OVERALL GRADE: B+
Like SESAME STREET FEVER and the many other albums to simultaneously spoof and celebrate popular music over the years, ELMOPALOOZA! offers songs appropriate for children performed by some of the most successful performers in the music business. The mix can be rather jarring - Rosie O'Donnell sounds out of place sandwiched between The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the Fugees - but most of the individual songs are charming.
En Vogue's "I Want a Monster To Be My Friend," for instance, contains lyrics that may sound suggestive to adults but can be taken at face value by children. Gloria Estefan's "Mambo I,I,I" echoes many of her dance hits, and Kenny Loggins' "One Small Voice" is highly reminiscent of his "Conviction of the Heart." Shawn Colvin's "I Don't Want To Live on the Moon" has sweet sentiments and would make an excellent lullaby.
Both an adult and a six-year-old listener found the concluding track, the all-Muppet "Songs," rather out of place, but it had stronger lyrics than the sappy Celine Dion piece "Happy To Meet You." Some listeners may find Aerosmith's Steve Tyler to be too grating for kids, but his "I Love Trash" is extremely funny.
Kids: Perfect for kids; pre-teens and teenagers will probably be too embarrassed to be caught listening to a Muppets album.
Adults: Popular performers from Gloria Estefan to the Fugees to Jimmy Buffett are delightful, though Celine Dion singing a duet with Big Bird may grate for some, and grandparents may despise Steve Tyler's metallic "I Love Trash."
Socially conscious messages by Kenny Loggins and Shawn Colvin are offset by goofy songs like En Vogue's "I Want a Monster To Be My Friend." Kids get an introduction to mambo, reggae and heavy metal.
Most of these are spirited songs which encourage singing along, particularly the tracks where the Muppets join in. This would make an excellent car album as long as parents aren't hoping the children will fall asleep.
1. Mambo I,I,I - Play
2. I Want a Monster To Be My Friend - Car
3. Zig Zag Dance - Play
4. Nearly Missed - Car
5. Just Happy To Be Me - Play
6. I Don't Want To Live on the Moon - Bed
7. I Love Trash - Party
8. Carribean Amphibian - Play
9. Happy To Meet You - Car
10. One Small Voice - Quiet
11. Songs - CarTime