(Photo from Environmental Justice in the Iron Bound)
It was a sunny day on Sept. 7; I was jamming to “When You’re Gone” by Shawn Mendes. I had no classes to attend, so I decided to do what everyone does to kill time: open Instagram. The first post I saw was from Shawn Mendes.
He had shared a trailer, and as a huge fan of Mendes, I did my duty by liking the post just because it had come from him. The video was for the trailer of a film in which Mendes would voice Lyle, a crocodile who can sing but not speak. Boy oh boy, was I excited to listen to the songs he would be releasing.
After another week, Mendes updated with a post hinting at a new song from the film. “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” is based on the classic children’s picture book of the same name by Bernard Waber. It is a story about finding one’s place in the world.
This quirky story involves a boy who finds a crocodile in his attic and seeks to protect his new friend. It’s a family musical with many catchy songs and witty dialogue. Mendes was the perfect fit for a friendly and funny singing crocodile and was obviously the star of the show.
Young Josh Primm, played by Winslow Fegley, discovers Lyle in the attic of his new house in New York City and instantly becomes friends with him, overcoming his loneliness. After befriending Lyle, Primm finds his confidence, shown when he walks alone to school and talks to his crush. I wish I could get a singing crocodile for that kind of self-esteem!
Primm’s parents, played by Constance Wu and Scott McNairy, are shocked when they met Lyle, though he later wins them over by helping them relive youthful joys. However, the Primms’ evil neighbor, Mr. Grumps, tries everything possible to rid the house of Lyle. The Primms connect with Lyle’s owner, Hector P. Valenti, played by Javier Bardem, to prove to the world that family can come from the most unexpected places.
The soundtrack was written by executive producers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who contributed to “La La Land” and “The Greatest Showman.” The songs are very energetic and spice up several scenes. Featured are the voices of Mendes, Wu, Bardem, Fegley, and Elton John.
“Top Of The World” is the first song on the album. The lyrics are simple and sweet, with “on top of the world tonight, where no one has to hide” being the most touching lyric. The part where Lyle dances with Primm on a rooftop gave me Broadway vibes.
“Heartbeat” is a piano-driven track about how Primm’s heartbeat speeds up whenever he is around his crush. This song was initially released as a single, which made it the most popular of the album because it showed Mendes’ vocal strengths and drew in a new audience for the film.
The other songs aren’t as popular or successful as the two above, probably because they played as background music. I believe that this musical gets three out of five crabs!