Let me start off by explaining the title of this post. My second year teaching I met a boy with a most unusual speech impediment. The "W" substitution for an "L" is pretty common at 4 years old, but he also inverted "S" and "P" whenever they were put together. I'd be playing on the rug with several students when I would hear a gravely little voice shout, "I'm bwasting off into psace!" and see him dart across the room. I think about it to this day when I see/hear/read anything about space. Tracey and I affect this impediment every now and then. It's fun. You should try it!
What does this have to do with kids' music you might ask? Well, today for your consideration I have a review of Recess Monkey's latest album: The Final Funktier
It's a bit hard to tell online, but this album has a snazzy foil embossing for the disco ball and title. Pretty cool! Recess Monkey is a Seattle based trio of elementary school teachers. Those who read my review of their last album Field Trip, will know that these guys love a concept album. This CD takes that concept into the stratosphere (puns intended). Funky beats and spacey references abound on this CD.
Like every good rocket ship ride, this album starts with a countdown in the song Liftoff which leads into the funkiest track on the album, Moon Boots. There are lots of sound effects and scratchy radio voices to get those little imaginations going. Recess Monkey has a knack for coming up with great hooks with easy words (lots of ba ba ba's, do do do's and sha na na's). Be prepared to get some of the songs stuck in your head and find yourself humming them in the grocery store (maybe that's just me).
When I played The Final Funktier in my classroom there was a whole lot of shakin' goin' on. The kids really liked Ukulalien since they are familiar with my Ukulele. I really liked the humuhumunukunukuapua'a reference (look it up). Jet Pack was also a big hit. The radio drama-esque Space Elevator Music is a funny intermission featuring effortlessly funny Jack Foreman conversing with the "band manager" Mayor Monkey, or MayMo for short.
I am fortunate to have some footage of RM playing Moon Boots featuring kids' music guru Tor Hyams:
The Mike Brady Wrap-up: It's no secret that I love Recess Monkey. Their music is great, the fact that they are teachers shows that they have their thumb on the pulse of what's going on in your average elementary school kid's mind, and they are genuinely nice guys who put on a great show. I'm sure if you give The Final Funktier a listen, you'll agree. RM really outdid themselves on the production, concept and design of this album. A lot of care went into this one and it shows.
Kid Quote of the Day: You guessed it: "I'm bwasting off into psace!" ~Alexander (age: 4)