A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that even the smallest kids will enjoy this mix of original folk, pop, and rock songs, although the content is geared toward the early grammar school years.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Stylistically, WAY OUT nods to the Beatles, James Taylor, Van Morrison, and Green Day. Lyrically, it captures slices of the school-age child's life -- picture day, day camp, best friend, lost tooth, doctor's visit, backyard spaceship, suppertime, little brothers, and a dash of nonsense.
Is it any good?
Justin Roberts' 12 original songs dwell on daily joys and concerns of childhood, but never dip into a dark place. A trip to the doctor for a shot in the punk-inspired "Doctor Doctor" is as scary as it gets, and it ends with ice cream. In the high-energy "Day Camp," a scaled-down acoustic rock rendition with drums, bass synthesizer, and guitar, it's "summertime, get out that orange life jacket and that badminton racket." The traveling folk tune "Roller in the Coaster," including banjo and zither, announces up front: "Here's a happy song, you can sing along."
Some songs are well structured and lyrically focused. The rocker "Picture Day" laments "daddy ... why you gotta comb my hair so flat ... the photographer says he'll give me a souvenir comb, but I just want to go home." Other songs could use some shaping. "Humpty's At It Again," for instance, is as confused as the king's men. Each family member may have a favorite, but a couple of tunes may command a fast forward as well.