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The Polar Express

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10/26/2004

Review

The soundtrack to Robert Zemeckis' groundbreaking film adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg's popular children's book The Polar Express celebrates the season with both classic and contemporary holiday flair. Composers Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri provide the latter, relying on swelling choral arrangements, tender ballads, and polarizing yuletide offerings from Stephen Tyler and Josh Groban. Tyler struts his stuff on the amiable but derivative "Rockin' on Top of the World," a three-chord rave-up that finds the Aerosmith mouthpiece channeling a pack of howler monkeys, but it's Groban's syrupy, future American Idol favorite "Believe" that serves as the soundtrack's commercial centerpiece. Tom Hanks does his best Gene Wilder on the whimsical and strangely unnerving title track, a wonderfully unhinged performance that will have Willy Wonka fans clamoring for more, and the winsome vocals of preteens Matthew Hall and Meagan Moore give the ballad "When Christmas Comes to Town" a real sense of wonder. Silvestri's orchestral pieces are effective in tone, yet ape Danny Elfman's Edward Scissorhands theme so shamelessly that lawyers on both sides must have had words early on in the production. The Polar Express is ambitious for sure, but the fact that its most sincere pieces are the six classics that make up its caboose is telling. [The Polar Express is also available in a Special Edition that includes a decorative box and artwork from the book.] ~ James Christopher Monger
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 The Polar Express Tom Hanks 3:21
  3. 2 When Christmas Comes to Town 4:3
  4. 3 Rockin' on Top of the World Steven Tyler 2:32
  5. 4 Believe Josh Groban 4:16
  6. 5 Hot Chocolate Tom Hanks 2:29
  7. 6 Spirit of the Season Alan Silvestri 2:30
  8. 7 Seeing Is Believing Alan Silvestri 3:43
  9. 8 Santa Claus Is Coming to Town Frank Sinatra 2:32
  10. 9 White Christmas Bing Crosby 3:2
  11. 10 Winter Wonderland The Andrews Sisters 2:40
  12. 11 It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas 2:37
  13. 12 Silver Bells Kate Smith 2:36
  14. 13 Here Comes Santa Claus Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters 3:0
  15. 14 Suite from The Polar Express Alan Silvestri 6:1

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