Childhood is full of big and small moments, and sometimes, those mix together. What seems like a big moment now becomes a small moment in retrospect and vice versa. That’s something I’ve been thinking about in listening to Hullabaloo’s latest CD, I Chew. Many of the songs on I Chew celebrate moments in childhood.
The first song on the CD (and the girls’ favourite) is about wanting a puppy for a birthday and getting a guppy instead. Since we’re in the middle of “birthday season” around here, this song was a good chance to talk about birthday wishes and birthday presents. It’s also a cute song about appreciating little things in life, like guppies.
Another song that made me laugh was “Air-O-Plane.” I still remember going on my first plane trip when I was about eight. Mom packed a journal for my brothers and I to write about our two-week trip to Ontario to visit her family. About half an hour into the flight, I wrote, “Flying isn’t as exciting as I thought it would be.” The flight attendant laughed at me.
“Air-O-Plane” captures that small kid excitement about a big trip. It reminds me of how much fun Jade had on the plane last summer. The song is also full of tongue-in-cheek humour about airplane service: “They feed you snacks on an air-o-plane… three peanuts in a plastic bag, orange juice in a tiny little cup…” When I was eight, we still got full meals on the plane.
I think my favourite song on the CD is “I Wear Pink.” There’s been a lot of debate on social media lately about boys playing with “girl toys” or wearing “girl colours” like pink, especially with Pink Shirt Day just behind us. Steve proudly sings about wearing pink and playing with dolls, and I heartily support that. My girls play with Hotwheels and dinosaurs and trains, and if we ever have a boy, I’m sure he’ll play dolls and do crafts with his big sisters. There shouldn’t be any shame around a child’s preference for toys or clothes, and “I Wear Pink” is a fun song that celebrates tough girls, boys wearing pink, and being yourself no matter what others think.
“I Wear Pink” is based on Steve’s real-life experience as a boy who mostly learned about life playing with his older sisters and other kids in his neighborhood who happened to be girls. Understandably, he wound up wearing a lot of pink and playing with dolls—that is, when he wasn’t surfing, skateboarding, and playing soccer and basketball with one of his best friends, Eileen, the neighborhood tomboy. Reminds me of growing up with brothers, although we played with our stuffed animals more than my dolls.
The rest of the CD is filled with songs that are just as fun and catchy as those tunes. Most of these are the result of Steve’s vow last February to write a song a day for 21 days. I Chew is the best of those songs, including the song Steve wrote on Day 16 to overcome his writer’s block. Steve says, “In many ways this album is about not over-thinking the creative process. It’s about capturing creative moments and trusting them.”
Steve Denyes and Brendan Kremer are the talents behind Hullabaloo. They first met in Kindergarten and began making music together in the 5th grade band (as they share in Shy Kid Blues, still one of the girls’ favourite CDs). Steve grew up to become an elementary school teacher and folk singer while Brendan became a rock n roll drummer. Hullabaloo was born when they played a few songs together for Brendan’s twin daughters’ first birthday. Since then, Hullabaloo has performed more than 3,000 shows. I Chew is their 12th album.
I received this CD for review courtesy of Walmania PR; all opinions expressed are my own.