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Music Review: Various Artists – Yo Gabba Gabba!

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“My toddler loves watching Yo Gabba Gabba!” a close friend confided in me. I snorted, chuckled and shook my head in a fit of self-righteous superiority. Now cut ahead a couple of months. My three children and I are dancing and bouncing wildly through our house shrieking, “There’s a party in my tummy! So yummy, so yummy!” Indeed, Yo Gabba Gabba!

How did we come to this point? I certainly wasn’t a willing participant in the beginning. Sure, I reluctantly let my children watch Yo Gabba Gabba (YGG) when visiting relatives with cable. I didn’t really dig the bright colours, wacky characters, and music from genres that admittedly aren’t my favourites: electronic, new wave, Brit-pop, hip hop… yikes. I glanced over from time to time, listening with half an ear. Guess who was surprised to hear herself singing a few weeks later, “There’s a party in my tummy! So yummy, so yummy!” I was also shocked to hear my husband chanting the catchy, rhythmic tune himself throughout the day. Hey, maybe these guys are on to something?

Coinciding with the release of the new DVD Yo Gabba Gabba!: The Dancey Dance Bunch, the self-titled CD Yo Gabba Gabba! will encourage families of preschoolers across the nation to “Break it down!” with DJ Lance Rock, his YGG friends and noted indie guest performers. And break it down you will, we’ve had the disc playing almost non-stop since it arrived. My husband does from time to time cry out for a reprieve, but the rest of us agree with my two year old, “My like to dance!”

The wildly addictive dance tunes are enough to hook nearly anyone, and certainly any preschooler. As a bonus however, simple life lessons are built into many of the songs. Yes, the green beans and carrots DO want to go to the party in your toddlers tummy, and you can remind him of that by making a connection to “Party in My Tummy”. The power of admitting our mistakes and apologizing (so hard for people both tall and small) is explored in “I’m So Sorry” while other tunes encourage familial love, gentleness, working off excess physical activity, etc.

Only 38% of the songs are Yo Gabba Gabba! originals, the remaining 62% meshes well with the feel of the album and are contributed from groups such as The Little Ones, The Ting Tings, The Roots, The Aquabats and others. Honesty – I know nothing about these groups excepting the fact that they are on the Yo Gabba Gabba! CD. They don’t perform in my native genres, but parents with an affinity for their music may find some new groups to add to their listening lists.

Compiled of songs selected from the first and second seasons of YGG this album has been more successful at getting my children dancing than the television show itself. The YGG team works hard to get kids up and engaging the show physically, but my little ones are pretty zonked out as soon as the TV is turned on; it takes a lot to get them up. Pop in Yo Gabba Gabba! though and watch out! To be fair, it’s not all frenetic dance tunes – the YGG crew do try to bring your children back to reality with two calmer tracks , “Goodbye Song” and “Bedtime Lullaby” to help them make the transition back to reality.

Parents, don’t let any reluctance to engage in electronic beeps and blips steer you away from the fun times to be had with Yo Gabba Gabba! If a self-proclaimed abstainer like myself can dig it, so can you. Celebrate your birthday by grabbing a bear that’s your friend, and taking him on a train ride while you shake your sillies out on the way to a pool party; don’t forget to take your children with you.

Track Listing:

1. Party In My Tummy
2. Hey, Won't Somebody Come Out and Play
3. I Like To Dance

4. Train Ride
5. Get The Sillies Out
6. Happy Birthday
7. Biz's Beat of the Day
8. Be Nice To Animals
9. I'm So Sorry
10. Lovely, Love My Family
11. Pool Party
12. Goodbye Song
13. Bedtime Lullaby

You can also purchase Yo Gabba Gabba! on iTunes or watch a clip of The Roots and The Ting Tings performing songs from the album.

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About Jennifer Bogart