A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
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What's the story?
In her third album, VICTOR VITO, Laurie Berkner churns out more quickly-penned songs and retakes on traditional ones. She is an eager and sincere entertainer, noting how \"the songs flowed out...from the child in me to the children in you.\" Children can improvise being jumping mangos and papayas when hearing \"Fruit Salad Salsa.\" They can be a frog or owl whose mommy and daddy love them in \"Goodnight,\" a happy tune that could become as essential to the bedtime routine as brushing teeth.
Is it any good?
It's easy to see how in live performance the songs benefit from audience participation and improvisation. However, as songs to be listened to or sung over and over again, most in this 58-minute CD fall short lyrically and musically. Berkner fares best in songs where she's faithful to a musical style and builds a lyrical structure.
Overall, the songs sound similar. For variation, Berkner often merely speeds up tempo. The lyrics lack invention, and the stories describe rather than engage. "The Toy Museum" promises "We're going to play with the toys," but by closing time nothing has happened. "The Story of My Feelings" talks about feeling sad, happy, and angry, but doesn't reveal any truths for a young child. The title track, "Victor Vito," was inspired by her accountant. In her liner notes, Berkner says, "Why this song? I don't know." The listener isn't sure either. Overall this album is okay but not inspired.
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