The world of children’s albums is one of the greatest worlds in which any critic can immerse himself or herself. This has been noted before by this critic. It might leave some raising their eyebrows, especially coming from a male critic. But please keep an open mind and give this critic a chance and hopefully by the time this review is complete, this argument will make more sense. Jumping into the world of children’s music is such an enjoyable experience by and large because of the originality that overflows from that world. Unlike the world of “grown-up music”, there seems to be so much creativity and originality in the world of children’s music both musically and lyrically. One of the greatest examples of this lies in the new upcoming release from New York’s own Dirty Sock Funtime Band.
The Dirty Sock Funtime Band sounds like the name of some bizarre musical group created for a random anime flick. But it is in fact a real band. It has already released three full length studio albums. One thing that has stayed constant throughout the band’s previous releases is that it has switched up its sound on each one. It’s contradictory to say so, but this record is no different. The band has switched up its sound yet again. And this time, it has switched up its sound like never before. The band mixes all of the elements that defined its previous albums and tossed them together for an outstanding eighteen track album in The Dirty Socks COME CLEAN. It proves to be an album to displays The Dirty Sock Funtime Band (It will heretofore be known as TDSFT for the sake of space) at its finest both musically and lyrically. And as enjoyable as the album is musically and lyrically, the music and lyrics of the album are just part of the whole that makes taking in this album enjoyable. The album’s packaging also plays a role in the album’s success. And it also will be discussed. These aspects together make The Dirty Socks COME CLEAN, as already noted, even more proof of what makes children’s albums just as fun to review as those for grown-ups. As a matter of fact, it’s even more proof that children’s albums are just as fun for adults to take in as are albums for grown-ups.
The Dirty Socks COME CLEAN is one more album released this year that proves the importance and value of children’s albums. The primary reason for this is the creativity and originality that flows so freely from the band’s album. The band has taken all of the elements of its previous albums and thrown them into this one work for an album that is sure to have listeners dancing, laughing, and singing along nonstop. Listeners will love the mix of bluegrass, tropical, pop and even family friendly light rock sounds that make up the album’s sequencing. Just as enjoyable is the mix of lyrical subject matter. There is a song celebrating National Hiccup Day (apparently there really is a National Hiccup Day), another that will have both kids and grown-ups dancing, and even a fun ode to a furry feline friend that could be said to be an argument for adopting shelter pets. There are so many other family friendly songs that make up this album’s sequencing. These are just a few examples. So we’ll start with ‘National Hiccup Day.’
Believe it or not, National Hiccup Day is in fact a real day. Who knew? Allegedly, it falls every year on March 16th. And now thanks to TDSFT, this little known day might just get more recognition thanks to a song that seems to celebrate the day. It’s a completely nonsensical song (just as nonsensical as the very thought of a National Hiccup Day). But that’s what makes it so great. It’s just great nonsensical fun. And it’s original. Take a moment and think. What other band out there has ever written or would ever think about writing a song celebrating such a ludicrous day? Bingo. The band deserves credit for taking that road far less travelled in this case and doing something completely original. Yet again, here we have just one example of how TDSFB the larger children’s music genre that makes that world so important and valuable.
The completely nonsensical ‘National Hiccup Day’ is a fun song for the entire family. It’s one of those songs that doesn’t require any thought. It’s just a fun, turn-off-your-brain song. Just as fun on the other end of the spectrum is ‘Danceology.’ This is one of those aforementioned songs that will have adults and kids alike singing along with the band as its members sing, “Let’s dance around/Get your feet up off the ground/What I love/It gets me now/Us and them and you and me/We’re students of danceology.” The up-tempo music is an excellent companion to the song’s celebratory lyrics. On the surface, it’s a fun song in general. On a deeper level, one could even argue that it could serve as a way to get young listeners moving, considering that America continues to fight the battle against obesity each year. It would make for an excellent tool for exercise classes for young listeners, too. Keeping this in mind, The Dirty Socks COME CLEAN proves once more what makes this just as important and enjoyable as any grown-up album.
So far, listeners should be able to tell just how important this album (and children’s albums in general) is to the world of mainstream music. There is at least one more enjoyable example from the album that listeners will enjoy. That example is the ode to our furry, four-legged friends, ‘Lenny The Cat.’ The reggae tinged song is about a cat named Lenny who is adopted more than likely from a shelter after he had been put up for adoption by his previous owner. Front man Mike Messer sings happily of the cat, “Lenny, I love you/You’re the best friend of mine/Just like a valentine/February’s when you came here to stay/Though I feel bad/That she’s probably sad/I’m so glad that/Your last owner gave you away/Now you’re mine.” It may be an ode to a cat on the surface. But on a deeper level, it’s a tribute to a friend. The song’s semi-reggae vibe conjures thoughts of Jason Mraz. On an even deeper level, it could be argued that in its own way, this song serves as a pro-adoption song. And there’s nothing wrong with that, either. After all, pets aren’t just pets. They are family. And in knowing and appreciating this, audiences will find this song to be one more of the album’s shining gems.
The music written and collected for The Dirty Socks COME CLEAN works collectively to make this album one more excellent example of what makes children’s albums just as viable as “grown-up” releases. If the music isn’t enough of an example, then the album’s gatefold packaging will seal the deal. The album’s inner artwork maintains the theme established on the outer packaging. Each song is outlined inside the packaging as if it was a newspaper article. Many audiences don’t put a lot of credit into an album’s artwork. But this little additional touch is the proverbial spice that makes this musical delicacy even more enjoyable. Together with the songs, it makes The Dirty Socks COME CLEAN one more contender for the title of one of 2013’s best new children’s albums. It will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, October 29th. More information on the band and its upcoming album is available online at http://www.dirtysockfuntimeband.com, http://www.facebook.com/thedirtysocks, and http://twitter.com/thedirtysocks.
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