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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
T-SQUAD is one of those CDs that seems to underestimate the taste and intelligence of kids. It's disheartening when care isn't given to the quality of music for kids, particularly since the members of T-Squad -- four heavily hyped Disney-ized tweens -- can probably dance and sing with the best of 'em. (Talent has never been a problem with Disney child artists, harking back to the days of the original Mouseketeers.) But these four are not given the platform to show off their talent. For example, "Parents Just Don't Understand," was a charming teen lament in its original form. Just edgy and honest enough and performed with a wink and a smile, the Will Smith original deserves its status as a witty classic. But T-Squad's cover version plods along with no personality, no irony, no sense of loving fun.
Is it any good?
It would be wonderful to see what these undoubtedly talented kids could do under the direction of producers who actually respect them as artists. Then their fans could actually appreciate music that's free of tedium and condescension. But despite talent, off-the-chart scores on the cute-o-meter, and actual performance experience, T-Squad is simply not allowed to shine on their debut CD.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about music that condescends to kids. Just because you're young, why do certain producers think that you won't care about or respond to high production standards or imaginative musical arrangements? What is it about Will Smith's original version of "Parents Just Don't Understand" (to take one example) that makes it so much funnier and more genuine than T-Squad's version?