Hang on—you’re not going anywhere. Neither are your kids. What’s a parent to do in these turbulent times? How about giving your family more than 30 minutes of peppy, poppy, and preppy children’s music? Danny Weinkauf and his Red Pants Band have released their fifth—yes, fifth—collection of tunes, Dinosaurs and Metaphors. Your sons and daughters may know about oversized, extinct creatures, but Danny and company introduce them to the latter concept.
A man who wears many hats, Danny plays bass for They Might Be Giants, who themselves put out a fistful of children’s music CDs. Danny’s tracks from those releases piqued his interest in furthering a sideline as a kids’ recording artist. That brings us to Dinosaurs and Metaphors, with its 15 songs delivering direct messages. For instance, the moral of “Don’t Want a Haircut” is “hey that wasn’t bad.” Similarly, “A Song That Makes Me Happy” is so infectious to the point that my kids were joining in by the second chorus. Which is the point of the song.
Danny pulls out a scratchy Louis Armstrong impression for “I’ve Got the Hiccups All Day.” He fancies flatulence in the stink-tacular “Cut the Cheese.” Homeschooled kids will find humor in the (now nostalgic) heavily ironic “Hooray It’s Monday!” Former music composer Alf Clausen of The Simpsons receives a tribute on “Homer, Danny, and Alf.” Danny conducts a perfect round (think “Row Row Row Your Boat”) on “Boy With a Hole in His Heart” featuring bandmate Tina Kenny-Jones:
There once was a boy with a hole in his heart
Who felt like his world was falling apart
Then one day a bird sang a song from above
And the hole in his heart was filled up with love
Tina shares harmonies and delivers powerful lead vocals on many tracks, including “Lovely Lazy Saturday Morn” and “Dinosaurs on Rollerskates.” The Red Pants Band trio is rounded out by drummer Steve Plesnarski, in the event we get to attend live concert events again in the future.
A child’s world is a complicated place, and Danny Weinkauf likes to poke around its nooks and crannies, like an English muffin with dripping jelly. With Dinosaurs and Metaphors, Danny scrutinizes the mundane and the metaphysical from a kid’s frame of reference and wraps everything in a handy-dandy, enjoyable package.
Here is the lyric video for the new song, “Your Love Is a Metaphor”: