Songs From The Street – The Ultimate Sesame Street Music Collection Review

Geez I’ve got to start proofreading. That was supposed to read, “Celebrating twenty years of Elmo.” 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 “scratch”) 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.

Disc One

The first disc had me giddy. It starts off with “Sesame Street Theme” including an additional verse that I hadn’t heard in forever. Then there is the hilarious “ABC-DEF-GHI” where Big Bird erroneously believes that the entire alphabet is one huge word. Silly bird.

There are several classics on Disc One. “People In Your Neighborhood” shows off Bob’s beautiful singing voice. On “Bein’ Green” 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 (“Doin’ The Pigeon” and “Rubber Duckie” respectively.) But that’s not all.

There are also hidden gems. “Henson King of Eight” is a song that I had forgotten, but could remember instantly. “The Five Song” and “Somebody Come And Play” are also great additions. But my personal favorite is “Everybody Sleeps.” 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 “Just the Way You Are.” Paul Simon and the Kids sing “Me and Julio Down By the School Yard.” James Taylor also makes an appearance with “Jellyman Kelly) because what says “kids program” more than a former junkie with a history of mental problems. Stevie Wonder closes the disc with the banging “1-2-3 Sesame Street.”

Score: 10.0

Disc Two

Disc Two starts off hot, with the Pointer Sisters’ “Pinball Number Count” (y’know that song whose melody Jill Scott subtly lifted on her 2000 hit “Getting’ In The Way.”) Talk about your blast from the past. It’s an extended version too. Then the whole neighborhood, including Mr. Hooper, sings “I’ve Got Two” which is just a fun song.

There aren’t too many classics on this disc. Besides the aforementioned Pointer Sister track there is the “African Alphabet” (which sounds oddly like the American one) and “C Is For Cookie” by Cookie Monster. Oscar the Grouch’s “I Love Trash” is also a great song.

What it lacks in classics it more than makes up for in forgotten jewels. “Little Things” is a awesome duet with Tony Bennett and Lexine. “Mah Na Mah Na” is a sublime treasure, and “What’s the Name of That Song” is just a joy. There is nothing but pure fun in “Captain Vegetable.” And “This Frog” 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.

Score: 10.0

Disc Three

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.

Score: 4.0

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)