Never", which admittingly are pretty cool to listen to, then it reprises an instrumental from "Somewhere Out There" and finally "We're Here in America" again, before it ends.
While they pretty much gave up on anything resembling a plot mid-way through "Way Out West" and some of the singing was really quite awful, it's an interesting find for any fan. The show was eliminated around the same time Fievel's Playland was taken out of Universal Studios Hollywood, though the Playland still exists in Orlando. I'd say it's worth listening to just to hear Tony sing "There are No Cats in America", but that's just me.
And because they offer it as a free download on the site I found out about this on, I suppose it's safe for me to post a download link here. Click here if you'd like to hear the soundtrack. (It's a WMA file, the site itself also has an MP4.) It's also up on Youtube.
Also, if you'd like to see pictures from the live show and Fievel's Playland, I've uploaded them here.
This remix was put together using John Horner's score from the first movie along with various voice clips. And because the artist seems to be okay with people downloading it, I'll give a link to the mp3. Trust me, it's incredibly awesome, if you haven't heard it yet and you're a fan you must hear it. It makes great use of the Irishman's (known fondly by the fandom as Dylan O'Brian) verse in "There Are No Cats in America", and Bridget's giggle.