The boys are back! If Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake got together to make a children’s music CD with an informative theme, I’d bet it would sound a lot like The Pop-Ups‘ Giants of Science. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) is one of those hot trending educational topics (I’m leading with that sentiment quite often). Brooklyn musicians Jason Rabinowitz and Jacob Stein continue their successful collaboration by getting PhDiggy with it.
When I went to college, I took a lot of notes. It’s a definite 180 from learning from The Pop-Ups—it’s really difficult to juggle a notebook while you’re dancing. Light refraction is the subject for album-opener “Shadow.” Guest star Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is on board to encourage listeners to “catch the light.”
There’s finger-snapping fun with “Time,” which informs that “time is not so straight and narrow” with a slight reggae tinge. “Inventors” includes a shout-out to CRISPR. That’s a first in any form of music I’ve heard, including children’s music.
“Synthesizer” is self-explanatory, and as Ben put it, “sounds like Devo.” As the boys ask, “Are we not synthesized men?” Perhaps the most scientifically-grounded tune, “Cave of Wonders,” is the furthest stretch, as they bring a “mica disco ball” into play.
I could visually almost imagine the choreography for “How Do We Know,” about all the intriguing, sometimes off-color questions that children often ask. An “actual scientist,” no really, Dr. Amanda Simson from the University of New Haven, provides a fact break (as opposed to a rap break). “The Science of Sleep” helps inquisitive young minds drift off to sleep (as every dance must come to an end). But when slumber happens, it’s one small step for little minds, one excellent freestyle boogie for The Pop-Ups.
Here are The Pop-Ups performing “Shadow” at a recent taping for Paste Magazine: