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Monday, July 21

In case Amazon don't publish it.

Here's my review of the Children's music CD that I don't just hate...

If you want to know what dead behind the eyes sounds like...
This is truly dreadful. It represents everything that's wrong with the idea that children must listen to children's music. The idea that music for children is some sort of lesser thing to music is ludicrous, yet permeates every godawful note of this caterwauling drivel.

The vocalist isn't just phoning in her performance, she's phoning it in on a bad line to a wrong number. Don't misunderstand me - she never sings a flat note, and the tone of her voice is fine. The problem is that she isn't genuine. You can tell she's singing using a false accent (and not just in her cod-country-and-western attempts). The combination of prissy RP and over-attention to the accuracy of delivering each note exactly as written makes you think that she's trying to channel Julie Andrews, and failing. Badly. Julie Andrews had a cheeky sense of humour, she clearly cared about what she was singing. This vocalist just does what's on the page.

It's not the vocalists fault alone. How can you deliver a great performance to the casio-keyboard backing track that's ticking away with pinpoint accuracy and zero soul underneath your performance. The click track is so ever-present on this that it hurts. Nursery rhymes are meant to be sung imperfectly.

The backing isn't entirely electronic. A few acoustic instruments join in, and there are flashes of real musicianship. These are pretty much crushed by the overall production values of the whole CD, and as a result they only serve to make you more hungry for something better, and for these CDs to be smashed repeatedly with a hammer until they just stop polluting the air with their tinkly drivel.

Finally, in addition to the dreadful performance, formulaic arrangements, manufactured sound and entirely clinical approach, the choice of songs and their underlying lyrics is mystifying. In these versions, songs have lyrics that you've never heard, and some songs seem not to fit the overall theme. I suspect they were going for duration and quantity over quality. In the 75 songs and countless bars of music, there's probably about 1 minute of music that is worth hearing.

This is the sort of CD that people who hate music buy in order to confirm their belief that music is a commodity, a few sounds you could assemble in the same way that you could assemble Angel Delight and call it a pudding, or you could put a motorway service station burger into a microwave and call it a meal.

We bought this to play in the car to our daughter in case she got bored. Any rhythmic sounds will calm a child. Unfortunately, the net result of playing this is that my daughter calms down - quelled into a stupor by this ear-porridge - and I am raised into a boiling rage as this insult to music burrows its way into my head.

The people who get kicked out of the first round of X factor, who get laughed at by the judges and TV audience alike, know more about what the spirit of music means than is evidenced by this CD.

Buy it if you hate yourself.

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