Monday, September 29, 2008

Deftones Too Scary for DJ B

Oh, goody! One of Miss B's library picks was slapped with a parental advisory sticker for "explicit content." She must have known, since the first thing she said when examining the Deftones' "Saturday Night Wrist" cover art was, "Is it scary?" On first listen, she started dancing immediately, but then she turned off the music after only a few seconds and asked for Celine Dion.

Today I attempted to play this again and was met with protestation. Miss B said, "I don't like this. I don't like it!" and turned it off after less than a song. Despite that, she still asked to look at the booklet. After leafing through it, she said, "Put it back in there."

Oh well, this rock CD from the public library's "teen" section was past-due anyway.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Surprise, Surprise...Miss B Digs Classic Musicals

Following DJ B's second ballet class, she decided to investigate "Leading Men Sing the Movie Classics," a CD collection that she picked up from the San Francisco Public Library. After hearing the name of the CD, she asked, "Is this classic?" Then, as the music dramatically began with Gene Kelly's "Singin' In the Rain," Miss B started demonstrating her new ballet skills. She pounded her chest, grabbed a pair of flip flops, ran toward me, then stopped to dance in place. She then leaned on me and extended her leg in the air behind her. Following that, she twirled around with her hands over her head like a ballerina. As she spun in a circle, she got dizzy, then closed her eyes, swayed, and fell over.

Miss B then got on the floor, closed her eyes, and did a very slow dance before she started to roll around with her eyes still closed. We then danced together for awhile before Miss B opted to set up a picnic on the floor. She donned her sunhat and strapped her Hello Kitty purse over her shoulder in preparation for the pretend outing.

This morning during breakfast, we checked it out again. Miss B listened to it quietly, while bouncing her legs to the beat. After she finished eating, she marched around the room to James Cagney's version of "Yankee Doodle Boy." She did some ballet, played a few notes on her toy piano, and pranced about with an old baby teether in her mouth while simultaneously talking on her toy cell phone to her imaginary friend. Her dancing got faster and faster and we deemed this album full of songs from classic musicals from the 1930s to 1950s a big hit for a Saturday morning.

Celine Dion Disturbs DJ B's Parents

One of the most cringe-worthy CDs that Miss B has selected from the public library thus far is Celine Dion's "The Collector's Series Volume One" from 2000. Initially DJ B was drawn to it when we were selecting music that she thought her grandpa would enjoy, but her interest didn't go beyond the cover art, as she had me stop it before the music even started. The next time we tried it, she didn't get much further, ejecting the CD after only a few seconds on her first listen.

With Celine's due date looming, we attempted another listen yesterday. Miss B looked at the booklet and swayed a bit when the music started. After grabbing my cell phone, she ran off with it, pretending to talk to her imaginary friend. She then yelled, "I want Pocoyo!" (her new favorite TV show) and before we had even reached the end of the over-the-top Atlanta Olympics Opening Ceremony version of "The Power of the Dream," DJ B declared: "I all done" and ejected the CD. I can't say I was disappointed in her distaste for the over-produced (just count the number of engineers listed in the liner notes!) pop.

Today, just for my poor husband's benefit, I played a bit of the CD again. This time Miss B didn't even look up from her reading material. The strongest reaction in the household was from my husband, who said that it was "unnerving" to hear Celine Dion playing in our house. I have to agree.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Queen Latifah is Good Grandpa Music

We got some really sad news in the DJ B household this week as Miss B's grandpa died. Since I'm a big fan of using music as a coping mechanism, I immediately asked Miss B to pick out a library CD that she thought her grandpa would like. I handed her a pile of 8 library CDs (yes...we're really backlogged) and she scrutinized each one of them very carefully before handing me a Celine Dion CD. As I started to put it in the player, Miss B changed her mind, telling, me, "No. This one" as she handed me Queen Latifah's "Trav'Lin' Light."

DJ B looked through the CD booklet and smiled, then ran to me, saying, "I want that snake. I want that snake right now." I'm not sure what she wanted, so I changed the subject and asked her, "Do you think grandpa would like this music?" She said, "yeah." I asked if she liked it and she also said, "yeah."

As we listened to this lovely CD of jazzy R & B influenced pop and standards, Miss B climbed on some chairs and then lounged a bit before settling in with an LL Bean catalog. She quietly listened to the music while reading the Christmas catalog. Later she moved to the floor with some pens and started to draw some pictures. She held one up to show me, saying, "This is for Grandpa...because he's sad and sick." She then grabbed a blanket and said, "snuggle me up. snuggle me in."

Who would have thought that the soothing vocals and classic sounds of Queen Latifah (covering Nina Simone, Peggy Lee and others) would be such a fitting tribute to Miss B's departed grandpa? And, yeah, I think he would have liked this music...just as DJ B predicted.

Hall and Oates? Miss B Can't Go for That (No Can Do)

The other CD that Miss B was drawn to when she visited the San Francisco Public Library Bookmobile was Daryl Hall & John Oates' "The Collection," a CD set of "3 original album classics." As with the De La Soul pick, this release was chosen by Miss B based on the spine of the album since she couldn't see the cover artwork on the packed CD shelf. I surmise that this one stood out because it was larger than other CDs since it's a 3-CD set. Again, this album was in perfect condition and had probably never been checked out of the library before. I talked to our branch librarian about this and she clued me in to the fact that most items in the Bookmobile are in excellent condition, as the library doesn't want to be trotting around a bus full of grimy books and CDs. Good to know!

I have fond memories of making fun of Hall & Oates when I was a teenager, so I was curious to see how Miss B would respond to their mainstream '80s pop. The first thing she said when checking out the CD was, "There's no booklet!" She spent a lot of time searching through the case, but it turned up empty. I have to say that I agree with DJ B, that is disappointing for a 3 CD set to not include a booklet.

The first CD she put in was "Voices," which she listened to for a matter of seconds before ejecting. Next she tried "H20," and found it worthy dance music. She danced in circles, swayed side to side while eating some crackers, and generally enjoyed the release until track 8. She then proclaimed, "I don't like this" and moved on to other things.

The next day DJ B tried the final CD "Private Eyes." She was wearing last year's Halloween costume at the time and was game for a little bit of dancing as the music started. She quickly grew bored, tried the other CDs again, and, finally pronounced again, "I don't like it" before removing the CD from the player.

So, in response to the stupid joke from my high school days, "Who do you like better: Hall or Oates?," Miss B's answer would have to be "neither."

Friday, September 12, 2008

De La Soul Charms DJ B

Last week DJ B and I were out and about when we spotted a Bookmobile. Intrigued by what musical gems might be stored within, I grabbed Miss B and we raced up the steps to tour the "Bookmob's" wares. The shelf was jam-packed with CDs, so Miss B was unable to pick by cover art. She seemed to revert to her old method, as she was first drawn to the bright pink-spine of the essential De La Soul album "3 Feet High and Rising." At long last Miss B picked out an album that I actually own, so I was thrilled.

San Francisco Bookmob!

The CD itself was pristine, as if it had never been touched by human hands and was quite a far-cry from most of the well-loved and circulated music that we pick up at our local branch. No way was I going to let Miss B do the DJing on this one. Gotta keep it nice and clean.

On first listen, DJ B wasn't too interested in the skits and jangly classic hip hop, stopping it after only a song or two. But, when we tried it again later she really got into it. She heard "batmobile" on one track and repeated it with a smile on her face. Later she bounced in her seat while perusing the CD case and booklet. She then grabbed my pen and started to write in my notebook, saying, "I a writer...about the music," clearly copying what I do when working on these CD reviews with her.

Today we listened again and she immediately got into it, dancing while holding a bowl of Cheerios. She smiled, repeatedly patted my leg, then waved at me. While listening she crept around the room, acting very sneaky. All of a sudden she bit my leg. After that she went behind the curtain, curled up on the floor and pretended to nap. As we got to track 9 "Eye Know," she turned down the volume, then cranked it up before donning her headphones for some dancing time.

All in all, De La Soul seemed to touch DJ B in a variety of ways and that is, indeed, the power of great music.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Indie Pop Makes DJ B Say "Ehhh"

On a recent trip to the public library Miss B picked up a well-loved CD in a broken case, held together by rubber bands. The 2005 self-titled release by music critic fave Clap Your Hands Say Yeah initially prompted little reaction other than DJ B running to me to request a hug. She then grabbed the mangled CD case, saying, "I want the booklet." After scanning the liner notes, she ran and sat on a plastic storage bin positioned by the CD player. More excited by her new ballet shoes, she ran back and forth trying them out. After a few songs, Miss B started to dance to the music and then lifted one leg very high into the air, then moved her arms. Perhaps she was imitating the moves on the cover art? She then proclaimed, "I want some milk."

Later on, while eating lunch, we listened to this CD some more. Desperately in need of a nap, Miss B started to throw a tantrum and screamed, "I don't like this music" through her cries.

I guess one has to be in the right frame of mind for indie rock.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Miss B Cools off with Linda Ronstadt's Christmas Album

First of all, we're so excited in the DJ B household, because we got a really nice mention in the Baby Beats column of the San Jose Mercury News last week. The author, Yoshi Kato, writes about all kinds of musical events for kids in the San Francisco Bay Area AND is a huge fan of kids sharing their parents' musical passions. Right on. We could not agree more.

Now, on to the fresh reviews!

On a record-breaking day of 90+ degree heat in San Francisco this week, DJ B decided that it was the perfect time to take a listen to one of her latest public library selections: Linda Ronstadt's "Merry Little Christmas" CD. When we first popped it in to our DVD player it would not play. I suspect anti-pirating technology. Damn! So, we headed off to her more low-tech bedroom boombox to try it and it worked like a charm. Miss B immediately cranked up the volume, then grabbed her SF Giants baseball cap and put it on, even though it was several sizes too small.

Miss B then situated herself on the floor, grabbed a blanket, and tucked herself in with a stuffed bunny. As the music continued, she changed her shoes and began dancing and twirling around. She switched shoes again and did a swaying dance move with her eyes closed to "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

Today, however, the fog had rolled back in and Miss B had no interest in connecting with the cooling sounds of Ms. Ronstadt, saying, "I don't like it" before she turned off the CD to pursue other interests.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Miss B Enjoys the Wild Percussion of 12 Girls Band

Wrapping up DJ B's trio of Chinese music for the week, we now turn our attention to the 12 Girls Band release "Miracle Live 2003." Although Miss B found this on the CD shelf at the public library, it's classified by the library as a "video," since it's a video CD. For us that meant that we were only allocated a 1-week rental (vs. 3 weeks for CDs), so we had to act quickly.

When we first put this in the DVD player Miss B just stared at the screen, transfixed like she is when watching most TV programs. Disc 1 began with images of nature, then moved into concert footage of the 12 Girls Band. As soon as the musicians appeared on screen Miss B asked, "What are doing?"[sic] She then pointed out to me that, "It has colors on blue" as she observed the different colored lights used to illuminate the band during the performance.

She then requested the second disc. As the music resumed, she said, "It's hard to see this music...because it's blue...because my eyes [sunglasses] are not on." I'm not exactly sure what she was getting at, but something about the stage lighting seemed to make it difficult for her to see something- either the musicians or the instruments. When I asked her what it sounded like she said "yogurt." When I asked what she liked most about the music, she said, "purple." She then turned her attention to the booklet, saying, "I want a dress on. Just like her. On the CD...I want a skirt on. A fancy skirt on just like her fancy skirt." She then lounged on me holding the CD case, saying, "I like it. I like it" while holding her foot and shaking it to the beat of the music.

Miss B then ran out of the room, put a fancy skirt on, and returned carrying drum sticks. She raced around the room waving her drum sticks, saying "ooo oooo." On the video we then saw some intense percussion, with band members banging drum sticks on metal cabinets. DJ B imitated what she saw for awhile, then picked up 2 maracas for some fast dancing, followed by a double tambourine dance, and finally she ended her recital by waving 2 shaker eggs.