Monday, April 7th, 2008
Music Review: Pop Fly by Justin Roberts
When I played the title track for my family the first time…
I leaned over and whispered to my wife… “Blink 182.”
“That’s it,” she answered as if a compact fluorescent bulb had turned on inside her head.
Okay, I’m fibbing a little. When I put the CD in our player for the first time, I paused it — at my 3-year-old daughter’s request– and we waited for my wife to finish whatever she was doing so she could join us. And then, I hit play and we danced in our living room.
The Blink 182 comment is real, but came about on our second listen-though.
Roberts produces high energy all-ages guitar pop (with some nice diversity in supporting instruments) that is perfect for creating an impromptu toddler mosh pit in your living room. And I don’t mean a punk mosh pit. Parents know… toddler dancing consists of just three moves: jumping, twirling and flailing about as if overpowered by muscle spasms.
Pop Fly’s reminding me of Blink 182 is probably why Roberts is one of my favorite children’s artists. That is to say, he produces tunes that very well could be set to different lyrics and performed by any number of artists seen on MTV. I find myself listening to Roberts even when my daughter isn’t home. His voice is so warm, friendly and fun. Uh oh. Man crush?
The intended age range is 3 to 8 years. Only three songs on the CD are squarely aimed at school-age topics — Pop Fly (playing baseball), Field Trip and She’s a Yellow Reflector (a sister who is a crossing guard). The rest of the CD is ageless.
Some folks may especially appreciate the Stay-at-Home Dad song, about a dad taking his kids to the playground. While I bristled at the opening lyrics suggesting moms give him weird looks (Aren’t we past that? Moms smile!), I liked the sneaker reference to a 1970s Enjoli 8-hour perfume commercial:
“Now he can bring home the bacon.
He fries it up in a pan.
At dinnertime when my mom gets home,
She’s like his biggest fan.”
Meanwhile, Henrietta’s Hair is the song that is most fun to sing. It’s about a girl with the world’s longest hair, and she never combs or even touches it. First a wandering ladybug decides to bed down in her hair, and soon all sorts of creatures are sleeping in her head.
The first of an evolving chorus:
“It’s ‘enter if you dare’ into Henrietta’s hair,
though it’s mangled in a mess, I like to think it’s blessed.
And there’s room enough to share up in Henrietta’s hair.
Whatever else on Earth could it be there for?”
[This CD was provided to Thingamababy for review. I feel so guilty now with his second CD. I'm ordering several of his earlier works today to atone.]