Andrew (Barkan) and Polly (Hall) know something that I don’t. Which is why they record children’s music and I write about it. Who would have though to turn Smashmouth’s “All-Star” into a natural kid’s tune? That’s the lead track on their new CD, Go for the Moon, and all I could say was, “Well, of course it is.” The sentiment comes from the famous speech by President John F. Kennedy where he challenged America to win the space race. Smashmouth dropped the sound bite into their original 1999 track, and A&P have remixed it for maximum impact.
The popular Los Angeles duo have mind-melded with kids around the country over healthy snacks (“Grapes”) and goopy phantoms (“Ghostbusters”). Their latest release stays the course and advances the cause, whether it’s the inability to recall what to call a mommy friend (“Mom’s Name” with SiriusXM favorite Mike Phirman), laughing your brass off with corny jokes (“Brass Chuckles”), or getting giddy about a field trip (“Aquarium,” featuring frequent collaborator Mista Cookie Jar).
Grammy winner Lucy Kalantari (becoming a ubiquitous children’s music presence these days) guests on the laconic sketch “Three Chartreuse Buzzards.” And when I commented, “This sounds familiar,” at the start of “Garden of Your Mind,” Ben promptly reminded me ‘It’s Mr. Rogers,'” which made me more happy than I ever imagined. When he was younger, PBS was showing episodes of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood twice a week. I recorded two months worth and burned them onto DVDs, which he watched with what I thought was tepid interest. But something did stick in his memory.
Andrew and Polly also host the musical podcast “Ear Snacks” that teaches kids about the world. Each episode highlights music, science, art, and culture in an all-inclusive, family-friendly environment for parents and their children. See below for a recent episode.
The duo have a propensity for sprinkling kindie dust on miscellaneous musical entrees and reimagining them for young listeners. Pete Townsend’s “Let My Love Open the Door” was a 2018 revelation. Go for the Moon‘s “All-Star” undergoes the same transformation. However, Roger Miller’s “You Can’t Roller Skate In A Buffalo Herd” remains a tough chestnut to crack. Even so, GO FOR THE MOON is a mirthful, entertaining concoction of treats for developing senses, sensitivities, and sensibilities.
Here is the Ear Snacks podcast, “Road Trip Mixtape 2019”: