Family music entertainer Mike Phirman is kicking off the weekend by releasing his new EP, Activity Books. The 17-minute presentation is a unique addition to this year’s field of new family music records. That is due in part to the musical arrangements that are featured within the EP. They will be discussed shortly. The lyrical content that is featured along with the songs’ musical arrangements add their own appeal to the record and will be discussed a little later. The fashion in which the songs are presented here rounds out the EP’s most important elements. When it is considered along with the songs’ overall content, the whole makes Activity Books its own interesting musical presentation that every listener will find engaging and entertaining.
Mike Phirman’s new EP, Activity Books is a presentation from which listeners of all ages will find something to appreciate, not the least of which is its musical arrangements. The arrangements in question vary from one to the next, but still present a positive, upbeat energy throughout. The EP’s opener, lead single, ‘Connect The Dots/Luggage Dog’ for instance, opens with an a capella approach and style that conjures thoughts of Sesame Street’s timeless animated pinball “sketch.” The manner in which the perfomers sing-count is so similar to that of the noted feature. Meanwhile, ‘Luggage Dog’ conjures thoughts of the light musical numbers from PBS Kids ‘Steve Songs.’ That the whole barely tops the 90-second mark ensures even young listeners’ engagement even more. ‘Color By Number/Bobbing and Weaving’ changes things up again with its dual African percussion style approach to ‘Color By Number’ and the massively different EDM style approach to ‘Bobbing and Weaving.’ The stylistic approaches continue their constant change from there, with elements of kindie-pop and even some funk showing up at other points. There is even a catchy drum cadence in ‘Maze’ that will appeal to so many listeners. All things considered here, the musical content featured in this EP makes for plenty of enjoyment. For all that the diverse range of musical styles does for the album’s appeal, it is just a portion of what audiences will appreciate. The lyrical themes that accompany the EP’s musical arrangements add their own share of enjoyment and engagement to the record.
The lyrical content featured in Activity Books is important to note because it is diverse in its own right. What’s more, the items that the songs touch on will all connect with young listeners. From the simple joy of doing a word search in the aptly titled ‘Word Search’ to doing a connect-the-dots activity, to the equally enjoyable color by numbers activity, listeners of all ages will enjoy every work here. Older listeners meanwhile will be taken back to their own childhoods as they take in each song’s theme. There is even a song here that celebrates the joy of solving mazes in activity books, and finding things wrong with a given picture. For those who don’t know, such activities still exist in the family favorite magazine, Highlights. Getting back on the subject at hand, the lyrical celebration of the happiness that doing those activities brings pairs with the enjoyment generated by the record’s relatively diverse musical arrangements to make the record even more enjoyable. Even with all of this in mind, that collective is just part of what makes Activity Books successful. The manner in which the record’s content is presented rounds out its most important elements.
The manner in which the record’s content is presented is important because it actually shows that there is more content than marketed. Overall, the EP lists a total of five tracks. However, four of the EP’s five featured songs is composed of two parts. So in reality, listeners get a total of nine songs, not just five. Given, the longest of the EP’s songs – its closer — runs approximately four minutes, 24 seconds, but even if the songs were split, the EP’s total run time would still be the same. In short, the presentation of Activity Books makes it look brief. However, the presentation is misleading, but in a good way. Audiences get here essentially nine songs, not five. What’s more, those nine total songs run a total of 17 minutes. The songs also present a relatively wide range of musical styles and lyrical themes. So all in all, what audiences get here is a record that despite being brief, still is its own big presentation.
Mike Phirman’s new family music record, Activity Books, is a work that listeners of all ages will enjoy. That is due in part to the record’s featured arrangements. The arrangements present a relatively wide range of styles. That is nothing new within the family music realm, but is always welcome. The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical arrangements are diverse in their own right. Their collective body celebrates the simple joys of going through things like dot-to-dots, mazes, and word searches. Adults will love this because of the nostalgia that it will instill in them, while children will enjoy the themes because even today, those activities are still enjoyed by children of all ages. When these accessible themes are considered along with the short-but-fun musical arrangements, the record gains even more traction. The actual makeup of the songs reminds audiences that they are actually getting more than is presented, putting the final touch to the record’s presentation. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the record’s presentation. All things considered, they make Activity Books a work that while small, packs big appeal. The record is available now.
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