Colours Are Brighter ...

Here's a question: what makes a song a children's song rather than an adults' one? This is something I've been thinking about ever since the release of a new CD here in the UK. Colours Are Brighter is a project which brings together many of our generation's favourite pop stars, but with no mention of sex, drugs or even rock and roll, because this one's for the kids. As in, the under-tens. It all began when Mick Cooke of Belle and Sebastian wrote a song about monkeys. It's a fine song, but I can understand that it might sit a little uneasily beside their usual songs of love and loss. So they contacted their pop pals – the Flaming Lips, Jonathan Richman, Snow Patrol, The Divine Comedy, and more – and they put together a whole album of kids' songs. Proceeds go to Save the Children. Now, most of these artistes are ones which we adults already appreciate for their child-like humour or wonder at the world – Jonathan Richman is a child in an adult's body, to all intents and purposes, and Half Man Half Biscuit's very name shows an admirable streak of playground humour. In these songs, though, that childish trait is allowed to flourish unrestrainedly. Franz Ferdinand's jolly song about a boy who loves to eat cakes will have youngsters sniggering with glee, while Belle and Sebastian go wild with monkey sound effects. Reviews here in Britain have been mixed, with parents everywhere applauding the release of something they can bear to listen to, but reporting that very young children still display a preference for Baa Baa Black Sheep. My view? It's familiarity that makes children enjoy the old nursery rhymes. Stick this on often enough, and it will become a favourite too. If you'd like to listen to some of the tracks for yourself, you can do so on the Colours Are Brighter website. It's available through that site too; those outside the UK may prefer to buy via [...]

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