Norman Foote

Pictures on the Fridge

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Children are not stupid. Not every adult, not even every kids' singer, knows that. Norman Foote does. Maybe that is why his songs can be frustrating for an adult to listen to -- while he doesn't try to fool children with less than top-quality music, he also does not offer much adult content. His voice and emotion is pure, but he sings about magnets on the refrigerator ("Pictures on the Fridge"), cleaning the house ("Everybody Pitchin' In"), and talking animals ("Spider Dan"). The songs here are pretty standard Foote material, incorporating humorous, gently spiteful lyrics like "My sister smacks her lips when she eats; I could eat better with my two feet" and peppy, inspirational songs that sound like they could have been taken from a storybook (as "Spider Dan" is). Perhaps his music is frustrating at times because adults feel the need to infringe their own beliefs and personalities onto everything we see; it is their nature. Children are much more open-minded than that. Children absorb the world around them. Adults try to take over the world. So, in an adult's opinion, the best songs on Pictures on the Fridge will be those pop songs written by artists other than Foote. These are songs Foote has likely enjoyed listening to in his adulthood and found fitting for a children's album. Randy Newman's classic "Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear" gets a glossy remake, as does the zippy "Bye Bye Blackbird" and the lovely "Magic Penny." These are all "feel good" songs. They will make anyone feel good, but not necessarily like a child. The rest of the songs are more "feel like a child" songs, meaning they are tolerable for adults but not altogether engaging. Children get the best of both worlds, since every song tends to the cravings of a young one's mind. Foote comes closer than most kids' singers in appeasing adults as well. It is that closeness which begs for the release of an adult album. While such a request would be infringement by an adult, it would probably make for one of the most charming, original pop albums in years -- an adult album that appeases children, instead of the other way around.

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