Family and children’s albums are some of the most enjoyable records that anyone can listen to today. Believe it or not, they are just as enjoyable as any mainstream album because they are actually more creative than mainstream records. That was proven time and again throughout 2013. And now in 2014, that argument has already been proven true time and again with releases from the likes of Django Jones and The Little Rockers Band. Now, Dog On Fleas has come along to prove that more than ever with its latest full length studio album, Buy One Get One Flea. This album, the band’s eighth, has officially taken the top spot on this critic’s list of the year’s top Children & Family albums. That is because the band has taken the genre as a whole and turned it completely on its ear throughout the course of the record’s fourteen total tracks. From musical vocabulary lessons to a completely random piece about spending a lazy day in some pajamas to a playfully jazzy love song, this record runs the gamut. All the while it will have listeners of any age smiling and singing along without fail. In the end, listeners will agree with this critic that so far in 2014, Buy One Get One Flea is the best album in the Children & Family category.
Buy One Get One Flea right now sits atop this critic’s list of the year’s best new Children & Family albums because it has taken that genre and completely turned it on its ear. That’s because of the fact that it runs the gamut in terms of its combined music and lyrics. One prime example of how it runs the field is the bluesy musical vocabulary lesson that is ‘It’s a Ruse.’ The song teaches the meaning of the word “ruse.” The smoky, bluesy musical backing perfectly complements the song’s lyrics, which state, “It’s a ruse/It’s a ruse/It’s meant to confuse/It’s a ruse, yeah/You gotta read the fine print/You gotta read between the lines/You gotta trust as many people as you possibly can/Then you just might smell a rat sometimes/It’s a ruse/Yeah it’s a ruse/It’s meant to confuse/It’s a ruse/It’s a trick/It’s a scam/It’s too good to be true/Don’t snooze or you’ll lose/Somebody rusing you/It’s a ruse!” This is the kind of thing that would be a perfect fit for an episode of perhaps the PBS Kids’ series Word Girl. One could so easily see this song being performed in a scene of an episode with maybe The Butcher or The Learnerer. So if any of the writers behind Word Girl are out there reading this, take note. This critic wants credit if this ever happens.
‘It’s a Ruse’ is a great example of how this album runs the musical and lyrical gamut. Another wonderful example of what makes Buy One Get One Flea such a talker of an album comes in the form of ‘Pardon My Pajamas.’ This song is a great addition to this album because as with ‘It’s a Ruse’, this song is as random as they come. Yet it is still such a fun song thanks to its combination of music and lyrics. It is about exactly what the title states, a male figure that is just spending a lazy day at home, not even changing out of his pajamas. The song’s subject sings in the slow, almost Dixieland style piece, “Pardon my pajamas/I didn’t bother/To get myself dressed today/Pardon my pajamas/I’d really rather/Not have to blather on this way/In bed I’ll stay/The livelong day/And who could blame me really/Yeah, I’ve set my bet/So this is it/What you see is what you get.” This verse alone is one to which even the oldest listener could relate, especially on the weekend or on a weekday vacation from work. To an extent, older audiences could almost playfully call this song an anthem of sorts because of that verse. The subject goes on to defend himself, singing, “Pardon my pajamas/Don’t call me lazy/Don’t think that I’m blasé/Pardon my pajamas/It’s inspiration/I hope to find in bed today/I’ll read my book/Or maybe I’ll cook/Invent a little riddle/I’ll practice my drums/On my tummy-tum-tum/I’ll do a paradiddle/Yeah.” That laid back, easygoing vibe established through the song’s lyrics and music together could so easily put any listener at ease. And its overall originality makes it all the more enjoyable of an addition to the album as a whole.
‘It’s a Ruse’ and ‘Pardon My Pajamas’ are two of the most original songs that this critic has ever heard from any entertainer in the world of Children and Family music. This applies collectively in the music and lyrics of each song. There are so many songs throughout this album that could have just as easily been used as examples of what makes this record so fun. One of those examples comes in another song that older listeners will enjoy in the form of ‘I Must Be a Genius.’ This song is a wonderful, jazzy love song that is sure to have any couple dancing happily as the subject of the song sings, “I must be a genius/I’ll tell you why/I’ll tell you why/I must be a genius/Because I’m in love with you/I must be a genius/I’ll tell you why/I’ll tell you why/I must be a genius/Because you love me, too/Every time I look in your eyes/I’m reminded that I’m a genius/And every time I look in the mirror/I’m reminded you’re a genius, too.” Those simple, classic jazz style lyrics set along the equally classic big band style musical backing makes this one more wonderful addition to Buy One Get One Flea.
All three of the songs noted here are songs from Buy One Get One Flea that every listener should hear. There are still eleven other tracks on this record from which listeners may find to be their own favorites. Listeners can choose their own favorites when they order Buy One Get One Flea online via the official Dog On Fleas website at http://www.dogonfleas.com/?page=cds&category=01–Dog_on_Fleas_CDs&display=338. Parents and kids can find out much more about Dog On Fleas and keep up with the band’s tour schedule and more through the band’s official website, http://www.dogonfleas.com and its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/dogonfleas. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.