Detailed Review of the Monsters University Soundtrack – UPDATED

Monsters University Soundtrack Cover

As I write this review of Randy Newman’s seventh contribution to a Pixar film and look back over my notes, the words (or phrases) I jotted down and underlined while listening were “moments of grandeur,” “lightness,” “peril,” “Snares!” and “Militant.” Although these words don’t mean much upfront, they speak to the depth of highs and lows that the Monsters University soundtrack mirrors throughout. This isn’t a copy of the jazzy Monsters, Inc. soundtrack in any way – this is a new and completely original work that takes inspiration from the big action of a football game, subtle emotions in our hearts, and the overwrought nature of an individual’s college years.

As I plugged in my headphones and turned up the volume, my mind quickly drew comparisons from a few of Randy’s other works. Comparing this specifically to his other Pixar scores, I found this to be closest to Toy Story over any other movie – I couldn’t stop thinking of moments where Buzz was on screen talking about Star Command punctuated by snare drums and horns (Track 10, Field Trip at 20 seconds). For the more militant moments of the soundtrack, I pulled comparisons from one of Newman’s other works, Meet The Parents, where Greg stumbles into Jack’s secret room (beginning of Track 9, Stinging Glow Urchin).

Monsters University Library Screencap

I was also glad to hear some moments that played off of a traditional trouble-maker cartoon feel – (Track 12, The Library) with its light jazzy moments, big crescendos, and quiet moments where you can feel the syncopation between the characters’ footsteps and the music was a ton of fun. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Goodbyes (Track 18) is the most heartfelt track on the soundtrack and really pulls you in with its great violin swells and sweeping movements.

I loved how Oozma Kappa (Track 8), really showed off the “less cool” side of the OK gang by highlighting the accordion at moments and pairing those moments with a polka or jig feel. I also can’t get enough of the tracks, Main Title (Track 1), Rise and Shine (Track 11), and The Scare Games (Track 14) since I’m a sucker for great snare and quad drums (that even include authentic rim clicks). I wouldn’t expect anything less from Newman (as well as the Blue Devils drumline), and although I run the risk of sounding over-excited, this is my favorite work from Newman on a Pixar film.

Monsters University DJ Screencap

UPDATED – Well, we can wipe away our tears now as Twitter has been abuzz this morning with the source for the end credits theme that we originally thought was Randy Newman’s work. Seems everyone kept their eye on the MU end credits as we did as that End Credits song is called Gospel by MarchFourth Marching Band.

MarchFourth Marching Band Monsters University

Finally, if you’re a fan of Electronic Dance Music (EDM), then you will also definitely enjoy Roar (Track 13). Although this is the only track outside of Newman’s compositions, it highlights the party scene in the movie perfectly, and the soundtrack wouldn’t be complete without the insane beats from Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso.

Monsters University Soundtrack Cover

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You can pick up the Monsters University soundtrack on sale now on Amazon or you can listen on Apple Music or Spotify.

Track Listing – Total time 55:11

  1. Main Title (0:51)
  2. Young Michael (3:58)
  3. First Day at MU (4:32)
  4. Dean Hardscrabble (3:19)
  5. Sulley (0:48)
  6. Scare Pig (2:00)
  7. Wasted Potential (1:16)
  8. Oozma Kappa (3:16)
  9. Stinging Glow Urchin (2:34)
  10. Field Trip (3:57)
  11. Rise and Shine (3:00)
  12. The Library (3:44)
  13. Roar (Axwell & Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia) (2:52)
  14. The Scare Games (5:58)
  15. Did You Do This? (2:00)
  16. Human World (2:07)
  17. The Big Scare (3:02)
  18. Goodbyes (3:11)
  19. Mike and Sulley (1:12)
  20. Monsters University (1:34)
Comments 6
  1. Such a great review, T.J.! I totally agree about the similarities between the Toy Story scores. And I was a tad upset as well about the last track not being the end credits theme. After I saw the film, that was the tune that was stuck in my head for the next three days! Overall, I love this soundtrack. 'Love Randy's stuff 🙂

  2. Thanks Giovanni! Yeah, I'm really wondering if there is a plan to release that track at another time. Because it was played so much in the movie I assumed it was the main theme. I guess time will tell if it will be released – or if it will only appear on the cast and crew CD. Pixar Post – T.J.

  3. Awesome review, T.J.! I'm still wondering why Randy didn't wrote a song for this one. That's a shame, he's one of the best living songwriters and every other pixar film he scored had a original song by him. Too bad.

  4. Hey Daniel – I'm not sure why Randy didn't write a song with lyrics like he did for some of the other Pixar films – but I'm actually pleased that he didn't. I know that might sound a bit crazy, but after seeing the film, I don't think it would have fit in like it did in those other films. At least that's my opinion. 🙂 Pixar Post – T.J.

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