Still haven’t made a New Year’s resolution? Here’s a suggestion. Baby Music is intended “to help people find their inner childish-baby-superpowers, to take a break from adulthood and invite play and complementary states of flow into (their) lives.” Those anxious about what the new year may bring, or perhaps overwhelmed by the state of the world, may find this a panacea. Over the past decade, psychologists have begun to highlight what much of the working world has forgotten: that play can be productive, and can even be a sign of maturity. (For more, see Stuart Brown’s Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul or get a job at Google, which offers perks such as nap time and a play room.)
Mathias Loose cheerfully steps into this subject with Baby Music, which is of course not just for babies. It’s a natural fit for our Happiest Music chart, as well as Music for Nurseries, setting the stage with a happy cover from Angrymikko (although Mikko is having a great day here), a poster of the album art and the music on a USB necklace. It will be interesting to track the order in which the colors sell out; pink was the first to go.
Those who enjoy cheery timbres ~ the playful music of Lullatone especially comes to mind ~ will find plenty to enjoy here. Toy piano, glockenspiel, video game beeps and even a smattering of brass decorate these tracks. Even at its slowest, it’s not very slow; “Tales of a Child” comes across as a gentle encouragement, but it could be addressed to anyone: it’s okay, I know the boss was hard on you, would you like to have a popsicle and come play on the swingset? Of course you would. The guitar line of “Playing Friends” sounds like what Rockabye Baby! would do to New Order if they ever had the opportunity (while Rockabye Baby never included the band, Rock N’ Roll Baby Music did cover Blue Monday).
A voice intrudes for a moment on “Computer World,” breaking the reverie but reminding this reviewer of Speak & Spell, one of Time‘s “100 Greatest Toys of All Time,” which has returned recently in a new, non-ripcord form. The oompahs of “Mr. Tramp” are meant to spark knee-bend dances, which anyone can do ~ a fun break at the workplace, especially if one is stuck in a cubicle. By the third part of the track, an accordion joins the dance, pausing only for a faux-serious bout of piano.
On the one hand, this is not a serious release. On the other, it’s very serious ~ because what could be more serious than a person’s health, which improves with positivity and play? Baby Music is a happy reminder that we all have an inner child begging to come out when the conditions are right. It’s a new decade, and we’re not getting any younger, so why wait? (Richard Allen)