If you feel itchy after listening to the new Caspar Babypants collection, Bug Out!, you’re not alone. Caspar (Seattle musician Chris Ballew, formerly of Presidents of the United States of America) has a special affinity with hexapod invertebrates and his latest release celebrates the tiny critters. There’s generally a Babypants explosion every year, but his 2020 opus was pushed up an entire three months due to the Coronavirus outbreak. With his audience confined to their homes, Chris felt compelled to move the release date from August to May.
Bug Out! constitutes the closest thing to a “concept” album that Chris has released since his two Beatles-related compilations. Insect-themed songs include “Pay Me No Mind” (about a lonely bug seeking attention and friendship with large animals), “Fuzzy Buzzy Buzzing Bug,” “I’m A Bee,” “Slugs in the Dust,” “Termite,” and a Babypants-ed version of “The Ants Go Marching.” Chris loves to take a classic song and revise it with his spin on lyrics and almost a rap beat:
The ants go marching five by five, marching makes them feel alive
The ants go marching six by six, carrying leaves and tiny sticks
The ants go marching seven by seven, marching seems like their obsession
The ants go marching eight by eight, right across my dinner plate
Chris credits his kids for inspiration and artist wife Kate Endle for design (and children’s books based on his songs). Chris remains one of the most inventive and quirky children’s music artists. His mashups of concepts is unpredictable, yet comforting. His songs are imbued with a spirit of “anything is possible if you wish it,” from the peculiar “Pickle Holiday” to melodic ballad “Hedgehog in the Fog.”
In a recent Facebook post, Chris revealed that he has two Babypants CDs already completed for 2021 release—but that they would be his “final” recordings, although live performances would continue. Looks like he and I will be sunsetting at around the same time. Nonetheless, with an average of 20 songs per CD, Caspar Babypants has a superlative batting average for a children’s performer. If your family is feeling stressed and needs some rhythmic release, it’s the right time for everybody to bug out.
Here is the brand new video for “Baby’s Driving A Car”: