Amanda Grace is an artist who released a children's album entitled Trains, Cars & A Trip to Mars. At least I think it is supposed to be a children's album but it feels more or less just like an album about what kids do. There really isn’t that much different on this album from any other singer/songwriter with a nice voice and decent skills on the piano. I feel like adults are more apt to enjoy this than children. For example I can’t see many young kids enjoying “Cloudy Day” or “Rainbow Skies” which are slow moving melancholy songs and don’t have much of a hook. Songs for children need easy hooks and simple language. Some of these songs seem too much for children to grasp.
Grace has enough skill and talent to make these songs sound good. That being said she occasionally drops in sound effects and samples, which almost completely ruin the songs. There is a way to do this but the way these effects are implemented simply distract and separate you from the song.
The album starts with “Candy Planet” which starts with a simple piano melody and vocals. I can’t believe no one thought it might be better to omit the samples that not only mask the melodies but are so loud in the mix.
Grace continues to sing in the first person as if she is the child on “Alphabet Map.” The samples on “I Dreamt About Trains” are the most overt and incongruous. Other songs like “Little Girl At Our House” and “I Love You” are slow moving, melancholy piano ballads.
At the end of the day the biggest problem with this release is that it won’t resonate with a certain demographic. Sorry to say but very little about these songs sound kid friendly especially compared to what else is in the market for the little ones. It also doesn’t have much appeal to adults because of the subject matter. Grace does have talent when it comes to songwriting and playing but the direction of this release is confusing at best.
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