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Original Friend

5 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 23, 2010
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 23, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Squirrel Mechanic Records
  • ASIN: B004CISZ1C
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,598 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Lunch Money Store

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music
Ten Reasons why I love "Original Friend" by Lunch Money

1. It sounds Gorgeous with capital G. I was all ready for their sound to be a glossier-sounding form of cuddle-core, but Tor Hyams' production instantly had me wondering if I put the Wilco CD in by mistake.

The collaboration results in a tasteful (even luscious) sheen that casts light on the creation, rather than obscuring it by lathering effects and guitars on top like so much corn syrup--the album even boasts some instrumental passages that are reminiscent of some of my favorite late 60's/early 70's records, when synthesizers sounded fresh. A lot of what makes the predecessor "Dizzy" so great is that the songs are so energetic and witty, they really didn't need much adornment, and the lyrics took center stage...and now 2--

2. The words are faithfully, still really silly, witty and well-written. With Lunch Money's already catchy songwriting, it's a one-two punch. This is where singer/songwriter Molly Ledford stands out in the world of Kid's Indie Rock (`Kindie' Rock)-- her word-smithery is on par with the late director Preston Sturges, who once said "I spritz dialogue like Seltzer water once I know where I'm going." It doesn't cost any extra to write memorable lyrics, so why not?

It's a subtle practice, however, as Molly doesn't just throw some big words out there to digest--she chooses her words and images thoughtfully, with humor and purpose, then leaves them lying around for you to discover over time, as your familiarity plunges you deeper into their meaning. When you find them, it's like finding a forgotten Hershey's Kiss in the cabinet or a dollar in your pants on laundry day.
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Format: Audio CD
The music of the South Carolina band Lunch Money may be demure at times, but it's never been shy about wearing its anthropomorphized heart on its anthropomorphized sleeve. Which is one of its strengths -- a trio of thirty-somethings singing why they love their library might fail in the hands of lesser artists, but Lunch Money's giddy enthusiasm equal to that of kids thirty years younger makes the song work.

Original Friend is every bit as "open book" as its predecessor Dizzy, but this time around songwriter Molly Ledford's subject is friendship. Friendship temporarily lost and then regained (the strings-assisted 1-minute opener "Friends Again"); friends who are awesome (the title track, and a prototypical Lunch Money indie-pop song); friends willing to imagine with you (the pop-by-way-of-circus-music "Getaway Car"). This album isn't quite as extroverted as Dizzy was, but it features Ledford's strongest batch of songs yet. And while the dedication to Jennifer Jean Day, "who had the original friend donut" (and who Ledford is presumably singing about in the title track "What's up today, Jennifer? / You say you're writing a song? / Maybe I'll try my hand at that for my whole life long.") might hint at some sadness, it's really a rather joyful record. Even songs about the possible interruption of friendship (the rocking "Please Don't Move (to Another Time Zone)") beat with a heart and with good humor.

That joy is due in no small measure to the large number of musicians who share the record with Molly, J.P., and Jay. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo turns in a great rap on "Welcome To My Dollhouse," Frances England offers her voice to "You and Me and a Bottle of Bubbles," and Dean Jones pitches in on "Getaway Car.
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Format: Audio CD
Our whole family loves this CD. Even our parakeet really seems to enjoy it, and he can be quite the music snob.

"Original Friend" features the same smart, catchy, family-pop we loved on Lunch Money's first two CDs (and especially on their album "Dizzy") but this disc has an eclectic vibe that adds a new level of interest. The instrumentation is more elaborate than on their previous discs, and the band jumps from guitar rock to a waltz to a hip-hop beat all in the first couple of songs. It reminds me of a really great mix tape. Yeah, I said 'tape' and I'm proud of it.

The main theme of the album is friendship, and the songs each deal in some way with a different aspect of what it means to have, be, find or lose a friend. The songwriting is sophisticated, but easily accessible to kids. People talk about children's music that "adults can stand", but this album is so much better than that. It reminds me of a great children's book that can be read on multiple levels. Think "The Little Prince" with an electric guitar.

Speaking of children's books, this disc comes with a very clever little book chronicling the adventures of two unlikely friends, the aptly named Girl and Bear -- who are, respectively, a girl and a bear. My kids found the book especially interesting and sat reading it while listening to the disc.

Overall just a great, great cd. Viva los Lunch Money!
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Format: Audio CD
See William Hooper's review of this album for a full discussion of the music. I agree with it and have only a little to add.

First, this is par-for-the-course lyrical brilliance from Molly Ledford (e.g., ". . . bubbles, they surround us like all the jokes we share"): simple and clear so that kids understand, yet original. No one else writing songs these days, for children or adults, puts such richness and depth within the package of one song's lyrics.

And speaking of packaging, the CD's booklet of liner notes (artwork by Brandon Reese) is an exceptional complement to the music, and could almost stand on its own as a picture book. Thinking of the liner notes as song recipes is a deceptively simple, yet appropriate, connection, and I marvel that no one, to my knowledge, has done it before. Michael Jordan made complex basketball moves seem easy; Lunch Money makes connections within the complex world of growing up seem simple.

Original is the perfect word for this album.
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