“The Green Album,” a new collection of Muppets tunes, gave me a sense of déjà vu. The disc contains 12 songs covered by modern artists such as OK Go, Amy Lee and My Morning Jacket. When I worked at KROQ, I remember getting an album of Saturday morning cartoon songs and an album of Carpenters songs covered by various alternative artists.
They’re pushing OK Go’s version of “The Muppet Show Themesong” with a video that was released on YouTube on Tuesday. I wanted to like it but it sounded too forced. The tracks I liked best illustrated the two choices available to artists on tribute albums. They can cover the song in their own style, “making it their own,” as Weezer & Hayley Williams did with “Rainbow Connection.” Or they could do a faithful rendition of the original, as The Fray did with “Mahna Mahna.” I would have enjoyed hearing the lyrics to “Mahna Mahna” done more Fray-like. If you didn’t tell someone that the track was by The Fray, they would never guess it.