We’re Not Kidding: A Tribute to Barry Louis Polisar Is the Best KidTunes for Adults Ever
I have a new passion—in music, that is. His name is Barry Louis Polisar and he writes the absolute best songs for kids—songs with snarky lyrics, songs about love, songs about dogs (and cats and fish and birds), and songs that are somewhat, ahem, rude. How could a kid resist?
We’re Not Kidding is a tribute album featuring a variety of artists and styles. It starts with “All I Want Is You,” a song familiar to movie watchers, at least if they’ve seen Juno. There are sixty cuts on this two-disc set, and every one of them is a treat. Punk, rock, folk, klezmer (yes, klezmer), rap, alt metal, new wave, country, Irish (The Michael O’Brian Band hilariously performing “Potty Training”), jazz, pop, and blues are among the genres included on We’re Not Kidding. Some of the songs are performed twice by different artists in different genres. As for the lyrics…the word would be “different.”
“Don’t put your finger up your nose, ‘cause your nose knows it’s not the place it goes…,” “Watch out…,” “Never cook your sister in a frying pan…,” and “Shut up in the library…” are, of course, timeless pearls of advice, while “The Alfabet Song” (Frankie and Rufus) is an alphabet song with an attitude—appealing to kids who already know their alphabet and appreciate what all the nasty things in the song are. Other songs tell stories (“I’m a Three-toed, Triple-eyed, Double-jointed Dinosaur” performed by Bonnie Phipps), voice a familiar complaint (“I’ve Got a Teacher, She’s So Mean,” Kid Kazooey)¸ or express loving sentiments for a number of things—people, pets, stuffed toys.
Polisar is in a class of his own, writing unique lyrics that appeal to kids (as well as inner kids) and music that invites movement. We’re Not Kidding is bright, lively, sometimes gross, humorous, and a lot of fun. It’s a collection that every cool family should have in their music library.
Bottom Line: Would I buy We’re Not Kidding? I absolutely would—I love it!