If you had told me at the beginning of this year that my favorite album to listen to would be a children’s album, I definitely would have laughed at you. I’m no stranger to kid songs. While I don’t have any kids of my own (other than the four-legged variety), I have nieces and nephews ranging in age from 15 down to 10 months that I see on a regular basis. This means I’ve been exposed to the Wiggles, Kidz Bop (shudder), Raffi, and more plays of the Frozen soundtrack and Everything is Awesome than I really want to think about. So yeah. A kid’s album? Surely you jest, I’d scoff at you from that dark point nine months previously. And I’d be wrong. So very very wrong.
The disc in question is the latest album by the godfather of Nerdcore hip-hop, MC Frontalot. If you’re familiar with his work already, you’ll be pleased to know that he continues his tradition of experimenting with his musical styles while maintaining the razor sharp wit and lyrical flow of his previous works. In addition, the album is a veritable who’s who of nerdcore and nerd music guest artists, featuring the likes of Marian Call, MC Chris, Jean Grae, Open Mike Eagle, Adam WarRock and many others. In between songs, Front also has brief skits where he attempts to get his charges (comedians including P.F. Tompkins, Kyle Kinane, and Negin Farsad) to go to sleep. The album opens with one that sets up the central tenet of the disc. Why bedtime? What’s the point of just blindly following the rules?
The songs themselves are retellings of fairy tales from all over the world. In addition to recognizable stories such as the Three Billy Goats Gruff and Red Riding Hood, there are tales from Norway, Japan and even a Native American tale featuring that favorite topic of children everywhere, butts. The stories themselves may not unfold in quite the way you remember, as Frontalot takes liberties with them whenever he can. Gold Locks, for instance is told from the point of view of Papa Bear warning his child about the dangers of the homicidal porridge thief that lurks in the night. If you’ve gotten this far and are asking “Should my kids listen to something like this? It sounds a little scary”, just remember that Goosebumps is still very much a thing, and that kids sometimes like to be scared, as long as it’s their choice to experience it. The album contains no profanity and a full lyric sheet so if you’re not certain, read along and decide for yourself. I’d have no problem playing it for my kids should I ever have any, but that’s a call every parent has to make for him or herself. In the meantime, check out the first single, Much Chubbier.
Question Bedtime is available for sale on iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon, CDBaby, Google Play or from frontalot.com. Grab a copy, give it a listen or three and tell us what you think in the comments. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as much as I do, and your kids will too.