CD Review of Camp Lisa by Lisa Loeb
Recommended if you like
Mary Lou Lord, Kay Hanley,
Elizabeth Mitchell
Furious Rose
Lisa Loeb: Camp Lisa

Reviewed by Jeff Giles


f all the performers who have made the leap from grown-ups’ to kids’ music over the last few years, it’s possible that none have jumped quite so short a distance as Lisa Loeb. During the sad flannel ‘90s, when girls became grrrls, nobody was making cuddlier femme-pop than Loeb – and with her high, girlish vocals and so-cute-it-hurts image, she may as well have been gearing her songs to youngsters from the beginning. Hell, the cover of 2002’s Hello Lisa even features a picture of Hello Kitty.

As her footprint in the wider marketplace has shrunk, Loeb – like a handful of other savvy-but-underselling artists – has sought out alternative avenues for her music, including starring in a pair of reality series and, yes, making children’s music. Her first kid-targeted effort, 2004’s Catch the Moon, was a reunion with Elizabeth Mitchell, with whom Loeb performed early in her career; for Camp Lisa, she goes it alone – sort of – and threads a concept through the album’s 19 tracks. (If you guessed “summer camp” for the concept, give yourself a gold star.)

Yes, it’s got 19 tracks, but don’t worry about your kids losing interest – Camp Lisa is just a hair over 35 minutes long, and none of the songs even break the four-minute mark. The album is a fast-paced blend of Loeb originals and traditional camp songs, kicking off with “Ready for the Summer,” a song familiar to kids of the ‘80s as the “Meatballs” theme song, done up right here with gang vocals from a kids’ chorus. From there, it’s a quick run through stuff you’ll probably remember (“Home on the Range,” “Cookie Jar Chant,” “Father Abraham”) and stuff you won’t, but that fits right in anyway (“Best Friend,” “When It Rains”). She invites a few friends to join in the fun, including Jill Sobule, Nina Gordon, and Steve Martin, who lends his inimitable banjo to “The Disappointing Pancake.” (Yes, it’s hard to explain – but your kids will be singing it.)

All in all, the album is a lot like summer camp itself: you may wonder what you’re getting yourself into before it starts, but you’ll have to work pretty hard not to have a good time, and when it’s over, you’ll be ready to do it all over again. It’s exceedingly light and fluffy, even for a kids’ album – a lot of the songs fall around or under the two-minute mark – but it’s still a whole lot of fun while it lasts. Parents of children over the age of five should prepare to hear plenty of Camp Lisa on family trips this summer – and Loeb should prepare to hear tiny shrieks of “Play ‘The Disappointing Pancake!’” at her shows from now on.

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

Around the Web