Singer-songwriter Greg Lato released his debut family music album this week. The album, Create My Own World, is a presentation that will appeal to grown-up audiences just as much as it will to younger listeners. That is due in part to the record’s collective musical arrangements, which will be addressed shortly. The album’s lyrical themes will appeal just as much to both noted audience groups as the record’s musical content. The record’s sequencing puts the finishing touch to its presentation and will also be addressed later. Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of Create My Own World. All things considered, they make this record a solid family music debut for Lato.
Greg Lato’s debut family music album Create My Own World is a positive first outing for Lato within the family music world. That is proven in part through the album’s collective musical arrangements. The arrangements in question take listeners as far back as the 1970s and as recent as the 2000s. The steady 2/4 dance beat of the album’s opener ‘Sprinkles’ presents a stylistic approach that will take listeners back to the days of early 90s club music. Most notably, one could make a comparison between this song and Eiffel 65’s hit song ‘Blue’ and Scatman John’s ‘Scatman.’ It has that old school dance vibe. By direct contrast, the arrangement at the center of ‘I Can’t Find My Sock!’ features an influence from 1970s era Badfinger, Todd Rundgren and Elton John. The reggae arrangement at the center of ‘Try’ is easily comparable to Jason Mraz’s hit song ‘I’m Yours’ on the more modern end. Once again here, the album’s musical content shows its wide range of influences. It certainly isn’t the last example of that range, too. The arrangement at the center of the album’s title track, which itself serves as the album’s midpoint, will take listeners back to the 1980s, what with its keyboard line and vocal delivery style. This is again, something that older listeners will appreciate. The semi-acoustic arrangement of ‘Two Slow Snails’ boasts elements of the 90s and even 2000s. The same can be said of the album’s finale, ‘What Daddies Do (I Will Be With You).’ That song, by the way, is a work that will bring even the strongest tough guy to smiles and tears. All things considered, the arrangements noted here and those not directly addressed combine to make the album’s musical content a strong starting point for this album’s presentation. It is just one of the elements that make the album a success. The record’s lyrical content adds to that appeal.
Staying on the matter of ‘What Daddies Do (I Will Be With You),’ the lyrical content at the center of this song is explained by that title. The song tells about what not just father’s do, but daddies. As Lato explains in the song’s opening line, “any man can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy.” Lato further writes in the song, against the gentle beat of the guitar and cajon drum, “I’ll be ther to dry your crying eyes/Whenever you’re feeling blue/Whenever you’re concerned/I’ll make the time/I can help you through/I will be with you/I will dream with you/Always talk about the old school/Yeah, that’s what daddies do.” He adds that he will be there for his child(ren) even when they are older and “even when you are far from home/I will be with you/I’ll inspire you.” It is a truly moving lyrical work that when coupled with its musical accompaniment, makes for such a deeply engaging and moving work.
‘Hi Gene’ is another key example of the importance of the lyrical content featured in Make My Own World. Lato uses a story about a boy and his imaginary friend “Gene” in order to touch on the bigger picture of proper hygiene. He goes so far as to sing in the song’s chorus, “Hi, Gene/How you been/No one else can make me feel clean again/Hi, Gene/You’re my friend/I’m gonna change my clothes/Wash my face and hands.” The statement here is pretty obvious, yet grown-ups are the only ones who will catch this. He even makes notes of trimming his nails, not wanting to smell like an elephant and cleaning between his toes. This is a great way for grown-ups to approach the topic of proper hygiene with kids. The children will enjoy the song while being influenced to take good care of themselves without even knowing it. Lato is to be commended for taking this approach.
‘Hi Gene’ and ‘What Daddies Do (I Will Be With You)’ are just two key examples of what makes Greg Lato’s new family music album worth hearing. They are not the album’s only key entries. ‘Two Slow Snails’ is another important lyrical presentation in its own right. That is because it presents a message of doing the best that we can. This is a message that adults need to hear just as much as children. He uses the stories of two snails, two frogs and two monkeys here. In each case, one of each pair believed in itself while the other was not so self-confident. In each case, Lato asked who listeners thought would do better in each pair. Adults need this reassurance to reach for their goals at times just as much as children. To that end, this message and the song’s musical arrangement together, make the song impacting in its own right. Together with the other noted themes and those not noted, it becomes increasingly clear why the lyrical content displayed in this record is just as important to the album’s presentation as its musical content.
The overall content featured in Create My Own World goes a long way toward making the album appealing for listeners of all ages. That has hopefully been proven here. While they collectively do plenty to make the album appealing, they are only a portion of what makes the album work. Its sequencing adds its own touch to its engagement and entertainment. Listeners will note that the album opens on an upbeat note in ‘Sprinkles,’ but closes on a decidedly more slower note in the much more reserved ‘What Daddies Do (I Will Be With You0.’ In between the album’s energies stay relatively stable throughout, with only two slower moments in between in the form of the relaxes reggae work ‘Try’ and the introspective ‘Two Slow Snails (ft. Bill Harley).’ Other than those two moments, which serve to break up the album with their well-thought out placement, the album’s energy stas relatively stable throughout. Because of that placement, the album ensures even more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment. When this is considered along with the album’s overall content, the whole of the album proves to be a work that every family will welcome.
Greg Lato’s debut family music album Create My Own World is a strong start for the veteran singer-songwriter in the family music realm. It is a work that will appeal just as much to adults as it will to children. That is proven in part through the album’s collective musical content, which takes listeners back to the 1970s and up to the 2000s. The album’s lyrical content will connect with grown-ups and children alike, too. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. All three elements are important in their own way to the whole of this record. All things considered, they make Create My Own World a positive new offering to the family music world.
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