Geez I’ve got to start proofreading. That was supposed to read, â€œCelebrating twenty years of Elmo.â€ Y’know that red Grover wannabe that’s all the rage. It’s hard to believe that annoying Muppet has been around for twenty years. That would make him older than some writers who occasionally contribute to the site. But I digress.
When I first heard about this three CD boxed set I was hyped. See as a kid I had several Sesame Street records (large black discs that held stored music, those things that the DJ’s in NuMetal bands â€œscratchâ€) and I loved them. Furthermore I loved Sesame Street, as a show. I love the idea that characters would devote their entire existence around a letter sound or a digit.
Last year I began actively trying to recapture my youth by going to Barnes & Nobles attempting to find the songs that I loved on CD, but to no avail. Finally with the release of this boxed set I would get a chance to take a trip down nostalgia way.
The first disc had me giddy. It starts off with â€œSesame Street Themeâ€ including an additional verse that I hadn’t heard in forever. Then there is the hilarious â€œABC-DEF-GHIâ€ where Big Bird erroneously believes that the entire alphabet is one huge word. Silly bird.
There are several classics on Disc One. â€œPeople In Your Neighborhoodâ€ shows off Bob’s beautiful singing voice. On â€œBein’ Greenâ€ Kermit the Frog details the struggle of living in a color conscious society (I feel you, my brotha.) Bert and Ernie have their solo joints (â€œDoin’ The Pigeonâ€ and â€œRubber Duckieâ€ respectively.) But that’s not all.
There are also hidden gems. â€œHenson King of Eightâ€ is a song that I had forgotten, but could remember instantly. â€œThe Five Songâ€ and â€œSomebody Come And Playâ€ are also great additions. But my personal favorite is â€œEverybody Sleeps.â€ I will not respect Twista and Kanye West’s opinion on slow jams until they acknowledge this, the king of all slow jams.
There are plenty of guest stars on the first disc too. Billy Joel serenades Oscar the Grouch with his classic â€œJust the Way You Are.â€ Paul Simon and the Kids sing â€œMe and Julio Down By the School Yard.â€ James Taylor also makes an appearance with â€œJellyman Kelly) because what says â€œkids programâ€ more than a former junkie with a history of mental problems. Stevie Wonder closes the disc with the banging â€œ1-2-3 Sesame Street.â€
Disc Two starts off hot, with the Pointer Sisters’ â€œPinball Number Countâ€ (y’know that song whose melody Jill Scott subtly lifted on her 2000 hit â€œGetting’ In The Way.â€) Talk about your blast from the past. It’s an extended version too. Then the whole neighborhood, including Mr. Hooper, sings â€œI’ve Got Twoâ€ which is just a fun song.
There aren’t too many classics on this disc. Besides the aforementioned Pointer Sister track there is the â€œAfrican Alphabetâ€ (which sounds oddly like the American one) and â€œC Is For Cookieâ€ by Cookie Monster. Oscar the Grouch’s â€œI Love Trashâ€ is also a great song.
What it lacks in classics it more than makes up for in forgotten jewels. â€œLittle Thingsâ€ is a awesome duet with Tony Bennett and Lexine. â€œMah Na Mah Naâ€ is a sublime treasure, and â€œWhat’s the Name of That Songâ€ is just a joy. There is nothing but pure fun in â€œCaptain Vegetable.â€ And â€œThis Frogâ€ by Kermit the Frog closes the disc on an uplifting note.
Guests on the second discs include Johnny Cash, Madeline Kahn, Aaron Neville, Bobbie McFerrin, and Los Lobos. This creates a very eclectic sound but not in a jarring way.
Disc Three holds the most modern songs. It is also the more Elmo-centric. As a result it is the least listenable of the discs, for me at least. I’m not going to say anything bad about it.
Here is a list of guests; Steven Tyler, Spin Doctors, Gloria Estefan, Hootie & The Blowfish, Celine Dion, *NSYNC, and Goo Goo Dolls.
I think that pretty much puts things in perspective.
All in all Songs From The Street is a cool collection and if you should happen to have the extra cash, The booklet provides excellent on what makes the show so great, as well as complete lyrics. I’m sure you would enjoy taking the trip back to days gone by. I’m sure your inner child would love it.
Final Score 8.0 (technically) 9.5 (in actuality)