Disclaimer: I did not and will not receive any financial compensation for this post. I received a copy of the Frog Trouble CD for review purposes. All opinions expressed in the review are solely the opinions of the Pop Culture Family and shall in no way be imputed to the Warner Music Group, Sandra Boyton, or Big Honcho Media.
As I have mentioned before, my house is filled with Sandra Boynton fans. So you can imagine how over-the-moon giddy I was when I was asked to review her latest CD. Now, everyone in my house likes country music. Pop Culture Dad, despite being born on the East Coast and raised in the Midwest, is probably the biggest country music fan in our house; and I, despite being born and raised in Texas and owning horses and a cattle ranch (seriously, I do), am a much smaller country music fan. My dad raised me on mostly Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, and Kenny Rogers-type country, with some Crystal Gayle thrown in here and there (the classic stuff). In high school, I frequently played Pam Tillis, Trisha Yearwood, or John Michael Montgomery in rotation with Boys II Men, Madonna, and Dr. Dre. But as I got older, my tastes in country music got more pop-py. Sure, I still like the songs I used to, but if I'm going to pick new country music to listen to, I'm more likely to rev up Shedaisy, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Sugarland, or Dixie Chicks than… I dunno, pick someone who's won a CMA recently. You can keep your Tobey Keith, thank you.
So I approached this CD with some reservations. I love Sandra Boynton, but would I like this CD? The answer is apparently, for the most part, yes. Pop Culture Dad had no such reservations. When the CD arrived, he looked at the list of artists and said, "I'm going to love this song… and that one… and that one." He was right in most cases. [The Pop Culture Kids have pure minds, free of biases, and went into this whole gig with no pre-formed opinions whatsoever].
Overall, it's a great CD. It's very kid-friendly, and definitely doesn't give a parent pause like some of the songs on Radio Disney sometimes can. This is not a CD for people who don't like country music, however. If you consider Taylor Swift real country and are expecting that kind of sound, this is not the CD for you. Some of these tracks (most of them) have a real, old country kind of feel, banjos and all. There are some crossover hits, like Darius Rucker's "Beautiful Baby" or Ben Folds' "Broken Piano," but overall, there is no doubt that Frog Trouble is country.
The Good: My entire family agrees that "Heartache Song" is the best track on this CD. It's a fun, bluesy track that starts with Kacey Musgraves belting, "They made me cleanup my room..." before launching into other apparent woes of being a kid. Not gonna lie, the Grease geek in me kind of thought of Stockard Channing singing "Look at Me I'm Sandra Dee" in parts (this is a good thing, people). Another favorite of mine (though Pop Culture Dad may disagree) is "Beautiful Baby." Darius Rucker has this uncanny ability to sing songs that make you look at your children and breakdown into happy tears.
The Not-So-Good: The first song Pop Culture Dad prematurely declared he would love turned out to be the Pop Culture Family's least favorite. Look, no disrespect to Alison Krauss (one of Pop Culture Dad's favorite singers), but "End of a Summer Storm" was a wee but depressing. I mean, her voice sounded just fine (I guess), but the song was overall kind of a bummer. Pop Culture Dad thought it just didn't have a place on a kids' album. Also, I liked "Copycat," but I don't want to, because I still don't forgive Brad Paisley for that intentionally racist "Accidental Racist," so despite liking the song, I'm giving it a very stubborn thumbs-down.