The great Roger Day, one of my favorite children's music artists (click here for my previous feature on him), has released his third CD, called Dream Big!, and it adds several more Roger Day classics to the kids' music catalog.
Roger has a way of making memorable, easy to follow and also very musically fulfilling songs, and the first several tracks on Dream Big! are terrific examples of that, including the poppy title track with its enthusiastic exhortation for kids to sing loud, jump high and dream big; "Rumble in the Jungle (The Elefunk Song)"; the mid-career Beatles with string quartet sound of "Zachary Hated Bumblebees"; the laid-back charm of "I Like Yaks"; "Roly Poly", with a Buddy Holly/Bo Diddley riff that appropriately employs The Crickets as the backup band and has a hilarious line about not knowing "Bo Diddley squat"; and "Uno, Dos, Tres", with a catchy and beautiful Spanish melody.
The album is only hit-and-miss for me after that point. I give Roger mucho bravery points for his rapping on "Turn Off the TV" (my wife and I have instituted a strict "no middle-aged white guy rapping" policy for my albums). I'm not sure how well the song will work, but if you're trying to get your kids to watch less TV, I suppose it can't hurt. "Hello Sunshine" is nice in a Turtles meets The Osmonds kind of way, but also sort of innocuous (in a Turtles meets The Osmonds kind of way). "Zoe's World" would have made a perfect 80's sitcom theme. "Happy Hippos Hopping" and "The Greatest Day on Earth Day" sound very similar to each other, and remind me a bit of Ralph's World's more cutesy folk-pop songs. "Life is a Miracle" is a very engaging reggae anthem, and "I Love You (More than My Shoe)" is a fun old-style tune reminiscent of "The Goodbye Song" from Roger's last album, Ready to Fly.
The later songs that didn't grab me as much are still decent and well-produced by any other standard, so to say that they aren't as good as the earlier tracks or as some of Roger's other hits like "Mosquito Burrito" and "Open Up the Coconut" is not to say that they're not good. It's just that the bar has been set very high. Altogether, it's a really fun album, and it's great to hear some new music from Roger, especially considering that Ready to Fly was released waaaaaay back in 2001.