I'm not sure whether covering obscure Sesame Street songs is either foolish or genius. But that's exactly what Chicago-area band ScribbleMonster have done on their just-released new album Look Both Ways. Aside from the opening track (their cover of the show's theme song), the casual fan (adult or youth) is likely to recognize few (if any) of the songs here.
What the band might lose from "Rubber Duckie" completists skipping the collection they gain from the freedom of putting their own stamp on some of the best songwriting for kids anywhere. One some tracks, you can't picture another band covering these songs any better than they are. On both "Loud and Soft" and "Stop!" the power-pop band hit just the right enthusiastic/giddy/slightly silly tone that will motivate kids to sing along and participate. This silliness also shines in the duet with ScribbleMonster (the, er, monster) and kids musician Steve Weeks on "Clink, Clank." (The phrase, "Right, I take this xylophone mallet," makes me smile every time.) They also provide distinctive covers of the slightly-disturbing (at least to my memory) "I Want To Hold Your Ear" and the sunny "Someday, Little Children," featuring Racer Steve from Princess Katie & Racer Steve on guitar.
The songs are most appropriate for kids ages 3 through 7. You can hear samples from the brief (26-minute) album at the album's CD Baby page or five full tracks at the band's radio page. I'm still not sure whether covering semi-obscure Sesame Street songs is foolish or genius, but it's hard to go wrong with folks like Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss writing songs and ScribbleMonster performing 'em. Recommended.
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of the album for possible review.