Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Kids Smitten With Kaplan's Mitten Trippin'

What if your only problem with a children's recording artist was that they were too damn clever? By that I mean, putting in stuff that not only goes over the kids' heads, but goes by so fast that most adults would miss it. They stare blankly even after hearing it a few times, or tracking back a few seconds in iTunes to make sure something was heard correctly.

Aside from that kerfuffle, I have no reservations about Randy Kaplan's new CD, TRIPPIN' ROUND THE MITTEN. He's been a longtime favorite ever since my older son was my younger son's age – for the uninitiated, that's more than a decade. Randy's MITTEN runs close to an hour and is filled with wacky and wonderful stuff like "Supernude," about a clothes-adverse youngster and "Comb Your Ear," a wistful remembrance of a mutt from Kaplan's past.

Randy is not adverse to the occasional cover song as well and his choices are remarkably diverse. There's the 1950s novelty "Mr. Bassman" with a science-oriented epilogue, "Mr. Spaceman," where he explains time/space travel dynamics to his car-trip-tired son. And the recent Maroon 5 tune "Sugar" gets a kid-centric rewrite about confectionary concoctions.

MITTEN is full of Kaplan-esque wordplay and unique situations. "Cat & Mice" allows Randy to rap about all the rotten things he and his friend (the prototypical kid who lived down the block) are gonna do when left unsupervised. Hence, a rap that includes Stardust Memories, A Night at the Opera, and Star Trek. "In "My Frigerator Broke," a desperate Randy tries to use perfectly good food for other purposes under dire circumstances:

Got tuna fish in my pocket
Butter up my sleeves
Eggs tucked in my dungarees
Socks are full of cheese
You might call me crazy
But this is not a joke
My frigerator, frigerator, frigerator broke
My frigerator, frigerator, frigerator broke

MITTEN wraps with the apocryphal "On the Phone on the Toilet,"  the Kids Place Live favorite, a child's paean to parents living immersed in the age of social media, and "Mommy Love Song," one of two charming songs featuring lead vocals by Julie May. Randy is entering the eleventeenth year of adolescence and we're all the better for it. You may take better-planned trips, or family trips, but Kaplan's MITTEN is one of the funner trips you can take your kids on.

TRIPPIN' ROUND THE MITTEN is available from Randy Kaplan's website, Bandcamp, Amazon, CDBaby, and iTunes.

 Here is the video for his song, "Crew Cut":

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