Won’t you be my friend? Were you one of those kids who went from kindergarten through grade twelve with the same friends and classmates? Or did you get moved around so you were often the new kid in school?
There’s nothing like that new kid feeling — lost, alone, knowing no one. Being the new kid is sitting alone in the cafeteria, eating your lunch, and praying that lunchtime will soon be over, or sitting in the playground watching the other kids play. Oh, if only someone — anyone — would come talk to me (instead of staring and whispering).
Jim Cosgrove seems to know something about that feeling; the last song on his new CD, Swimming in Noodles, is “Be My Friend,” and it’s about that simple act of kindness, making friends with the new kid. It will strike a responsive chord in anyone who’s ever been that new kid, regardless of age.
Cosgrove hooks listeners with “Cool Daddy,” a neat zydeco (yay!) song that is somewhat reminiscent of “Iko Iko.” Swimming in Noodles may be kidtunes, but the songs have driving beats inspired by a variety of musical genres. There’s rock and rockabilly with an Elvis influence, and the Jimmy Buffet-flavored “Huehuetenango.” The second cut, “Cookie Time” features some Jerry Lee Lewis-like piano pounding. There’s a temptation to slip this CD in the player at a party, and see if anyone realizes they’re rocking to kidtunes. The words are a dead giveaway, but who cares?
Fans of steel pan (yay!) music will enjoy the Calypso beat of “Miss Floppy Socks.” Jim Cosgrove is backed up by both expected and unexpected instruments. Performers contributing to Swimming in Noodles are Geoff Pearlman (lead and rhythm guitar), Tor Hyams (piano, B3, Rhodes, Wurlitzer), Joe Ayoub (bass), Scott Seiver (drums, percussion), Mark Thies (balafan, shekere, jug), Monique Danielle (harmony vocals), David Agee (mandolin), Aaron Jaben (Irish whistle), Ernest James (accordion), and Jozef Scales (steel drums).
Songs about food (“Spaghetti and Goofballs,” “Chips and Salsa,” “Cookie Time”), parents (“Cool Daddy” and “Hang on Mama”), share space on the album with empowering songs like “Nobody Does It Like You” and songs about the differences between people in various places (“Just Like You”). “Shamrock On” is a neat family history that reminds us that most of our families came from someplace else, and opens up a new discussion topic.
Swimming in Noodles is a terrific collection of songs that family members can enjoy together, dancing and singing along. Amusing lyrics and infectious beats make it an excellent choice at ditch-the-tv time. It’s irresistible! (Swimming in Noodles hits the street October 5).
Bottom Line: Would I buy Swimming in Noodles? You bet, its happy sounds coax smiles, and the lyrics provoke laughter.