Review in Brief: Phredderiffic - Phredd

Phredderiffic.jpgPhredderiffic is the third album for kids from the uni-monikered artist whose six-letter name starts with the letter "P."

No, Prince does not have two other kids' albums.

This 2005 album is from Fred McNaughton, also known as, yes, Phredd. While there is no cover of "Starfish and Coffee" on the disk, there are a number of fun tunes here -- the sweet Beach Boys-esque lament for warm weather "Sled Dogs" and the countryfied "My First Haircut" (with the lament "Where in the world did they put all my hair?") in particular stand out. A number of songs also would lend themselves well to kids' movement, particularly the one minute of nonsense in "Zoobah Zoobah Diggity Zoom" or the silly Australian-accented (literally) "Stuffy Hunt." Other tracks do wear out their welcome -- I do not need to hear the reggae'd "Meet the Trolls" or the industrial "William Watermelon" ever again. (I would note for those of you with small collections of coffee-related songs, "If Coffee Smells So Good, Why Does It Taste So Bad?" is an amusing sea shanty.)

Without making too big of a deal of it, it's important that I point out track 5, "I Choose Love." This isn't the first album with religious references I've reviewed, and probably won't be the last, but since it's definitely an uncommon occurrence 'round here, I feel obligated to mention this. If you heard the disk without knowing anything about Phredd, you'd probably be a bit (or a lot) surprised to hear the phrase "God is love" woven into the chorus at the end of the song -- it's only a tenuous fit with the song itself, and nothing before (or after) really prepares you for it. If you're not prepared for it, it's a very "What the...?" moment that will have you scrambling for the CD packaging wondering if you missed something.

Kids ages 3 through 8 will probably enjoy this 39-minute album the most. You can hear samples at the album's CDBaby page or at his media page.

With his poppy tunes, silly lyrics, and skilled blend of programmed keyboards and real instruments (particularly the ukelele), Phredderiffic is a little bit Eric Herman, a little bit Steve Weeks, and an itty-bitty bit Veggie Tales. It's not a uniformly strong album, but fans of the above artists will likely find something to enjoy here.