Few would disagree with us that Mary Poppins is one of the greatest movies ever made. The 1964 musical fantasy film has delighted millions of fans worldwide, and 54 years later, you can bet it will be a feat for the sequel to match the standards of the original film.
How does a new soundtrack album enchant listeners when familiar hummable tunes like “A Spoonful of Sugar”, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", "Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)" and “Step in Time” are classics that have stood the test of time?
We are pleased to repeat that the 78 minutes of music on this soundtrack is pure joy. If you love the musical genre, this is one album you can’t miss. Whether you are a fan of the all time favourite directed by Robert Stevenson, or a convert after watching Rob Marshall’s sequel, you will find yourself smiling from the first to last track.
Composer songwriter Marc Shaiman (Hairspray) and co lyricist Scott Wittman wrote nine original songs for the film, with some reprise versions. The talented Lin-Manuel Miranda (who worked with Disney on the marvellous soundtrack for Moana) kicks off with “(Underneath the) Lovely London Sky”, a prologue song that sets the mood. He shows off his rapping skills in “The Cover is Not the Book”, and is an absolute charmer in the seven minute set piece “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”. If you have seen the movie, you’d remember the infectious song and dance sequence.
And then there’s Mary Poppins herself. Emily Blunt, who has worked with Marshall previously on Into The Woods, is a capable singer. The emotional “The Place Where Lost Things Go” is an award contender, the cheeky "Can You Imagine That?" is a fun number, while Blunt's surprising growl in “The Royal Doulton Music Hall” shows the nanny’s fiery side. Ben Wishaw is a pleasant surprise with his moving vocals in "A Conversation".
Meryl Streep, who has sung her heart out in the Mama Mia! movies, takes on the weird but wonderful “Turning Turtle”. Dick Van Dyke, who played Bert in the first movie, shows up in “Trip a Little Light Fantastic (Reprise)”. Angela Lansbury, whom we fondly remember as Mrs Potts in the animated Beauty and the Beast, lends her signature voice to the heartwarming closing piece “Nowhere to Go But Up”.
There is also a generous inclusion of score material by Shaiman which complements the songs. The musical references to the songs and score from the first film written by the Sherman Brothers are a nice touch, and this makes the album a must have for soundtrack fans.
Recommended Track: (10) Trip a Little Light Fantastic
Review by John Li