RELEASE
May 06, 2008
LABEL
North
GENRES
Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Sing-Alongs, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Album Review

The first full-length children's album by Canadian pop stalwarts Barenaked Ladies, Snacktime! reveals what is both enchanting and a little bit irritating about the often witty, sometimes silly, and usually melodically catchy pop band. Musically, all the Barenaked touchstones are here: '70s singer/songwriter, AM pop, indie rock, folk, alt-rock, and even some quirky electronic-based romps. In that sense, the album plays like most of the band's catalog, with each bandmember adding a composition to the mix. The difference here is in the lyrical content, which is obviously aimed at and inspired by kids. But rather than simply target kids of today, Barenaked Ladies have crafted a children's pop album inspired by their own '70s/'80s childhoods. Accordingly, listeners gets tracks like "The Ninjas," a popular and kitschy topic among Gen-Xers (due largely to the abundance of '80s ninja movies), turned here into a kind of fairy tale about sneaky and deadly nighttime visitors. Similarly, the loopy wordplay song "Raisins" finds vocalist Ed Robertson wondering whether "the Parthenon's in Greece/Or was it in Grease 2?" But rather than merely calling out retro-pop culture themes, songs like the giddy "Eraser" and the thoughtful "Canadian Snacktime Trilogy" bring to mind a time when kids were more likely to spend afternoons with crayons and Elmer's Glue than with computers and the Internet. It's also reminiscent of a time when bubblegum pop was the sound of kids' music, and tracks like "Vegetable Town," "'Drawing," and "Humungous Tree" bring to mind -- at least lyrically if not specifically musically -- the fantastical, bittersweet, pastry-laden landscapes of the Banana Splits and the Wombles. Admittedly, for all the pleasant and hummable tracks on Snacktime! there are conversely a few ear-grating numbers like the hyperactive rawk of "Allergies" and the quirky but static reggae of "What a Wild Tune," which may elicit enthusiasm from the PB&J set while acting as a kind of musical torture technique on parents. That said, cuts like the sunny and melodic "'Pollywog in a Bog," the airy and euphoric "Louis Loon," and the cinematic album closer "Here Come the Geese" bring to mind well-earned comparisons to Todd Rundgren, XTC, and the Flaming Lips, and are easily some of the best pop tracks, let alone children's songs, Barenaked Ladies have ever recorded.
Matt Collar, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. 789
  2. The Ninjas
  3. Pollywog in a Bog
  4. Raisins
  5. Eraser
  6. I Can Sing
  7. Louis Loon
  8. Food Party
  9. The Canadian Snacktime Trilogy: Snacktime
  10. The Canadian Snacktime Trilogy: Popcorn
  11. The Canadian Snacktime Trilogy: Vegetable Town
  12. Drawing
  13. Humungous Tree
  14. My Big Sister
  15. Allergies
  16. I Don't Like
  17. What a Wild Tune
  18. Bad Day
  19. Things
  20. Curious
  21. A Word for That
  22. Wishing
  23. Crazy ABC's
  24. Here Come the Geese