Best known for the minor hit ‘I Love L.A.,’ Trouble in Paradise is a satirical exploration of hedonism and excess, with songs such as ‘My Life Is Good’ and ‘There’s a Party at My House’ showcasing some of the most despicable characters Newman has ever voiced. Of course, they’re also hilarious.
#9 – Toy Story 3 (2010)
Yesterday’s film was the most recent on this list, and today’s is the oldest. Toy Story 3 just made the decade cut, premiering in 2010.
2019 provided a nice opportunity to revisit it, given the release of the fourth film in the series. The popular consensus on Toy Story 4 (before anyone saw it) was that it was entirely unnecessary because Toy Story 3 was such a perfect ending for these characters. TS4 ended up being pretty darn great in its own right, managing to find new metaphors to mine for humor and pathos, but it still paled in comparison to this masterpiece.
You don’t hear songs from The Princess and the Frog in those Disney “greatest moments” medleys. The dominant musicals of the hand-drawn era are The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King and Aladdin.
But for my money, Randy Newman’s songs and score for The Princess and the Frog are as sublime as any of those classics.
That’s because the film gave Newman the opportunity to fully mine his beloved New Orleans jazz, with enough crowd-pleasing Disney sheen to make it go down easy for all ages.
Fewer than 20 new albums in a year is pretty lame by serious music fan standards. Music websites and magazines will publish Top 50 lists that might not even include some of these titles. But I tend to buy music by the artists I like, only occasionally dabbling in new artists, and I’m fine with that.
Today’s SOTD, ‘Same Girl,’ from Newman’s 1983 album Trouble in Paradise, is a somber declaration of love from a pimp to one of his prostitutes. Another thing I love about Newman… he writes songs about things very few artists would ever consider.