In a career that has spanned more than 20 years, Herman has learned to cram a lot of references and asides into his songs, which means kids will need at least two listens to interpret and appreciate the elaborate playfulness it takes to make these songs sound so distinctively “Eric Herman.” For example, how many children know David Attenborough (mentioned in the topping-shaming song “Mushroom Pizza”)? And there are callbacks to previous tunes (mushroom pizza is used as a taunt on “My Brother”), which weaves a collective tissue throughout the entire CD.
Everything you’ve ever done and seen
Came from just a tiny magic mean
And now you’re a magic bean
Magic Beans is not all fun and games. There’s no pandemic fatigue to be found on the 12 tracks. Instead, Herman (and guest vocalist Brady Rymer) tackle the difficult subject of dementia on “Remember,” where a five-and-a-half year old promises to remember things that his grandmother can not recall, such as walking her dog, giving big hugs, or even his name. The band segues effortlessly into “Side Scroller” to ponder the way life sometimes mimics video games and vice versa. Herman may have taken half a decade to recharge his batteries, but Magic Beans shows he’s well-rested and back at full strength with an auspicious arsenal aimed to amuse audiences. Magic Beans is available on Friday, March 18 from Eric Herman’s website, Spotify, Amazon, and Apple Music. Here is the video for Eric’s song, “Magic Beans”: