The Cat in the Hat by David Newman available at



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The Cat in the Hat (Soundtrack)  by David Newman

"Curiosity Killed It"
Review by Matt Peterson


The Cat in the Hat (Soundtrack)  by David Newman

The Cat in the Hat

Buy The Cat in the Hat by Davied Newman and Marc Shaiman from

Composer David Newman
David Newman


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Category    Score

Originality 3
Music Selection 6
Composition 6
CD Length 5
Track Order 6
Performance 7
Final Score 5/10


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"Overall, Shaiman's material is cute, but the score from Newman is simply more of the same adequate, but repetitive slapstick material for cartoonish situations."

Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks Reviews
The Cat in the Hat




Original score composed and conducted by David Newman
Songs by Mark Shaiman
Executive Album Producer: Brian Grazer
Scoring Consultant: Krystyna Newman
Orchestrators: Greg Jamrok and Andrew Kinney
Recorded and mixed by: Bruce Botnick
Music Editors: Jeff Carson and Andy Dorfman
Released by Decca Records - November 18th, 2003

Once Ron Howard’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas found commercial success at the box office (but not among critics), Universal was sure to release a long line of follow ups. The first of these “sequels” is The Cat In The Hat, which remains one of the best selling children’s books of all time. Starring the multi-faceted Mike Myers (whose Cat shares some mannerisms with various Austin Powers characters), Alec Baldwin, Kelly Preston, and rising child star Dakota Fanning, Universal’s newest live action Seuss adaptation is almost sure to drum up healthy returns at the box office this holiday season. This time around, director Bo Welch has taken the baton from Ron Howard, whose newest film, The Missing, looks to be a strong dramatic entry into the winter lineup. Much like its predecessor, The Cat in the Hat has a very psychedelic look to its production design—a consequence of translating such abstract two dimensional artwork into three dimensional sets. Within this surreal world, the insane antics of the Cat, and its plethora of crazy creatures and devices, reak havoc.

A longtime veteran of children’s films, composer David Newman has produced many quality scores in recent memory. One outstanding work that did not see a wide commercial release was his adventurous, thematically excellent Galaxy Quest. Some of his most recent projects include Scooby Doo, its sequel, and Ice Age. Newman is a very capable, experienced composer that can produce these types of scores in his sleep. This is perhaps part of the problem with many of his children’s scores, which begin to sound very similar to one another. Due to his large workload, it is rare to see a relatively complete score album of his work. His comedic, slapstick style is used to the hilt here, and manages to conjure images of crazy Cats in Hats, and Things we would rather not be associated with (I wonder how kids are allowed to hang around these odd Seuss creatures…).

The score for The Cat In The Hat follows the style predetermined by the subject matter. It is curiously jumpy, multi layered, fused with electronic motifs, and utilizes every aspect of the orchestra. Its bouncy energy is enough to drive the listener to the point of insanity. I kid you not. The music rips and roars with brass clusters that accentuate unseen action, and even breaks out into occasional jazzy, lounge-like motifs. Then, without warning, the motif will end, and an entirely new set of instruments will take over, playing some trite little tune. A hint of a main theme is heard in the first track, but is only heard in pieces in later cues. The score seems to primarily focus on accompanying on screen action. With this in mind, it is clear that this is a well-composed work. It is safe to assume this music will capture the essence of the Cat and the chaos on screen, but as a standalone listening experience, it tends to test one’s mental fortitude.

The entire score proceeds in a similar fashion. As a result, it is difficult to differentiate between the tracks, which begin to blend together into a maelstrom of orchestral blurbs, and chaotic phrases. As previously mentioned, the opening track contains a plucky main theme that seems to disappear into a mesh of textures later on. Hints are heard here and there, but no other themes are well developed. Unique piano motifs, mystical suspense music and an odd tune that sounds like a broken music box can be heard in “The Cat.” Track 1 Mournful, yet cartoonish dramatic music begins “Military Academy Seduction” (an odd title for a cue in a children’s film, if I may say so), then snare drums and goofy trumpet blasts take turns between a piano, and even a sax. Some tracks, like “Mrs. Kwan - Mom Leaves,” are quite frustrating—a gentle, emotive theme will begin to emerge, but before it is developed, the orchestral chaos resumes, destroying the moment. Other cues, like “S.L.O.W. Drive” are just flat out annoying. They feature whiny brass, and toy like instruments in horrifyingly rapid synchronization. “Things Wreck the House” even contains a traditional Russian melody! “ Rescuing Nevens” finally brings a sense of building dramatic development, with some interesting percussion. I have to recognize how well crafted these cues are, and the fact that they are sure to bring the on screen action to life, but this is a tough listen. Needless to say, the score is very consistent in terms of content and quality.

The album also features three songs. The first is a Beatles’ cover by Smash Mouth, whose recent musical style seems to be more kid oriented than ever. This song, quite simply, is an insult to the brilliance that is the Beatles, but if you enjoy Smash Mouth, it may be your bag. The second, composed by South Park native Mark Shaiman, features the vocal talents of Mike Myers. It is a very traditional, energetic, Broadway musical-styled song that incorporates dialogue from the film, and multiple accents from Myers. Surprisingly, some of the lyrics here are a bit obscene, and parents should be warned. I don’t remember Dr. Seuss speaking of cat urination and castration in the original book…maybe I missed that page. The final song, “Clean Up,” is in a similar vein to Shaiman’s previous effort, with a short closing quip from the Cat. Both fail to inspire.

Overall, this headspinning orchestral bonanza is enough to drive one up the wall, if listened to in large quantities. The songs are nothing special, and frankly, neither is the score. It is rather standard fare from Newman. It is certainly well crafted and creative, and will accompany the film quite well—I have tried to take this into account in my ratings. However, as a standalone listen, it does not do its thing.

Track Listing and Ratings


Title Time


1 Main Title - The Kids 8:07  ***
2 Getting Better - performed by Smash Mouth 2:24  *
3 The Cat Track 3 3:50  **
4 Two Things/Couch Jumping/Leaky Crate 5:16  **
5 Military Academy Seduction 3:02  **
6 Mrs. Kwan - Mom Leaves 2:12  **
7 Surfer Cat - The Phunometer 2:23  **
8 Fun, Fun, Fun - by Marc Shaiman/performed by Mike Myers 2:38  *
9 The Contract 1:53  **
10 Oven Explodes - Clean Up This Mess 1:36  **
11 Things Wreck the House 2:52  **
12 Larry the Slob 3:10  **
13 Birthday Party 2:11  **
14 S.L.O.W. Drive 2:32  **
15 Rescuing Nevens 4:27  ***
16 Clean Up - by Marc Shaiman/performed by Mike Myers 0:22  *

Total Running Time


The Cat in the Hat by David Newman

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.


Referenced Reviews
  How the Grinch Stole Christmas




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