Wednesday, September 28, 2016

With Kids Music CD, Amy Lee Goes from Goth to Gosh

Ah, child-bearing. When a rock star's fancy turns to children's music. That's a fairly sexist statement but it cuts across gender lines – Johnny Cash recorded one of the most famous children's music records of its time. Now Amy Lee (of Evanescence fame) has joined the pantheon, releasing DREAM TOO MUCH, a collection of 12 songs from her (and her son's) childhood.

As a band, Evanescence generated a controversy regarding the potentially faith-based message of its music. By delving into kid's songs, Lee goes from faith to faithfulness. While the recordings are bubbly and ethereal, they do not go overboard or stray far from the originals. "Rubber Duckie" is a ukulele skiffle and "Stand By Me" gets a girl group revamp. Title track "Dream Too Much" provides an amusing contradiction to itself, pointing out there's no way to dream too much.

The CD skews for three-and-under, which is reasonable to surmise, since Lee's son fits that demographic. "I'm Not Tired" is an anti-lullaby and "Little Bird" fits perfectly into Lee's high range. "The collection closes with "Goodnight My Love," a duet between Lee and her father, former DJ and guitar player John Lee. "The End of the Book" sounds like it came directly from a child's mouth:

The end of a book isn't the end
It's the beginning that comes
You can pretend pretend pretend 
And read it again

It's easy to dismiss someone's first entry into children's music as an easy one-off, a curio that doubles as an audio lock box for their child's happy memories. However that's where Lee's faithfulness works in her favor. She doesn't sound forced, the new material does not come off as contrived, the song selection is endearingly scattershot, not what a committee would pick to maximize impact; tailored to Lee's already-existing following. DREAM TOO MUCH is a realistic portrait of modern parenting presented by a mom who's a rock star and her father, the mentoring musician.

DREAM TOO MUCH is available exclusively from Amazon Music.

Here is the video for the title song, "Dream Too Much":

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