Music Review: Very Helpful Songs

What do you think about when you listen to this music video?

I thought, “I’m sure going to miss when my kids outgrow children’s music.”

That’s Home, by David Tobocman. He doesn’t know it yet, but he just launched a long and prestigious career writing and performing children’s music.

Up until now it appears he’s been wasting his life composing music for films, and before that, TV shows, and before that, producing records. Having an 18-month and almost 4-year-old daughter has torqued his brain just so.

Photo of the CD cover for I Count to Ten and Other Very Helpful Songs.
His first CD, “I Count to Ten” and Other Very Helpful Songs, is worth a serious look. Many of its songs are about functional toddler issues, from brushing your teeth to keeping your pajamas on at night.

Buttons and Bows is the most amusing. It’s a song about the importance of keeping your clothes on in public, sung straight-faced:

“It’s real important to keep your clothes on
’cause folks freak out and get all nervous.
People are weird; that’s how it goes.
Oh, those buttons and bows.”

My first impression of Tobocman is that he’s a young Randy Newman, except more uplifting. The CD’s not perfect mind you; I’d enjoy more range of emotion in his voice. He has pensive nailed. I look forward to seeing what he does next.

My wife’s take on him is a bit different, and I may have to get her in here writing music reviews. She likened a few of the songs, such as Brush your Teeth (co-written with his nearly, really almost quite there 4-year-old daughter), to Schoolhouse Rock jingles. That’s high praise in my book. I remember anxiously awaiting commercial breaks in hopes ABC would play another song. Schoolhouse Rock was so much better than the half-hour Saturday morning cartoons.

My wife perfectly described Tobocman when she asked and answered this question:

“You know who would sing these songs? Kermit the Frog.”

And by that she means, Rainbow Connection and It’s Not Easy Being Green, not that noise Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem put out.

So, in light of this new evidence, I’ll revise my earlier statement. He’s not Randy Newman. He’s a Muppet, but with a smooth non-goofy voice. And, he brings robust lyrics and compositions to the table worthy of The Muppets. (Ever notice that? Jim Henson didn’t skimp just because he was flapping felt around on his hands.)

Really David, we mean this as a compliment.

[The CD was provided to Thingamababy for review. If you've noticed that I only write positive reviews, it's because I don't / won't / couldn't bear to share with you the pile of broken dreams sitting on my desk.]


6 Responses to “Music Review: Very Helpful Songs”

  1. Ben's Mummy says:

    Buckets, BUCKETS of tears! Happy and sad and comforted all at once. I’m 37, my beloved dad passed away in October, my elderly mother is not well, and I am sitting here at work aching for my childhood home, now sold, and for the magical years when i snuggled in bed and was comforted that mom & dad were just downstairs and all was well with the world.
    I am purchasing this CD for my beautiful 4 year old son, who I hope builds the same happy memories of us at home as I have of my parents and childhood.

    April 30th, 2008 at 7:43 am

  2. PsychMamma says:

    Thanks for another great review, AJ! I already downloaded 4 songs from iTunes and we’re enjoying them as I type! What a great album!

    April 30th, 2008 at 9:53 am

  3. RobMonroe says:

    Good week of new music for me and my kid so far! Wait, it’s only Wednesday!

    (Thanks AJ!)

    April 30th, 2008 at 11:07 am

  4. Cindi says:

    Wow! A rather powerful children’s songs! I like the illustrations on the on the video. The one with the house on a truck because wherever you travel, you are never very far from your home! I actually thought that it was “Paul Simon” singing. I can also so your and your wife’s takes on the song.
    Thanks for sharing, Cindi

    April 30th, 2008 at 12:30 pm

  5. Sarah says:

    I am sitting here with my little girl who is turning 1 in a few days and this song just makes me want to hold onto her in my arms for as long as she will let me!

    May 6th, 2008 at 12:04 pm

  6. Stephanie says:

    That was a great Mother’s Day gift! Thanks!

    May 9th, 2008 at 5:54 pm