First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2004, Volume 11, #12
Written by John Metzger
Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, it is possible to find smart, sophisticated music within the children’s market. Without a doubt, one of the finest purveyors of the genre is Justin Roberts, and with the release of his fourth effort Way Out, the former Montessori teacher once again makes it look like an easy task to write songs that are as appealing to parents as they are to kids. With a sometimes silly sense of humor — "There goes my tooth across the floor/It’s heading for the kitchen door/It’s under the couch I think/Or maybe near the bathroom sink," he sings on I Lost the Tooth I Lost — Roberts provides charming glimpses at the life of the average little tyke. Whether offering solace in times of distress (Doctor, Doctor); basking in the simple joy of being loved (Best Friend); or examining small, but no less important events — such as gathering around the dinner table (Suppertime); taking the family portrait (Picture Day); or just growing up (Bigger) — he manages to capture perfectly the hopes and fears that lie within the hearts and minds of the youngest generation. While much of Way Out is a tad more raucous than any of his previous efforts, it retains the same melodic sense and emotional resonance that always has been Roberts’ stock in trade. The result is a collection that falls somewhere between They Might Be Giants, James Taylor, and The Clash, and much like those leftover candy bars from Halloween, one certainly wouldn’t blame parents for sampling the goods long after the children have fallen fast asleep.
Way Out is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box