First off, no, that's not a misprint -- the sixth Gustafer Yellowgold album really is called Gustafer Yellowgold's Wisdom Tooth of Widsom. The extra "wisdom" is for, er, wisdom.
Yes, that's a deliberate pose our favorite yellow alien from the sun is striking on the DVD cover, as the story inside deals with his search for wisdom.
As creator Morgan Taylor has run out of the original batch of songs that made up the first few Gustafer DVDs, individual DVDs have become more unified in structure, songs organized around a single principle. Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom is the first DVD, however, in which I felt like there was something at stake in the story. Rather than just illustrating a personality quirk (e.g., "I Jump on Cake," still a classic GY song), the songs here help move along a plot that sees Gustafer struggle with giving up something that's important to him and what the true source of wisdom is. His external journey -- finding the source of the titular tooth -- is matched by an interior journey.
Of course, the heart of any Gustafer DVD is still the music, and it's every bit as '70s-soft-rock-with-a-hint-power-poppy as ever. (That's a good thing, natch.) "Telephone Called" is a bit of Broadway jangle-pop, followed by the fuzzed-out and hand-clapped strains of XTC heard in "It Suits You." (Yes, the DVD case suggests that XTC reference, but darned if it doesn't hit the nail on the head.) One of my favorite tracks, "Toothloser," sounds to me like Billy Joel at his early '80s narrative best, with "Secret Fox" a wistful follow-up. Other strong tracks in "I Can't Feel My Face" (shout-out to Billy Shears!) and "Yawn," the first song I've heard that actually tries to be yawn-inducing. The music might have some odd lyrical references if you're not familiar with the video, but the music isn't dependent on the visuals for your enjoyment.
As always, the animation -- featuring Taylor's own art -- is minimal, more moving picture book, but it's the most technically-proficient video yet, often beautiful to look at. (There's a scene near the end where somebody's recording a meeting on a cell phone, and you can see the characters on the tiny phone's screen doing exactly what the actual characters are doing.) The videos themselves have some nice jokes for the adult (or smart kid) to appreciate in addition to the broad humor in many of them.
The video is most appropriate for kids ages 3 through 10. You can watch a preview of the 41-minute DVD here. The DVD includes a couple bonus features (a 6- minute guitar lesson with Taylor for his hit "Cakenstein" and a 20-minute documentary about the making of the DVD) and more importantly, a 30-minute CD with all 10 songs from the video.
Now that Taylor has been living with Gustafer in his head and on the screen for more than a decade, he's had some time to stretch what he's going with the character and his world. This is all to the good, and makes me that much more excited about the next Gustafer video, already in the works. The music is definitely recommended, as good as ever, and the DVD is highly recommended, the best Gustafer Yellowgold video yet.
Note: I was provided a copy of the DVD/CD for possible review.