No one saw it coming in the mid 1970s
when Barry Louis Polisar's debut kids' album appeared on the record store shelves. Music for children up to that point had been, at its most reverent, folky renditions of traditional tunes, and at its most irreverent, silly songs like "On Top of Spaghetti." Out of nowhere came a guy singing songs about hating mean teachers, not using manners, and shutting up in the library. I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children
is like a collaboration amongst The Dead Milkmen
, Bob Dylan
, and Weird Al Yankovic
, and if you read between the lines of these silly songs you'll find one of the most socially and politically driven albums this side of Pete Seeger. Make sure to check out the liner notes
of the original album release!
Barry Louis Polisar
has been recording music for kids for almost forty years. His debut album I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children
made lots of kids laugh and riled up lots of grown ups when it was released in 1975, but Polisar hasn't looked back since. His simple, unpolished vocals and acoustic guitar have graced a dozen or so CDs that still induce giggles, spit takes, and grins. Polisar is probably most famous for the inclusion of his song "All I Want is You" in the 2007 movie Juno
and on the accompanying soundtrack Juno: Music from the Motion Picture
. "All I Want is You" originally appeared on Polisar's 1977 album My Brother Thinks He's a Banana and Other Provocative Songs for Children
The Music of 'I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children'
On I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children
, Polisar covers adult-centered subjects as diverse as pollution
and priorities ("I Don't Brush My Teeth and I Never Comb My Hair"), perpetuating job security ("My Dentist is an Awfully Nice Man"), and vegetarianism
("I Eat Kids"), all with a keen sense of wit and sarcasm. Polisar also speaks for children through songs like "Shut Up in the Library," "To Mommy," "He Eats Asparagus, Why Can't You Be That Way?" and "I Don't Believe You're Going to the Bathroom." He's great at looking at the world from a kid's point of view and expressing the frustration, confusion, and anger children feel
when grown ups say one thing but do another.
More Music from 'I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children'
Polisar tackles other heavy subjects like the futility of war
("When Suzie Sneezed"), making one's life meaningful ("My Friend Jake"), and the longing for understanding ("Fred"). Of course, Polisar includes a couple of simple, tender love songs
like "Me and You" and "I Need You Like a Doughnut Needs a Hole" to lighten up the intense silliness of I Eat Kids and Other Songs for Rebellious Children
. If "All I Want is You" drew you to Polisar in the first place, then these two tunes will be right up your musical alley.
Polished? No. Unfailingly in tune? No. Session musician-grade instrumentation? No. But Barry Louis Polisar and his acoustic guitar pack more power in their unadorned glory than most studio-produced music projects. Polisar is irreverent, sarcastic, funny, and knows what kids like to hear. Above all, Barry Louis Polisar is an intelligent, opinionated guy who has the ability to get his message across via seemingly silly kids' tunes. I mean, how many children's musicians nowadays quote T.S. Eliot in their CD liner notes?
Released 1975; Rainbow Morning Music Alternatives
- "He Eats Asparagus, Why Can't You Be That Way?"
- "I'm A Three-Toed, Triple Eyed, Double Jointed Dinosaur"
- "I Don't Brush My Teeth and I Never Comb My Hair"
- "My Dentist is an Awfully Nice Man"
- "I Eat Kids"
- "Need You Like a Donut Needs a Hole"
- "I Never Did Like You Anyhow"
- "To Mommy"
- "Shut Up in the Library"
- "I Don't Believe You're Going to the Bathroom"
- "I Sneaked Into the Kitchen in the Middle of the Night"
- "I've Got a Teacher, She's So Mean"
- "Me and You"
- "Giggle Tickle Fiddle Little Wiggle Around"
- "When Suzie Sneezed"
- "My Friend Jake"
- "Early Sunday Morning"