After acclaim for her album, Skeletons of the Muse, San Fran singer/songwriter Aoede (pronounced “A-E-D) decided to tap her personal muse once more and parlay the tracks from the album into a tween fairy tale disc. She penned an accompanying script that tells the story of Aoede, the first muse of song from Ancient Greek Mythology, who growing restless with her duties on Olympus, decides to embark on a quest for love. This results in the young muse traveling to the land of Wonderhaven where she meets an eclectic cast of characters, each lending a personal facet of love.
The album follows a standard format with narrative script that provides back-story, moves the storyline along and describes the geography of Wonderhaven. The tracks are woven into the story arc as Aoede meets the cast of characters along the way and each explains their individual approach to love in song. What’s striking is that the narrative is written so cleverly that it leaves one wondering whether the songs came first or were written specifically for the latter album. Kudos must go to the story writing and weaving an appropriate storyline around already existing tracks. The instrumentation within the tracks is as eclectic as the characters within the storyline, the likes of “Reason To Smile” with its intermittent tuba and trombone honks lends a big top carnival feel to the track; or demure, plucky ukulele leading the melody of “Little Things.” The vocal effects and eerie backing keys on “Skeletons” again follow the storyline and lend credence to the track title. But perhaps the biggest benefit of the album is its ability to entertain while lending an educational factor. Each character along the way explains a “type” of love and the messages within the songs easily translates to the listener, far beyond the fictional Wonderhaven. And through the guise of entertainment, the lessons of the songs are passed along.
Aoede’s “Is Love A Fairy Tale?”
This was challenging in that I don’t have kids of my own, but you don’t have to look very deep into the album to realize what makes this good. First, it is incredibly clever and seamless. Again, the songs seem to have been written for the narrative and/or for a stand-alone album. The creativity is vast and makes one wonder if Aoede does in fact have a muse. Also noteworthy is that this was written for children. Sure, Aoede isn’t the only artist focusing on the young, young generations. But, the effort to address them in the form of educational, coming-of-age lessons is commendable. Kids or not… I approve of the effort.
by Christopher West – firstname.lastname@example.org