Sound Off!

Neil Sedaka Updates Hits for Grandkids

by Kathy O’Connell

CD: Neil Sedaka: Waking Up Is Hard To Do. Pre-Beatles rocker Neil Sedaka re-imagines his hits in this CD, which was inspired by his own grandchildren.

Sedaka’s “Calendar Girl” becomes a love song to “My Dinosaur Pet.” Substitute “waking” for “breaking,” and the title tune becomes an ode to morning routines. The CD is full of grandfatherly advice about dressing for weather (“Laughter in the Rain”) and safety rules (“Is This the Way to Cross the Street?”).

It’s old fashioned and timely at the same time, using 1962-ish beats to reach new generations in loving language they’ll understand. With more than six decades of pop success, Neil Sedaka crafted the kind of album you’d make for your grandkids if you could.

Band: Dog on Fleas: Beautiful World. If your 2009 goals include discovering a new band, check out Dog on Fleas. They bring strong musical chops and wit to all their work without getting the attention of better-known bands. The latest CD opens with a world music celebration on the title cut, then slides into a hip hop request to “tell me about all the things you love” on “Star Tonight.” Take the advice to “Crawl to Your Mother” (“tell her you love her”). They’re consistently funky and fun and folkie. Find all their music at

Song/video: “I Thought I Lost You,” Miley Cyrus & John Travolta. The Bolt soundtrack is Disney’s standard collection of instrumentals that don’t work outside the film’s context. The album’s standout exception is this duet single about a girl (Miley Cyrus as Penny) and her dog (John Travolta as Bolt). The video is everywhere. Skip the soundtrack. There’s more Bolt for your buck on the compilation CD Disney Box Office Hits, including Carrie Underwood’s “Ever Ever After” from Enchanted.

Kathy O’Connell is a contributing writer to MetroKids and host of the Peabody-award-winning Kids Corner, weekdays 7-8pm on WXPN 88.5 FM.