Review: Green Gorilla, Monster & Me - Ralph's World

Ralph Covert released his sixth Ralph's World album, Green Gorilla, Monster & Me, in 2005, 5 years after he released his self-titled Ralph's World debut. Six albums in six years -- that's like one less than Peter Gabriel's done in almost thirty years. So, yes, he's prolific.

One could understand perhaps if Covert started repeating himself at this point, but this is his best album, full of great pop-rock songs. The album leads off with "Clap Your Hands," a rousing tune entirely different from the They Might Be Giants song of the same name, but with almost as few words and just as winning. As with many of his albums, Covert covers lots of stylistic ground (the klezmer of "Me & My Invisible Friend," the southern jangle-pop of "Old Red #7," the Ramones-lite punk of "I Don't Wanna," and, most bizarrely, the Elvis-meets-Moby sound of his cover of "Gitarzan"), but for whatever reason the forays no longer sound somewhat forced as they did on earlier albums.

Covert's lyrics have also improved over time. "What do you do when you need to / Hang your heart on something real / Remember what you're after?," he sings in "Hideaway," lines that would work in an "adult" song. "Liesl Echo," a slow, Beatlesque tune (and do you think the Beatles get royalties anybody even uses the phrase "Beatlesque"?) about a mountain girl and a shephered in love with her features the couplet "The shepherd left her / For greener pastures," a line which brings a wistful smile to my face every time I hear it.

Not every song is perfect -- "Tim The Boy" is an attempt to teach a lesson that ticks me off because it basically cribs the chord progression from "Red Banana," on the same album. ("I Don't Wanna" is a much more effective lesson-song, and more fun to boot.) But the hit-to-miss ratio is very high.

The album is best for kids age 4 through 9. Thanks to Covert's recent signing with Disney, the album has now been rereleased by Disney, which probably means you'll be able to buy it at your local Sip-N-Slurp in the near future. Highly recommended.