I started these reviews when I got sent a Wang Chung album as a joke, and Kev and Sarah had just reviewed a Papples album in this format, and I thought it was a fun thing to do with a CD I’d been sent. Then more CDs started arriving. But I never thought we’d end up here. The CDs that arrived were just crap albums, and I would write reviews of how amusingly bad they were. Until now. Now I’ve been sent… I mean, what is this? It’s called “‘Til Their Eyes Shine: The Lullaby Album”. It’s a 1992 charity compilation of slow, snoozy numbers by female artists that will supposedly put a child to sleep, though for my taste half are too lively for that and the rest are too disturbing.
Am I being punished, somehow? Is this horrendous mush the price I pay for some indiscretion I committed? I don’t know. I just know it was awful.
My thoughts on this album are influenced by two extra factors. One is that I listened to it while scanning in a stack of pictures, so the noise of the scanner got in the way of it a bit, and given that it’s supposed to be relaxing sleep music, it was a bit of a shame I had to keep turning up the volume and blast it out just to hear it. The second is that I listened to it just before I started the first of a run of nightshifts. What I needed was to stay awake through the night, for about 16 hours after listening to this, so the fact it’s an album of lullabies hardly seems fair.
In the end I stayed awake without any problems at all, so it turns out these lullabies aren’t much cop.
|Carrie (by Rosanne Cash)
|Child of Mine (by Emmylou Harris)
|Dún du Shúile (by Maura O’Connell)
|To A Child (by Laura Nyro)
|Lullaby for a Doll (by Kate and Anna McGarrigle)
|Nayib’s Song (by Gloria Estefan)
|Go to Sleep (by Deniece Williams)
|If I Didn’t Have You to Wake Up To (by Carole King)
|Dream (by Brenda Russell)
|Sail Away (by Dionne Warwick)
|Dreamland (by Mary-Chapin Carpenter)
My overall conclusion is that this is an album of all the kinds of music I’d least like to hear: slow country ballads, mushy sentimental female singer-songwriter stuff from the late 80s, that sort of thing. I don’t know what the exact definition of a “lullaby” actually is, but I’m not convinced that a single one of these songs qualifies.
Some tracks are bizarre. Track 8 asks “who’d take my troubles and put them in bubbles?”. Track 6 – which is apparently Gloria Estefan, though you could have fooled me – is halfway between the Lion King and a Belinda Carlisle B-side, and has the highly improbable chorus line “it’s an ongoing process”. But the worst is track 5, “Lullaby for a Doll”.
Lullaby for a Doll is the stuff of nightmares. Actual nightmares. Sung in low, breathy tones, it describes playing with lifelike dolls as a child – complete with detailed descriptions of how their eyes were hinged so they opened when the doll sat up and closed when it lay down – and then about having a daughter who was like a doll who came to life. There’s a passage in the middle about growing up and getting yourself a dentist. It was deeply unsettling, and I was glad I wasn’t going to bed after listening to it. I wrote down the thing I involuntarily said out loud when it finished, slightly in shock from the horrors of it, which was “that was the creepiest load of old shit I’ve ever heard in my life”.
In summary, then, the worst thing about this album is that, if you ever tried to get a child to sleep with it, they’d grow up a psychotic murderer. The best thing is that the CD is badly scratched and in several places it started skipping and making alarming bursts of white noise. Those bits were the most enjoyable parts for me.