Family entertainer Sara Lovell is doing her part to try and make bedtime a little less stressful for parents and their children with her new album Night Life. The record is another successful offering from Lovell, who has spent a good part of her professional career crafting music for audiences of all ages. That is proven in part through the record’s diverse musical arrangements, which will be addressed shortly. The lyrical themes add their own share of interest to the record’s presentation and will be addressed a little later. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Night Life. All things considered, they make Night Life an album that is certain to have a long life in any family’s music library.
Night Life is another successful offering from Sara Lovell. It is a work that listeners of all ages will enjoy in part due to its musical arrangements. The arrangements featured throughout the album’s 44-minute run time take listeners in a variety of directions. The album’s opener and lead single ‘I Don’t Want To Go To Sleep’ boasts a certain pop rock vibe while its follow-up, which is also the album’s title track, takes audiences back to the 80s with its old school R&B approach. ‘Leave The Monkey’ gives listeners a touch of late 80s/early 90s hip-hop sensibility that couples with a light pop vibe. That’s just the first three songs in this album. ‘Rocket,’ the album’s fourth track, is a light, piano-driven piece that lends itself to comparisons to so many modern pop acts. ‘I Don’t Sleep in a Bed,’ which serves as the album’s midway point, gives listeners a bit of a folk touch. The use of the guitar, piano and harmonica collectively create a sound that lends itself to comparisons to works from Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. Yet again, here is an example of that continued diversity in the album’s musical arrangements. ‘Bed Oh Bed,’ which comes late in the record’s run, takes listeners into the worlds of bluegrass and Americana. ‘How The Jungle Sleeps’ presents a certain edgy and funky sound that is unlike anything in any of the album’s other works, once more presenting more variety for listeners. It is just one more way in which the record’s musical arrangements prove their importance to the record’s overall presentation. They never stick too long to just one style of music, nor do they just stick to just one style of music. They offer something for a wide range of audiences. To that end, it is clear that the musical arrangements that make up the body of Night Life are undeniably important to this album and form a solid foundation to its presentation. They are just one part of what makes this record a success. The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical arrangements play their own key part to the record’s presentation.
The lyrical themes that are featured throughout Night Life are all interconnected by the theme of sleep, but are all presented in unique fashions, adding even more interest to the album. The album’s opener is straight forward in its theme. It is delivered from the standpoint of a young child who does not want to go to bed. Every parent (including this parent) can relate to this song, as so many children are just like this child; overly energetic, defiant, etc. It’s ironic that Lovell counters this in the album’s finale with ‘Lullaby For Grownups.’ That song tells children “When the grownups are feeling all worn out/It’s time for quiet/It’s not the time to shout/They need a story that can take them far away/They need a melody/A close on their day/Just like you/They need sweet dreams/Just like you/They need a kiss/They need a hug/Just like you/They need to sleep/And just like you/They need to know that they are loved.” The irony here is in the arrangement, because it is this gentle, gliding melody. As upbeat as the album’s opener is, it would have seemed more natural to give this song more of a bouncy, comical approach than the schmaltzy heartstring puller that is used. That aside, the two songs still work together lyrically. ‘I Don’t Sleep in A Bed’ is another way in which the lyrical diversity of this record shines through. Lovell opens the song with a child singing about sleeping next to his/her dog instead of in bed because of the friendship between the two. As it progresses, Lovell clearly sings about a child’s happy dreams, of “flying above the clouds.” There is even a line that celebrates “sleeping in a tent” in a child’s backyard. On a completely different and lighter note, Lovell takes audiences into the jungle (or the zoo) in ‘Leave The Monkey.’ The song examines wildlife life at night. She sings about “arguing pelicans” and trumpeting elephants” at one point, even singing lightly about “the party being too loud.” It’s such a fun moment for this album and just one more in which the album’s central lyrical theme but unique approach to that theme works so well from beginning to end. Together with the record’s musical arrangements, the overall content presented in this record leaves no doubt as to why it is such a successful work. As much as they do to make the album so entertaining and engaging, they are not the record’s only key points. Its sequencing puts the finishing touch to its presentation.
Audiences will note that, as already noted, Night Life opens on an upbeat note in ‘I Don’t Want To Go To Bed.’ The energy in that composition changes direction, but still stays stable in the record’s title song. The same can be said of ‘Leave The Monkey.’ The record’s energy becomes reserved as the record progresses into ‘Rocket.’ It pulls back even more as the album enters ‘Sleepwalkers.’ That gradual decline in the album’s energy through its first half reaches its trough in that song, giving way to something more upbeat and light in ‘Scooter and Skeeter,’ which serves as part of the record’s midway point. No, this critic does not know if that title is a reference to the characters from the beloved Saturday morning cartoon series Muppet Babies. That more upbeat sense only lasts but so long, though, immediately after giving way to the much more reserved sound and sense of ‘I Don’t Sleep in a Bed.’ That reserved nature carries through into ‘Little Bug’ and actually becomes slightly more reserved as a matter of fact. Things gradually pick up slightly from there in ‘Bed Oh Bed,’ ‘Wear Yourself Out,’ and ‘Rock-a-bye My Baby.’ ‘How The Jungle Sleeps’ slightly reduces the record’s energy before giving way fully in the album’s closer, ‘Lullaby for Grownups.’ Looking back through the course of the 13-song record, it becomes clear that the subtleties in the rise and fall of the album’s energies in its compositions is actually quite powerful. It does just enough to keep listeners engaged and entertained in its own right. That, together with the record’s musical arrangements and lyrical themes, makes the album in whole without doubt, another positive effort from Sara Lovell.
Sara Lovell’s latest album Night Life is another impressive offering from the veteran family entertainer. That is proven in part through its musical arrangements, which are diverse. That diversity ensures listeners’ maintained engagement and entertainment throughout the course of the album. The record’s lyrical theme of night and sleep is conveyed in 13 different unique fashions throughout the course of its 44-minute run time. That adds even more interest to the album’s presentation. The album’s sequencing does its own important part to the whole of its presentation, too, keeping the energies in each song stable from the album’s opener to its end. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Night Life. All things considered, they make Night Life that will definitely have long life (yes, that awful pun was intended) in any family’s music library. It is available now. More information on the album is available online along with all of Lovell’s latest news at:
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