Monday, June 15, 2020

incidental music spot of the day

We've recently acquired both an Amazon FireStick and a subscription to Disney+ in an attempt to broaden our kiddy-entertaining horizons a bit, especially during the current lockdown. One of the things that that's enabled us to do is instigate a movie night on Saturdays where we watch a wholesome family-oriented movie with all three kids, then pack the boy off to bed and watch something very slightly (but probably not much) more challenging. At the moment we're working our way through the Toy Story and Herbie series. 

Another thing we've now got access to is a far greater range of short children's animations. The particular one that the boy is currently fixated on is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, a pretty ghastly multicoloured CGI acid flashback nightmare featuring the eponymous rodent and his annoying pals Donald, Goofy and assorted others, having a variety of banal yet implausible adventures that involve some bullshit interactive "learning" element as a sop to parents feeling vaguely guilty about parking the kids in front of the TV at ten o'clock in the morning and skulking off to the kitchen to open a bottle of wine.


The show is, it goes without saying, augmented by some supremely earworm-y theme music at start and finish that you find yourself humming to yourself while in the kitchen long after the kids are in bed and then have to pummel your skull with a steak tenderiser to make it go away. The thing that I only became aware of later, when we attempted to get our Alexa to play the closing Hot Dog song, was that both the opening and closing songs are performed by American alternative rock funsters They Might Be Giants. These guys will be most familiar to casual UK listeners for their 1989 hit Birdhouse In Your Soul, an absurdly catchy number which it feels churlish to criticise, but I will anyway for its overly smug lyrical smart-arsery and (despite being only just over 3 minutes long) going on for about twice as long as it reasonably ought to. TMBG are, it turns out, old hands at producing music aimed at children, alongside their regular adult-oriented output. I would imagine a commission from an entity like the Disney corporation for a couple of bouncy kids' songs would be lucrative enough to finance any number of experimental jazz ear-flute explorations and I can completely see why they do it, and no criticism should be inferred, despite the general loathsomeness of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Speaking of lyrics, on my first listen to the Hot Dog song (from the next room, so without the benefit of any visual context and perhaps with some loss of sonic fidelity) I was appalled at the thinly-veiled but unmistakable ABSOLUTE FILTH contained in the lyric "we're splitting the seam, we're full of beans". Not an expression I'd ever specifically heard before, but its penetrative connotations seemed obvious. It turns out that this line is sung as the collected company of friends troops out of the Clubhouse at the end of the show, leaving it to magically fold up on itself and disappear, and is in fact "we're splitting the scene, we're full of beans". Those of you who have now got all fired up at the thought of an engorged Mickey Mouse furiously splitting Minnie's seam can almost certainly find something to satisfy you on the internet, Rule 34 being what it is.

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