'Rio' Soundtrack: Brazilian Rhythms & Blue Sky

[caption id="attachment_44881" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Interscope"]Rio soundtrack[/caption]

We've been begging and pleading with our girlfriends to let us go to Rio de Janeiro, but something about the bounty of thongs and beaches has always thwarted our travel attempts. C'est la vie.

In lieu of a spontaneous vacation, though, the best we could get is the soundtrack to Blue Sky's "Rio," the upcoming animated film about a rare macaw (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) who travels to South America to find his female counterpart and revitalize his dying species. Man, even the birds think about sex down there.

As you'd expect, the soundtrack leans heavy on the Brazilian theme, melding updated versions of classic songs with new tracks by R&B and pop superstars. Jamie Foxx and will.i.am's "Hot Wings (I Wanna Party)" should – intentionally or not – please any 8-year-old, with Foxx singing "I wanna fly just like a bird" before being reminded, "But you are a bird."

The singer fares better with "Fly Love," his gentle, lilting update of Carlinhos Brown's "Ararinha" that showcases Foxx's naturally lush voice. Taio Cruz has pretty much usurped Akon's party-beat-under-R&B-ballad throne in 2011, so it's no surprise that his contribution "Telling the World" is the soundtrack's first single. It's unremarkable, but probably better if you imagine a group of birds swooning down from the jungle as a visual accompaniment.

Flight of the Conchords' Jermaine Clement, playing the villain Nigel, scores, though, with "Nigel's Song," injecting the same joke rap interludes that have made Conchords so popular ("Like an abandoned school, I have no principle.") The song was recently released in 13 languages, thus quelling any question as to what a bird being deceptive in Korean or Swedish would sound like.

Brazilian music, though, rules the day. "Let Me Take You to Rio" is a stirring collaboration between famed Brazilian singer/percussionist Carlinhos Brown and American singer Ester Dean, while the uptempo samba rhythms of Mikael Mutti's "Balanco Carioca" will be pumping out of every club where guys wear sunglasses indoors and girls wear shirts that say "Porn Star" and "69." "Mas Que Nada" updates Sergio Mendes' classic with the addition of Black Eyed Peas, who have apparently already plundered all the songs in their home country.

The toe-tapping, easily digestible rhythms inherent in so much classic Brazilian music dovetails nicely with a movie geared toward children. But since kids don't spend money, we also get Taio Cruz and will.i.am to ensure that those precious commercial demographics are hit. It's a win for 20th Century Fox; a half-win for the rest of us.

Full Tracklisting:

1. Real In Rio – The Rio Singers

2. Let Me Take You To Rio (Blu’s Arrival) – Ester Dean and Carlinhos Brown

3. Mas Que Nada (2011 Rio Version) – Sergio Mendes featuring Gracinha Leporace

4. Hot Wings (I Wanna Party) – will.i.am & Jamie Foxx

5. Pretty Bird – Jemaine Clement

6. Fly Love – Jamie Foxx

7. Telling The World – Taio Cruz

8. Funky Monkey – Siedah Garrett, Carlinhos Brown, Mikael Mutti, and Davi Vieira

9. Take You To Rio (Remix) – Ester Dean

10. Balanco Carioca – Mikael Mutti

11. Sapo Cai – Carlinhos Brown and Mikael Mutti

12. Samba De Orly – Bebel Gilberto

13. Valsa Carioca – Sergio Mendes