Welcome to the Kingdom of Animalia! Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke (KWMC) are back and this time they have a whole new cast of animal characters for you to meet. Animal Tales is the duo’s fourth album and one that you should expect to spend a lot of time with because it’s just that good. We have had it on repeat for over a month now and I still learn something new with every spin. Em liked it so much that she illustrated her own book featuring every animal from the album. Now that’s love! She even insisted on contributing her own thoughts “for other kids!” which is featured at the end of this review.
As always, the brilliance of KWMC’s work can be found within the fine-tuned details. Whether it’s Wilde’s gorgeous illustration that graces the album’s cover or the skillful way each song is constructed, it’s clear that this talented duo puts a ton of thought into their work. Imagine if you were to open a National Geographic Kids or Ranger Rick magazine and there was music playing on each page. Animal Tales takes the pages of these beloved magazines and brings them to life with soundtracks that are cleverly matched to a variety of animal personalities. The songs are rich with fun animal facts that also include the the artists’ lovable sense of humor and clever ability to play with words and phrases, making it one of the most listenable and entertaining albums out there. “The Buck Stops Here,” is a prime example of these guys totally nailing it.
“I heard that the buck stops here/ They tell me that the buck stops here/ But I’ve been here for a year/ And I Ain’t seen a single deer/ Gotta move on it’s time to roam/ But I’ll wait until the cows come home/ Heard that the buck stops here/ …/I’m waiting ’til the cows to come home/ But the cows may never come home/ It’s a waste of time and I’ll tell you why/ Cows will come home when pigs can fly… /Some say pigs can fly/ Others say it’s just a lie/ Never seen a pig in the sky/ But the doctor says pigs can fly/ Doctor said it so it must be true/ Doctor said “Swine flu.”
“Larry the Lobster” also includes a brief quip which gets me smiling every time. When Herman the Hermit Crab moves to a new shell, he bids his anemone friends farewell by saying, “With friends like me who needs anemones?”
While most of the 13 tracks on the album relate to animal stories, there is also support for wildlife conservation, reminding us of the challenges animal’s face whether it’s due to population decline, habitat changes or environmental challenges. “The Bear Song,” one of our favorite songs, teaches about 8 species of bears throughout the world.There’s even a shout out for the sugary kind. Do you know the color of a Polar Bear’s skin or which bear sings her cubs to sleep? The song and its accompanying video were created in collaboration with the Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, a non-profilt wildlife rehabilitation facility dedicated to the care and release of orphaned and injured wildlife. Emily loves this song so much that she actually said to me “mama, be quiet and listen to the facts.” I mean, that’s for real.
Animals have always been a central theme with this duo. Animal Tales, in particular, was largely inspired by Wilde’s interest in animals from his own childhood and the intrigue they brought him. He explains,
“As a child I was constantly drawing pictures of animals. I loved reading about animals and observing them whenever possible. To me, each species expressed its own character and personality. Music was another big obsession and I suppose I made this record because I would have loved it when I was a kid.”
Animal tales is truly an album for families to share. Listeners will be treated to a musical expedition accompanied by a bountiful supply of fresh tracks that both educate and entertain. You’re always taken on a wild adventure with this dynamic duo which is exactly why we love them.
Emily’s Take: They always know what to do about soaring things in the sky and on land. Bears, birds and bees, squirrels and frogs. Things you don’t know about animals you get to learn! They make children laugh. It’s kind of funny when you think about a cat named Beastapuss. Animal facts are fun.
– Animal Tales was produced by Grammy-winning producer Dean Jones
– Favorite songs: The Bear Song, Alligator Get-Together, Beastapuss
– Key Wilde has done artwork for Avanti Greeting Cards, the Central Park Conservancy and the Woodlands Wildelife Refuge which was featured in a book called Broke Leg Bear, a true story about a badly injured cub who was rehabilitated and released back into the wild. Learn more and purchase the book here.
– KWMC’s “Animal Alphabet” video has reached over 660,000 views! The song is also featured in a Mibblio app along with Wilde’s beautiful artwork.
Meet Armando Armadillo from last week’s video release and grab a FREE DOWNLOAD of the song.