Laurie Berkner is a Superhero, and Her Superpower is Joy

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Lauri Berkner Superhero

It should be no secret that I am a bona-fide Laurie Berkner fan. So when I heard that the Queen of Kiddie Music was releasing her first new record of all new songs in 8 years, I said to myself, “Self, you’ve got to hear if Ms. B still gots it.” Would she be able to create songs as endearing as “Victor Vito” and “Bottle caps?” A tall order indeed!

The new CD is called SUPERHERO, and it contains 21 new songs and 2 bonus tracks, running 56 minutes in length.

Right out of the gate, the title track of the album struck a chord with me as I am sure it will for every boy, girl and adult who grew up reading (and still reads) comic books, dreaming of being a superhero. (Yeah, I still dream that too.) Laurie even names one or two that are not on everyone’s tongues because of the Marvel and DC movies, but that I and (I’m sure) many others will remember.

But it is not just a song about being a superhero; it’s also about what good things she would do with the superpowers. And that is the underlying theme running through all of the songs. While each song is very different and runs the gamut from 60’s style pop, to rock; from lullabies to rap, from reggae to Latin, and from nice soft quiet songs to “get up and boogie,” all the songs sing of being confident, kind, happy, loving, tolerant, and of facing fears and enjoying life. Those qualities in songs for our kids need to be sung of more often. In our society, which floods their eyes and ears with images of unattainable perfection, Laurie tells us to be happy with who we are, dream and enjoy life. We need that as adults too -- in some ways perhaps more than kids do.

Laurie has help on some of these songs. Kira Willey on “Swing Me,” The LBB’s own Brady Rymer on “Opelika Alabama,” and the great Ziggy Marley (yes, I said Ziggy Marley) on “My My Marisol,” so if that doesn’t clue you in on how popular and important the music that Laurie writes is, I’m not sure how else I can convince you.

Other of my favorites on this CD are “Fireworks,” “Swing  Me,” “In and Out,” “Take A Trip” and “Opelika Alabama.” But one of the many pleasures of a Laurie Berkner Band (which, by the way, is made up of Laurie (duh, of course!), Brady Rymer on bass, Susie Lampert on keyboards, and Bobby Golden on percussion) is that you can pop it in your player and let it play through.

One of the things I was listening for on this album was to hear if Laurie would still sing with that “happiness” in her voice. I am so pleased to say yes, as happy and as tuneful as ever. It is hard to think that these songs were written eight years after her previous songs, given that with that amount of time with many artists, their tastes, and styles evolve into something else. Not here; all of these songs could be mixed with her classics, and you’d never know there were several years between them.

Sonics on the album are fine, and Laurie’s band is as tight as ever, nicely mixed so that if you are going to listen on a high-end system (though most probably won’t, but I can’t be the only one, can I?) you won’t be disappointed.

The CD sleeve is a bright tri-fold thin cardboardy/thick papery thing; which is nice and adequate for protection, but I personally prefer jewel cases for better protection and ease of removal. Inside the “cover/sleeve” are nice little snippets that Laurie has included about the inspirations for the songs on the CD.

I have been listening to a lot of different styles and genres of music as of late, as that is my favorite pastime, and the one thing I take away from all of my listening sessions is the emotions that the album or CD conjures up in me. Listening to SUPERHERO was no exception. SUPERHERO, as do all of Laurie Berkner’s records, conjures up a feeling of joy! I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with the emotions and feelings that other albums conjured up in me. What I am saying, though, is that sometimes you just want to listen to music that you can sing along to, that you don’t feel childish singing out loud to but at the same time makes you feel like a kid again on the inside.

Laurie has done some amazing things in her career, including children’s musicals and books. But for me I just hope she and her band continue to make music till the cows come home.

Some people say mathematics make up the universe, but I tend to disagree. I think it is music, because long before we ever knew what mathematics was, we all had this inborn love of listening to and playing music--from simple beats, claps and whistles to full blown orchestral works, everyone has music in their soul, and I know of no one else who can weave together songs and rhymes appealing to everyone. If I was to say Laurie’s songs on this album were like a food I would say they are a banana; because like a banana we can eat them from just about when we are born to when we meet our maker. The songs in this album, while some seem truly for the young (“Pool Safely,” “Bicycle”), can be and are for everyone to have fun listening to; and for me, well, we all have our Laurie favorites that we will always go back to for the memories tied to them, but, yeah, I’ve added “Superhero” up there with “Victor Vito.”

Songs on the CD are:

  1. Superhero
  2. Tallulah Jones
  3. Bicycle
  4. My My Marisol (Featuring Ziggy Marley)
  5. This Is How I Do It

  6. I’ve Got So Much To Give
  7. Bubbles
  8. Tea Party
  9. When I Woke Up Today
  10. Umbrella
  11. Face To Face
  12. Opelika Alabama (Featuring Brady Rymer)
  13. Juniper Square
  14. Pajama Time!
  15. Swing Me (Featuring Kira Willey)
  16. Elephant In There
  17. Fireworks
  18. The Music In Me
  19. In And Out (Take A Trip)
  20. 1-2 Hands
  21. Yes!

Bonus: Pool Safely

Bonus: We Are The Dinosaurs (Dance Remix)

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0