Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
Plugged In was pleasantly surprised that the latest Chipmunks movie, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, dialed down the rodent scatology quotient enough to merit a G rating (compared to the PG earned by the first two entries in the franchise). Reviewer Bob Hoose wrote, " If anything, with the exception of a reclaimed Lady Gaga song or a largely unintelligible rendition of a rap track, this third chipmunky release is the cutest and most harmless one yet."
But that reclaimed Lady Gaga song, among others, does a lot more damage on this soundtrack. Here, The Chipmunks and girl group The Chipettes squeal through covers of songs from quite a few bothersome musical acts, including P!nk, Katy Perry, Rihanna, LMFAO, Destiny's Child and FloRida. And that means the music isn't as cute and harmless as the movie.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
The Chipettes cover " Survivor" by Destiny's Child, in which a spurned woman declares her determination to press on ("I'm a survivor/I'm not gon' give up), clings to optimism ("After all of the darkness and sadness/Soon comes happiness") and even affirms her faith ("I'm not gon' compromise my Christianity"). If ingested in isolation, you could also say it's a good thing that God shows up again in lyrics from Lady Gaga's " Born This Way": "I'm beautiful in my way/'Cause God makes no mistakes." The first verse and chorus of that song gets mashed up with the self-esteem affirming tracks "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" by the Spice Girls and " Firework" by Katy Perry.
A positive couplet surfaces on Gaga's " Bad Romance": "Want you here by my side/Through thin and through thick." (Those lines replace a sexual double entendre.) "Say Hey," originally by Michael Franti, is an innocent love song containing the rhyme, "The more I see, the less I know/But I know that I love you, yes I do."
Despite edits to profanities and glaring lines about sex and alcohol, the lyrics that remain still glorify some sordid stuff—stuff that feels all the more problematic when one considers the young audience the Chipmunks material targets.
One of these is the idea that life is a nonstop dance party without limits or boundaries. LMFAO's hit " Party Rock Anthem" begins, "Party rock is in the house tonight/Everybody just have a good time/And we gon' make you lose your mind." Having a good time, of course, means ogling the ladies, as evidenced in this repeated—and unedited—lyric: "We just wanna see you/Shake that." The song also mentions getting tattooed. Meanwhile, on "We Have Arrived," guest artist Classic mentions crunk and says of a club's rhythm, "You can feel it in your butt." He also raps, "I rock, I roll/I party out of control/We party all night long."
The Chipmunks' version of Iggy Pop's "Real Wild Child" finds the rodents repeatedly bragging, "Gotta break it loose/ … Gonna keep swingin', baby/I'm a real wild child." A new verse by rapper DJ Nomadik offers this blueprint for getting wild: "I'm a real wild child/Like to wreak a lot of havoc/ … Keep it rowdy/ … Out of control/I'm all about it." Similarly self-absorbed dance club bravado permeates the squeaky cover of FloRida's "Club Can't Handle Me, while rebellious attitudes turn up on "Trouble," originally by P!nk.
Producers may have replaced some of the worst lines from Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," but they left these problematic lyrics in place: "I want your ugly/I want your disease/ … I want your drama/The touch of your hand/I want your leather-studded kiss in the sand/ … I want your horror/I want your design/'Cause you're a criminal as long as you're mine." The romance in "S.O.S." (originally by Rihanna) isn't any healthier, as The Chipettes sing, "I'm obsessive when just one thought of you comes up/And I'm aggressive, just one thought ain't close enough/ … I can't control myself, got me calling out for help/ … It's not healthy for me to feel this way/ … My tummy's tied up in knots, and when I see you it gets so hot." On "We Speak No Americano/Conga," Miami Sound Machine's Gloria Estefan and The Chipettes advise, "Come on, shake your body, baby, do that conga/I know you can't control yourself any longer."
Looking through parents' reviews of this soundtrack on Amazon, I stumbled across this endorsement: "I always love a kids CD that changes the words to make them more kid appropriate. … Plus, who can not love a cute little chipmunk singing Lady Gaga songs, lol!"
"Kid appropriate," of course, is in the ear of the beholder. True, the most egregious lyrics here have been replaced. On LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem," for instance, "I'm runnin' through these hoes like Drano" becomes, "I'm runnin' this world like a G4." And on "Bad Romance," Gaga's suggestive "I want your psycho/Your vertigo stick" becomes, "I like your crazy/I like all your tricks." The Lady's lines affirming homosexuality on "Born This Way" aren't included here at all.
But what about the fact that the mere presence of an LMFAO song taunts kids with an obscene acronym? Or that obsessing over boys who make you feel "hot" is one of the album's life lessons? Or that morphing into wild kids who wreak havoc while shaking their "tails" and losing their minds is considered cool? Or that out-of-control partying is considered normal?
What's not to love, then? A whole lot more than just the hyper-pitched chirping.