Morgan Taylor once again wows us with his latest chapter in the Gustafer Yellowgold saga. Gustafer Yellowgold's Year in the Day musically celebrates most of the major holidays in typical Gustafer style, as Taylor utilizes a warm, super melodic background for his deep, witty, and amusing lyrics. Gustafer Yellowgold's Year in the Day easily makes our Best Kids' Music of 2012 list.
The Music of Gustafer Yellowgold's Year in the Day
Gustafer Yellowgold's Year in the Day kicks off appropriately with a celebration of the new year in the super upbeat 'New is the New Old' a tune that Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham would drool over. Groundhog Day gets a nod in the quieter, more introspective 'A Shadow' while the shuffly, Paul McCartney-like 'Keep it Simple Sweetheart' (get it? k.i.s.s.?) sweetly gives Valentine's Day a nod. 'Pancake Smackdown' is a celebration of Fat Tuesday and National Pancake Day, featuring a largely acoustic description of flying pancakes, ending in Flaming Lips cacophany. The hypnotic, impressionistic 'Four Leaved Clover' sounds like a cross between Beck, Jason Falkner, and Stereolab; while the tuneful Easter 'Eggs' could be America playing a Smile-era Brian Wilson outtake.
More Music from Gustafer Yellowgold's Year in the Day
The uber cheerfulness of 'Midsummer's Son' will remind you of sunshine pop bands like The Yellow Balloon, The Millennium, and The Sunshine Company, while the excitement of the Fourth of July explodes in 'Fireworks!' complete with a 'Bang! Bang! Bang' chorus (take that, Katy Perry!). 'Werewolves Rock' Halloween, complete with awesome drum production and power chord guitars, and Thanksgiving gets 'Pumpkin Pied' with a jaunty Tin Pan Alley tune that Randy Newman or Harry Nilsson could have written. Gustafer Yellowgold's Year in the Day ends with the tender, waltzing, harmony-filled singalong 'Fa and a La'; celebrating Christmas, family gatherings, and the holiday season in general.
Besides animated videos of every song, the Gustafer Yellowgold's Year in the Day DVD includes bonuses like Making of Year In The Day, a behind the scenes one-on-one with Gustafer creator Morgan Taylor; and Gustafer Guitar Lessons, which features Morgan Taylor demonstrating his six-string technique and sharing facts about Gustafer and songwriting.
The major selling point of Morgan Taylor's Gustafer Yellowgold releases is the fact that thay are DVD/CD packages, with each song accompanied by iconographic animation and sing along lyrics. This way, fans can see what Taylor had in mind when he wrote each song, plus the whole family can watch along and join in the singing fun. Gustafer Yellowgold's Year in the Day continues Morgan's string of artistic, critical, and entertainment successes, and promises to be one of the best kids' music releases of 2012. --About.com Children's Music
Gustafer Yellowgold is no mere band more like a multimedia explosion. Offered as a CD/DVD combo platter, Year in the Day is a hand-drawn musical moving storybook. Imagine an animated Beatlesque dude, Gustafer, who came from the sun and now is happily uncovering Earth s best holidays. Let s just say he has a different perspective. Fireworks! takes an apolitical look at Independence Day, and Werewolves Rock hands Halloween some 1970s hard-rock licks. From Tin Pan Alley stylings to Queen-esque glam rock, this graphic musical comes to life, while offering two-plus hours of content for the four-and-up crowd. If that wasn t enough, featured guest musicians include drummer Robert DiPietro (Norah Jones) and bassist Robert Jost (Bjork). Having opened for Chicago s very own Wilco, Gustafer will surely capture the attention of the whole family with his fifth release. Available April 3. --Tor Hyams for TimeOut Chicago Kids
As you may already know, I lead another life as an entertainment writer for a variety of grown-up sites and publications (including our parent site, Popdose). In that life, I ve devoted a lot of column inches to my hatred of prog bands and concept albums, and had a lot of fun at the expense of airy-voiced, caftan-wearing singers like Jon Anderson of Yes, whose fascination with fairies (sorry, faeries) and bluebirds and the like has given me endless cynical joy.
I m saying this now because while watching Gustafer Yellowgold s latest magnum opus, Year in the Day, I realized that the wide-eyed little alien from the sun has been peddling the kindie equivalent of prog, what with the concept albums and the fanciful creatures and all the mellow singing about living in harmony, man. And also that my love of all things Yellowgold makes me a dirty old hypocrite.
I admit this. I m not proud. But in my defense, there aren t any 10-minute keyboard solos on Gustafer Yellowgold s records, offering a subtle sonic lesson that all prog bands could stand to learn. (I m looking at you, Keith Emerson.) Anyway. We re here to discuss A Year in the Day, which is here, and it is good.
If you ve ever spent time with the Gustafer oeuvre, you know what to expect: Funny, sweetly melodic songs, driven by acoustic instruments and deceptively simple arrangements, all centering around the adventures of a yellow alien and his assortment of unusual friends. Like the rest, Year in the Day is a musical moving book, meaning that in addition to a CD of the songs, you also get a DVD that adds illustrations to the songs. They re barely animated musical moving book is a perfect description but trust me, your kids aren t going to complain. (And neither will you.)
This time around, as the box art tells us, we find former Sun resident Gustafer Yellowgold enjoying his Minnesota woodland home and experiencing his own unique take on a year s worth of Earth holidays, both classic and unusual. (I d make a Kwanzaa joke here, but I have class.) Like most things Yellowgold, the concept is fairly loose; you ll be able to pinpoint certain seasonal themes in the track listing ( New Is the New Old, Fireworks! Pumpkin Pied ), but songs like Pancake Smackdown and Eggs could fit in on pretty much any Gustafer record.
Which is fine, really. Throughout his career as Gustafer Yellowgold, singer/songwriter Morgan Taylor (who I interviewed for Dadnabbit not long ago) has excelled at the artful blend of silly and sweet that so frequently evades kindie artists, and he pulls it off again here, using non-sequiturial turns of phrase to build a cuddly, homespun vibe that s pretty much impossible to resist. There are reasons Gustafer is one of the genre s biggest stars; they are very good reasons, and they are all on display in Year in the Day. Order it with confidence, and prepare to sing along. --Dadnabbit.com