Review: Music for a Green Planet

Photo of the cover of the CD Music for a Green Planet.

Music for a Green Planet is an interesting construction. At first, I wrote it off as an enigma.

Hayes Greenfield gathered a bunch of Jazz gurus and talented singers to remake age-old nursery rhymes and children’s songs (This Old Man, A Tisket A Tasket, Hush Little Baby) into “jazz-infused green tunes.”

I was skeptical, with some lyrics that struck me as more humorous than serious, such as the new version of She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain:

We’ll be cruising in our hybrids when she comes
We’ll be getting better mileage when she comes
We’ll be a part of the solution
Cause we’re making less pollution
We’ll be cruising in our hybrids when she comes

Whether humor was the point or they were dead serious (or both), there’s no knocking the integrity of the message. Other lyrics are more sublime, such as the new version of Do You Know the Muffin Man:

Do you know the things we can
The things we can
The things we can
Do you know the things we can
Do to save the earth

If these songs had been composed by anyone other than Hayes Greenfield I would be gagging. You have to hear these new constructions. The CD has the feel of a lounge or dinner theatre, as if Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin are belting out these ballads and you almost forget that they’re conveying an educational message (though some songs have a children’s chorus).

Music for a Green Planet has potential for early childhood schoolrooms (not yet sullied by pop music), and also among kids familiar with these nursery rhymes.

The real value (and I’m not joking) is in dinner music. I grew up in a home where TV news was usually on during dinner. In my home today, we talk and sometimes play background music. I can’t exactly play Mack the Knife for my kids over dinner, can I?

I can think of no better music than Green Planet to set the mood and spur discussion as my kids grow older and we dine on our cage-free locally raised organic chicken and vegetables seasoned with herbs from our backyard garden.

Okay, I wish we ate that well every day, but you get my point. It’s nice to have good music with lyrics that spark dinner conversation. Why just yesterday over Sunday breakfast my wife was explaining the subprime mortgage scandal to our Little Miss because she wanted to know what stories were in the newspaper.

Sadly, I’m not joking. You realize how screwed up the world is when you explain it in terms a 3-year-old can understand. In that respect, Green Planet is refreshing because it focuses on positive aspects of challenges facing the world.

Preview tracks and buy the CD for $15 or grab individual songs as MP3s for $1 a piece.


2 Responses to “Review: Music for a Green Planet”

  1. Erica says:

    This Prius-driving mama probably wouldn’t pop that in her iPod to listen to on a regular basis, but I agree that it would be nice for background music/conversation starters with the kids. Thanks for the review!

    April 21st, 2008 at 8:17 am

  2. Cindi says:

    Hello! We don’t necessarily have music in the background during dinner, but I make sure the tv is off! I even make them turn off baseball games! Oh the horror…..This CD sounds very good and enlightening. You are full of ideas and I appreciate that. Thanks,Cindi

    April 21st, 2008 at 11:00 am