There are albums (in all genres) that you can drop in and out of, where your attention can wander without ruining the overall effect. And then there are albums whose enjoyment depend upon a sustained mood, whose parts are greater than the whole.
Peter Himmelman's 2004 album My Fabulous Plum is the latter.
Heard in bits and pieces in the car -- the minivan is the parental 9:30 Club, dontcha know -- the album doesn't come off that great. Elaborately produced rock songs with a hint of Broadway stylings, with vastly different song palettes from track to track, it's hard to pin down. Not that the songs are bad -- "Sherm the Worm" is a fun, driving rock track with horns, but it's squeezed between the mid-tempo Shel Silverstein-esque fable "A World Where You Only Eat Candy" and the Caribbean-tinged self-empowerment ode "Ain't Nothing To It."
But Himmelman, who's been creating music for adults for more than 20 years, is an excellent songrwriter, and it's only once you've listened to the album in full that you appreciate the world Himmelman's created. Your kids will enjoy the silliness in songs like "Herman the Big Oily Moose" and "Cindy and the Octopus," and they might even hear the message in "Ain't Nothing To It," and "I Don't Like To Share." You might even come to enjoy the pure weirdness that is "Waffles," a spoken-word track. In no case does Himmelman ever talk down to his audience.
I think kids ages 4 through 9 will most appreciate the 36-minute album, which is the second of Himmelman's three kids' albums. You can check out samples at Himmelman's website for the album.
My Fabulous Plum has some strong songs, but it will probably take a few spins before you'll get the cumulative effect of the album -- a book of musical short stories and poems for kids. Recommended.