Review by Ali
I know we say this a lot, but the kids’ music scene in Portland really is unbeatable. Not only are there so many artists here playing at so many great venues around town, but each artist is unique, bringing their own slant to the kindie music scene. Local kindie “rawker” Mo Phillip’s great contributions to Portland’s music scene are infectious energy, enthusiasm, goofiness, and some darn good songs.
Mo’s latest CD, Monster Suit, is an eclectic, energetic mix of songs. Some have a bit of country twang, some are good ol’ fashioned dancing tunes, and a few are a bit more mellow. The lyrics are as varied as the music, but are consistently well-written, often funny, and sometimes a bit heartbreaking.
The CD opens with the highly danceable “Toes,” a song perfect for toddlers like my Grady. The song encourages kids to stand on their toes, jump real high, sing, and dance – all of which we have been practicing while running around the living room like maniacs together. Another particularly danceable song is “Twirlin’” – a song that encourages both male and female princesses to drop everything and twirl!
Mo’s funny lyrics are well-represented in “Droolin’” – a song that memorializes, well, drool - “If you were one year old than you would know what I’m talkin’ about – how many different things can I get in my mouth? You know it’s not a crime to mark with my mouth that which is mine!”
The song that I find myself continuing to hum – even when the kiddos are not around – is “The Princess and The Cowboy.” The lyrics – “Oh it doesn’t matter what you do, just how you do it. Make sure it’s full of happiness and heart” – ah, they break my heart. Mo so simply and perfectly captures the essence of childhood in those sweet lyrics, and what we grownups should strive to remember.
One final anecdote: We first pulled out Monster Suit while the grandparents were in town for Clara’s arrival. Grandma walked in while “Big Red Truck” was playing and said “Is this Bob Dylan?” I’m willing to bet good money that The Wiggles or Barney have never been mistaken for that rock legend!
This is a seriously good CD. One that you’ll enjoy perhaps even more than your kiddos. You can hear all of Mo’s songs and pick up a copy of Monster Suit or any of his other CDs at one of his many shows happening around town.