Review: ‘Trolls World Tour,’ featuring the voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Rachel Bloom, Sam Rockwell, Anderson .Paak, James Corden and Kelly Clarkson

April 12, 2020

by Carla Hay

Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) and Branch (voiced by Justin Timberlake) in “Trolls World Tour” (Image courtesy of DreamWorks Animation)

“Trolls World Tour”

Directed by Walt Dohrn and David P.  Smith

Culture Representation: This animated film sequel to 2016’s “Trolls” has a racially diverse cast (white, African American, Latino and Asian) voicing characters based on troll dolls.

Culture Clash: The trolls live in different territories based on the music of their lifestyles, and the queen of the rock territory wants to take over everything.

Culture Audience: “Trolls World Tour” is a family-friendly film that will appeal mostly to kids, adults who young at heart and people who like a variety of hit songs.

Barb (voiced by Rachel Bloom) in “Trolls World Tour” (Image courtesy of DreamWorks Animation)

On Broadway, there are jukebox musicals that string together a plot in between the performance of hit songs. And now, the jukebox musical trend has reached animated films with “Trolls World Tour,” which is a showcase for some original songs but mostly retro hits from various genres of music. This sequel to 2016’s “Trolls” packs in even more stars in the voice cast than its predecessor movie. The result is an energetic and vibrant ride that is utterly predictable but should be a crowd-pleaser for its intended audience.

Even though the plot of “Trolls World Tour” is pretty simple, there are five people who are credited with writing the screenplay: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky and Elizabeth Tippet. The large writing team for this movie is also a reflection of the huge increase in the size of the “Trolls World” voice cast, compared to the first “Trolls” movie. Walt Dohrn, who co-directed “Trolls” with Mike Mitchell, returns as a director on “Trolls World Tour,” but this time with David P. Smith as co-director. Dohrn voices several of the supporting characters in both movies.

Viewers of “Trolls World Tour” don’t need to see the first “Trolls” movie to understand what’s going on in this sequel, but it helps if more of a backstory is needed for the two central characters in both films: Princess Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) and her best friend/love interest Bark (voiced by Justin Timberlake). In “Trolls,” Bark (who tends to be overly pessimistic) became a reluctant ally and then eventual best friend to Poppy (who tends to be overly optimistic) in the Trolls’ quest to defeat the sad and angry creatures known as Bergens, whose goal was to make everyone in the world as miserable as they are.

In “Trolls World Tour,” the chief villain is Princess Barb (voiced by Rachel Bloom) a rocker girl who leads the Trolls whose music of choice is hard rock/heavy metal. Ozzy Osbourne is perfectly cast for the voice of King Thrash, Barb’s father. Barb’s goal is to have rock music take over all six territories in the Troll Kingdom. Each territory represents the music that embodies the Trolls’ lifestyle in each territory.

The other five territories represent the music genres of pop, techno, country, funk and classical. In the beginning of the movie, Barb and her minions arrive in a fleet of sharks to take over the techno territory. She takes a valuable guitar string from the Techno trolls and then she and her army of rock Trolls then move on to conquer the next territory.

When news of the invasion hits the pop territory, Poppy thinks that Barb has good intentions to unite all of the Trolls. But her father King Peppy (voiced by Dohrn) reveals a secret from the Trolls’ historical past: The Trolls almost had a civil war over their different tastes in music, so the music territories were created so Trolls who liked the same genre of music could live together in harmony. Each territory was bestowed with a magical guitar string that has the power to control that territory.

Barb is on a mission to collect all six of the magical strings to put them on a guitar. Once the guitar has the six strings on it, she’ll play an “ultimate power chord” that will give her and rock music complete control over all the Troll territories. Since “Trolls World Tour” is an animated jukebox musical, Barb belts out several rock songs along the way, including Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” and Heart’s “Barracuda.”

“Trolls World Tour” has several jokes about clichés and criticisms that go with certain music genres. The movie pokes fun at pop for being simple, repetitive “earworm” music. Rock is parodied for attracting low-life burnouts who wear mullets or mohawks and do “devil horn” signs. Country music has a stereotype of being full of sad songs and fans who act like rednecks or country bumpkins.

Classical music is labeled as “boring.” Techno gets criticism for its artists not playing “real” instruments. And funk (whose territory is populated with African American voice actors) calls out rap and pop for over-using funk samples. The original song “It’s All Love (History of Funk)” is a clap back to all the music that lifted funk riffs to make hit songs and funk artists not being paid properly for these samples.

Not for nothing, George Clinton (co-founder of Parliament-Funkadelic, one of the most-sampled groups of all time) is cast as new Trolls character King Quincy, who rules the funk territory Vibe City with Queen Essence (voiced by Mary J. Blige). The funk royals have a son named Prince D, voiced by hip-hop star Anderson .Paak, who performs the original song “Don’t Slack” with Timberlake in the film.  And returning Trolls character Cooper (voiced by Ron Funches) from the pop territory finds out that he has a connection to the funk territory.

“Trolls World Tour” once again has Poppy convincing a reluctant and wary Branch to go with her to help stop the chief villain before it’s too late. “Trolls” characters that are also in “Trolls World Tour” are loyal Biggie (voiced by James Corden) and wisecracking Guy Diamond (voiced by Kunal Nayyar), who provide some of the comic relief in the film

But there are so many new characters in “Trolls World Tour” that the movie could feel overstuffed for people who have short attention spans and might have trouble keeping track of them all. Guy now has a son named Tiny Diamond (voiced by Kenan Thompson). Delta Dawn (voiced by Kelly Clarkson) is a sassy, big-haired redhead who is a singer and leader of the country music territory.

Also in the country music territory is Hickory (voiced by Sam Rockwell), a multitalented and brave cowboy who befriends Poppy, much to Branch’s chagrin. Branch has been trying to tell Poppy that he loves her but is afraid to do it, so he gets jealous when it looks like Hickory is winning Poppy’s admiration. Hickory is the biggest standout new character in “Trolls World Tour” since he and his “yee-haw” can-do personality get a lot of screen time.

Some other supporting characters in the movie are the bounty hunters that Barb hires to help her track down the elusive pop guitar string that Poppy has in her possession. The bounty hunters are smooth jazz musician Chaz (voiced by Jamie Dornan), a clarinet-playing Kenny G type who plays hypnotic music that gets on people’s nerves. The other bounty hunters are musical groups representing reggaeton, K-Pop and yodelers. J Balvin has a cameo as the reggaeton leader, and his song “Mi Gente” is in the movie.

There are several familiar hits that get the medley treatment in “Trolls World Tour,” including Spice Girls’ “Wannabe,” Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s “Good Vibrations,” Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out” and LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem.” Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” has the lyrics reworked with the word “trolls” replacing the word “girls.” Dierks Bentley’s song “Leaving Lonesome Flats” (written for “Trolls World Tour”) is featured in a country music segment. And an electronic-dance music concert in the movie’s opening scene has the DJ playing Daft Punk’s “One More Time.”

“Trolls World Tour” music directors are Timberlake and Ludwig Goransson, the musician who won an Oscar and a Grammy for the “Black Panther” score, as well as Grammys for co-writing and producing Childish Gambino’s “This Is America.” Timberlake and Goransson co-wrote and produced the majority of the original songs in “Trolls World Tour,” such as the ballad “Perfect for Me,” “Don’t Slack” and “Just Sing (Trolls World Tour),” which is the movie’s obvious signature anthem. The music is very catchy, but won’t be as huge as Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling!,” the Oscar-nominated song from the first “Trolls” movie.

In its plot about Barb the villain trying to make all the Trolls conform to the way she wants them to be, “Trolls World Tour” has a message that people can live peacefully while respecting each other’s differences. It’s a message that comes wrapped in a lot of musical numbers and action sequences, but it’s something that audiences can take to heart. And along the way, some people might learn more about music genres that they might have previously dismissed because of certain prejudices.

Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation released “Trolls World Tour” for rental only on digital and VOD on April 10, 2020.

2017 SESAC Pop Awards: George Clinton, Charlie XCX shine

April 14, 2017

George Clinton, Charli XCX and Chuck D at the 21st Annaul SESAC Pop Awards
George Clinton, Charli XCX and Chuck D at the 21st Annaul SESAC Pop Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City on April 13, 2017. (Photo by Shawn Ehlers/Getty Images for SESAC)

The following is an excerpt from a SESAC press release:

SESAC hosted its 21st annual Pop Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City on April 13, 2017. SESAC’s Charli XCX (PRS) was named Songwriter of the Year and earned the Song of the Year award for penning the chart-topping “Same Old Love,” recorded by Selena Gomez. Sony ATV Sounds was named Publisher of the Year. In addition to this year, Charli XCX was honored in 2014 with SESAC Songwriter of the Year and Song of the Year for the hit “I Love It,” recorded by Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX.  Most recently, Charli XCX released the ten-song mixtape “Angel” to rave reviews, with one critic saying the artist continues to be “the one to watch.”

Sirius XM radio host Bevy Smith, Rolling Stone contributing editor Joe Levy and veteran entertainment journalist John Norris served as presenters during the awards show, which featured a performance by Jaheim of “Struggle Love,” written by SESAC honoree Bale’Wa Muhammad.

Headlining the evening with a lively and unforgettable performance was SESAC Legacy Award recipient George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic. The founder of iconic rap group Public Enemy, Mr. Chuck D, presented George Clinton with the SESAC Legacy Award.
City National Bank was the premiere sponsor of the event and the Viceroy NYC served as the hotel sponsor of the 2017 Pop Awards.

A complete list of honorees follows:

Songwriter of the Year:  
Charli XCX (PRS)

Publisher of the Year:  

Song of the Year:
“Same Old Love”
Written by Charli XCX
Recorded by Selena Gomez
Published by Sony ATV Sounds, Stellar Songs Ltd (PRS)


“Cold Water”
Written by King Henry
Published by Duke City Music, SONGS Music Publishing
Recorded by Major Lazer Feat. Justin Bieber & M0

“Hymm For The Weekend”
Written by Venor Yard
Published by Keys Strings and A Pen Music, Reach Music Publishing
Recorded by Coldplay

Written by Bryan Michael Cox, Mariah Carey
Published by Babyboys Little Pub Co, Noontime South Inc., WBM Music Corp, Universal Tunes,
Beyondidolization, Reach Music
Recorded by Bryson Tiller

Written by James “JHart” Abrahart
Published by Jayded Ink Publishing, Universal Tunes
Recorded by Justin Bieber

“Way Down We Go”
Written by Daniel Kristjansson, David Antonsson, JJ Julius Son, Rubin Pollock
Published by Rotten Shark Music, Blue Potato Music, Vegasalt, Ruby Two, WBM Music Corp
Recorded by Kaleo

“Electric Love”
Written by Nicholas Long
Published by Victorious Secret
Recorded by BORNS

“Good Love”
Written by Derek Allen
Published by 4 Stringa Songs
Recorded by Keith Sweat

“So I Can Have You Back”
Written by Derek Allen
Published by 4 Stringa Songs
Recorded by Joe

Written by Denisia “Blu June” Andrews
Published by 1114 Sounds, WBM Music Corp
Recorded by Kehlani

Written by Rubi Rene Green
Published by Good Rubi Music
Recorded by Eric Benet

“Waiting On You”
Written by Kenyon Dixon
Published kenyondixonmusic, Music by Gibson & Gibson
Recorded by Tyrese

“You Don’t Get Me High Anymore”
Written by Sarah Barthel, Joshua Carter
Published by Demarest Barthel Music, Charlie Everywhere Music, SONGS Music Publishing
Recorded by Phantogram

“Bang Bang”
Written by Billie Joe Armstrong, Frank E. Wright III, Michael Ryan Pritchard
Published by Green Daze Music, WBM Music Corp
Recorded by Green Day

“Revolution Radio”
Written by Billie Joe Armstrong, Frank E. Wright III, Michael Ryan Pritchard
Published by Green Daze Music, WBM Music Corp
Recorded by Green Day

“Still Breathing”
Written by Billie Joe Armstrong, Frank E. Wright III, Michael Ryan Pritchard
Published by Green Daze Music, WBM Music Corp
Recorded by Green Day

“Struggle Love”
Written by Bale’Wa Muhammad
Published by Jahque Joints, Universal Polygram International Tunes Inc.
Recorded by Jaheim

Written by Swizz Beatz
Published by Monza Ronza, Universal Tunes
Recorded by Kanye West

“Something To Believe In”
Written by Eric Cannata, Francois Comtois, Jacob Tilley, Payam Doostzadeh, Sameer Gadhia
Published by EricC Publishing, The Jakes, Jacob Tilley, Doostzadeh Group, Mi Fiammetta Inc., Kobalt Music Copyrights
Recorded by Young The Giant

Written by Cole Greif-Neill
Published by Beggars Music Limited (PRS)
Recorded by Beck

Written by Nathan Followill, Jared Followill, Caleb Followill
Published by Pubelishing Publishing, Canyon Candy Publishing, Dixie Farm Publishing,
BMG Silver Songs US
Recorded by Kings Of Leon

“Waste A Moment”
Written by Nathan Followill, Jared Followill, Caleb Followill
Published by Pubelishing Publishing, Canyon Candy Publishing, Dixie Farm Publishing,
BMG Silver Songs US
Recorded by Kings Of Leon

Written by Nathan Followill, Jared Followill, Caleb Followill
Published by Pubelishing Publishing, Canyon Candy Publishing, Dixie Farm Publishing,
BMG Silver Songs US
Recorded by Kings Of Leon

“Life Itself”
Written by Dave Bayley (PRS)
Published by Beggars Music Limited (PRS)
Recorded by Glass Animals

Written by Guy Lawrence (PRS), Howard Lawrence (PRS), Jimmy Napes (PRS)
Published by Universal Polygram International Tunes Inc., Salli Isaak Music Publishing (PRS)
Recorded by Disclosure feat. Lorde

Written by Ben Lovett (PRS), Ted Dwane, Marcus Mumford (PRS), Winston Marshall (PRS)
Published by Universal Polygram International Inc.
Recorded by Mumford & Sons

“Sign Of The Times”
Written by Jacob Luttrell
Published by LSLX Music, Artist Publishing Group East, WBM Music Corp
Recorded by Cee Lo Green

“Bring Back The Summer”
Written by Lianna Hauoli Sylvan
Published by Match Sound Publishing
Recorded by Rain Man Feat. Oly

“Ain’t No Man”
Written by Scott Avett, Seth Avett, Bob Crawford
Published by NEMOIV Music, First Big Snow Publishing, Truth Comes True Publishing,Ramseur Family Fold Music, BMG Silver Songs US
Recorded by Avett Brothers

“True Sadness”
Written by Scott Avett, Seth Avett, Bob Crawford
Published by NEMOIV Music, First Big Snow Publishing, Truth Comes True Publishing, Ramseur Family Fold Music, BMG Silver Songs US
Recorded by Avett Brothers

“No Problem”
Written by Ivan Jackson
Published by Stellar Songs Ltd, Sony ATV Sounds
Recorded by Chance The Rapper

“You & Me”
Written by Rami Dawod
Published by Ramidawodmusic. Third Spirit Music, Global Entertainment Songs
Recorded by Marc E. Bassy Feat. G-Eazy

“Grass Ain’t Greener”
Written by Nikhil Seetharam
Published by Kromatik, Sony ATV Sounds,
Recorded by Chris Brown

“Love Yourz”
Written by Calvin Price
Published by CritaCal Productions, Reign Forever Group Inc.
Recorded by J. Cole

“What We Live For”
Written by James Shelley, Zachary Barnett
Published by James Adam Shelley Publishing, Zac Barnett Publishing, Round Hill Copyrights
Recorded by American Authors

2017 Coachella Festival: Heineken House includes headliner George Clinton & the Parliament Funkadelic

April 5, 2017

2017 Coachella Festival


The interactive experience Heineken House is making its return to 2017 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which will take place April 14 to April 16 and April 21 to April 23 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. Fresh off his work on Kendrick Lamar’s latest album, George Clinton & The Parliament Funkadelic will play a full two-hour set on April 15 only. Other Heineken House exclusive performances include Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, TWRK, Chris Lake, DJ Sliink, DJ Nu Mark and BJ the Kid.

The following is an excerpt from a Heineken press release:

The Heineken House, open to festival goers ages 21 and over, is more than just unforgettable and legendary musical performances and experiences. For the second year in a row, the House boasts a Sustainable Dance Floor powered by the movement of the attendees during each set. Kinetic energy created when attendees bust a move will be converted into electricity used to power the LED lights of the floor, creating a unique party atmosphere. The more house-goers dance, the more the house will light up.

When not listening to music, a Digital Art Wall inside the Heineken House is dedicated to bringing to life the creative spirit of the festival. The interactive simulation area that allows House visitors to create custom art with a selected stencil, or tag a selfie with a spray can. Coachella attendees will then be able to email their artwork as a souvenir or share on their social channels.

New this year to the Heineken House at Coachella is “This One Is On Us”, an initiative launched in the United States for the first time in March. Consumers can visit a water bar in the Heineken House to receive free cups of water throughout the entire duration of the festival. By encouraging moderate drinking, we can enable festival attendees to get the most out of their festival experience, compliments of Heineken.

“This One Is On Us” debuted for the first time in 2016 and is part of Heineken’s commitment to Brewing a Better World, by offering initiatives that make responsible consumption and sustainable practices easier, accessible and more relevant to our fans.”

Heineken Cold Storage returns to the Festival camping ground this year with its enhanced delivery service format. With Cold Storage On-Demand, campers’ cold beer will be stored for them and then delivered directly to their campsites by messengers when they are ready for it. Taking advantage of Heineken Cold Storage also makes campers eligible for other on-site perks including prizes, beverage tickets or front-of-line access during a performance of their choice at Heineken House.

To participate in Heineken Cold Storage, campers aged 21 and up can drop off their beverages and register for the text message based service. Beverages will be delivered daily from 12-7p.m. and all requests must be submitted no later than 6 p.m. They can also schedule ahead of time by visiting this website.

To experience the festival with Heineken, follow the brand on Twitter or Instagram, @Heineken_US, use the hashtag #HeinekenHouse, or visit the Heineken Facebook page, for performance schedules and updates.

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