Music Review: Rhythm in My Shoes

Rhythm in My Shoes is filled with kid-friendly subjects set to the beautifully warm expressive voice of Jessica Harper. Her songs fall somewhere between gospel and soft jazz harmonies. I don’t listen to gospel or soft jazz, but this music really grew on me.

CD cover of Jessica Harper's Rhythm In My Shoes, depicting a smiling girl sitting on a cartoon brick wallThe CD features songs about both boy and girl characters, but my gut feeling is that this music works better for girls. That, or if you have a boy, consider burning a copy of the CD minus the "Girlquake" track.

Girlquake is a nifty ditty about little Katie who runs around shaking things up. In other words, it’s a fun look at toddler terrorism. The song’s beat is so strong it gets Little Miss doing her best Fonzie impression – clenched fists with thumbs pointing upward as she swings her little arms around trying her best to live the song.

"When Katie comes, ya better hide the China.
Better warn the mailman and the lady next door.
Half your size, but twice your magnitude.
A cute calamity, a seismic size for a girlquake."

I Like Where I Am is a cute story about a six-year-old boy who doesn’t want to be moving to a new town. He documents all the reasons why he wants to stay in his home and how the moving men are taking everything away, but by the end of the song he realizes he likes his new home, too. The only thing that doesn’t quite gel is that the lyrics are in the first-person and Harper isn’t exactly a six-year-old boy. The song might work better as a book, and maybe she thought so too, because "I Like Where I Am" is now a book.

"’Everything goes’ they say with glee,
With a ‘ho, ho, ho’ and a ‘hee, hee, hee.’
And I know I’ve got trouble,
Cause I like my room and I like my school,
And we live really close to a swimming pool.
My best friend lives around the block.
Why move to a place called Little Rock?"

While I have favorite tracks on this CD, every song is consistently good.

This CD exemplifies the type of children’s music that appeals to me. The tunes and lyrics are enjoyable for Mom and Dad, while Little Miss rocks out to the rhythm and occasionally understands some of the words we sing back to her, such as "And your Momma loves you, and your Pappa loves you," from the "Love in Your Pocket" song. Unlike some of the brainless repetitive toddler tunes that many parents decry, musicians like Harper produce music that works for the very young, and, I’m guessing, for older kids up to their pre-teen years.

The curious thing is that Jessica Harper is also an actress, performing in everything from Stardust Memories to Minority Report.

Rhythm in My Shoes at Amazon and individual tracks at MSN.

Jessica Harper’s official web site.

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