The (mis) adventures of our (sort of) young family

Music Review: Chugga, Psssht. Chugga, Ahhh. It’s Choo Choo Soul, With Genevieve!

Walter Elias Disney
Image by dbking via Flickr

Playhouse Disney seems to have a great line up for parents who aren’t too adverse to the “Disney machine” reaching out and grabbing their kids (see Walt to the right).

The next bit of music that won’t drive parents crazy is from a group called Choo Choo Soul featuring Genevieve Goins, a cute spunky train conductor, and DC, the train’s amped beatbox engineer, doing real hip-hop songs for preschoolers.

Choo Choo Soul got our attention as an interstitial before OOH and AAH, Disney’s comedy monkeys.

Now I liked Choo, Choo Soul straight away because it was fresh and interesting as far as kid’s music goes and reminded me of an old friend. One of my favorite songs is Jump. What you’ll see in the clip below is music that uses a straight forward hip hop arrangement–vocals along with a moderately complex percussive rhythm track. What’s novel about it to me is that they didn’t dumb it down like a bland Barney theme song.

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Another great track that has a bit more instrumentation in it is Bullet Train, which tells kids about the Japanese bullet train called the Shinkansen.

This song has got tight rhythms, incredible hooks and a sweet bass interlude/bridge near the end that takes us back home. For a kid’s song, there seems to be a lot going on.

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Now here’s the downside of the Disney Machine. When they hit upon something unique and special–like Choo Choo Soul–they mass reproduce it and turn it into a “product.” This conversion causes it to lose everything that makes it unique. See the Italian version of Choo Choo Soul below right down to the scratching DJ.

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I personally don’t think that this translates very well.  The DJ in the Italian version looks like a nerd who should be working in the accounting department of Choo Choo Soul instead of the train. The rhythms of the Italian language don’t have a natural fit with the music and the conductor looks like she’s phoning in her performance to Telecom Italia.

Despite their “one-size-fits-all” approach to their content, the people over at Disney are building up a respectable collection of musical acts that can keep kids entertained without making parents pull their hair out.

 

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