I remember being pretty excited about this album because it was Ralph’s newest album after Clark was born. And it was fun to have a “new” children’s album (they were of course all new to us since we hadn’t bought any children’s music before but the fact that Ralph was still putting new stuff out was good news).
And so it will always be cool (and has a couple of my favorite Ralph songs). And yet, overall it’s not quite as exciting as some of the other ones.
“Dance Around” is a fun upbeat song that should get everyone moving as each verse gets progressively more energetic. This would certainly be a favorite. “Hideaway” sounds like any jangly pop song on the radio—even lyrically it’s not really geared to kids exclusively. This could have had crossover appeal. “Red Banana” is a fun song full of absurdities—catchy and wonderful. “Guitarzan” is a song I never much liked, although this version is a bit more fun than the original. Nevertheless, it’s so much longer than the better songs, that I get tired of it pretty quickly! “Me & My Invisible Friend” is sweet song about having an invisible friend, but I find that I clearly like the more upbeat songs like “Old Red #7” a cool song about making and racing a car.
“River Flow” is a fun travel song, but “Liesl Echo” is our favorite Ralph’s World song of all time! We even named our cat Liesl Echo. in honor of the song. Ahhh. “Monster” is a wonderfully funny song about a “scary” puppy. It’s on a song like that this Ralph’s details shine. “Tim the Boy” is actually about a series of kids who are contrary and refuse to change their minds. The end shows how being so stubborn never works out quite as they wanted. “I Don’t Wanna” is a great punk song (gentle punk of course, but in the spirit of The Ramones). It’s all about saying you don’t want things because you have to do some work to get them (I don’t want dessert, I don’t want to watch TV). It’s very fun to sing along to.
“Tower of Blocks” is about the man on the moon, but it pales in comparison to “Yum! Yuk!” which is just fun to sing a long to and gets very silly by the end. “Swingset” ends the album in a rather generic way—which reminds me more of the kind of music that Ralph’s adult band plays. So the highs on this disc are pretty great, but there’s a bunch of songs that don’t really grab me. This was actually Ralph’s last disc on beloved indie label Minty Fresh before he made the jump to Disney.
[READ: July 21, 2013] The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man
Since I’m a fan of Michael Chabon, I’m including this children’s book since we read it this past week.
I’ve enjoyed most of everything I’ve read by Chabon, and I know he has a connection to the comics world. So a children’s superhero book seems like an obvious hit.
And it is a clever idea. Awesome Man talks about all of the things he can do (fights bad guys has cool powers), but also talks about the frustrations of being a super hero. Awesome man gets mad and wants to break things, and sometimes he needs to sit on his bed and relax to calm down. So the secret identity is not too hard to figure out. Indeed, the idea of the narrator imaging a super hero identity is cool and fun.
But if the secret identity is pretty easy to figure out, I guess it is therefore not really astonishing? And that’s just one thing that’s a little unsatisfying about this story. (more…)