If you want to turn into a pile of mush, Dream Too Much may be just the album for you. Amy Lee first hinted at the new project, inspired by her two-year-old son, Jack, early this year, when Amy started sharing photos and videos on social media showing her recording new music. After much guessing by the fans, one of Amy’s recording partners, bassist Jason Hull, let slip in April that Amy was working on a children’s album.
In a February Q&A on Facebook, Amy intimated that Jack “inspires [her] to work harder, make better music, make every moment count! I want him to be proud of me.” Amy started the project with her dad, John, to make music for Jack, and they eventually brought in practically the whole family. Amy’s two sisters, Lorrie and Carrie, sing harmony, John plays ukulele, dobro, and banjo, her Uncle Tom plays guitar, bass, and harmonica, and her youngest brother Robby lends vocals, as does John. Even young Jack makes an appearance on one of the songs!
The family express their joy in every song on the album. Amy and her family play around with instrumentation, using keyboards, ukulele, mallets, and more – even bird songs! The three sisters have a fun time with their harmonics throughout the album, and Amy’s father, John, takes leading vocals in two songs – “Rubber Duckie” and “Goodnight My Love.”
If you’re used to hearing Amy’s powerful vocals soaring over the choirs and distorted guitars of Evanescence, this album will likely give you quite a shock. It’s unfailingly playful, and it takes a song or two to get used to Amy’s distinctive voice singing these songs meant for children. Once you buy in, though, Dream Too Much is an enjoyable listen – but it really is meant for children, so keep that in mind.
Track by Track
“Stand By Me” – Amy and the fam begin the album with a cover of the classic song first performed by Ben E. King. Sisters Lorrie and Carrie create the beat with their bouncy “bum-bum-bum” harmony. The song finds its foundation in acoustic guitar and ukulele, along with a slew of other playful instruments. “Stand By Me” is actually one of the more serious songs on the album, but the family keeps it entertaining.
“Dream Too Much” – Carrie and Lorrie’s chorus of “bum-bum-bums” brings us into the eponymous first single off of the album. Amy wrote this song for Jack, in which she lists all kinds of crazy and silly things that can happen in dreams, like it being a “very windy day at the bottom of the ocean.” During the bridge, Amy gets serious about the lesson she wants Jack to take away, which is that “in dreams you can do anything you want to, and once in a while you’ll have a dream that comes true.” The song begins with a dreamy ukulele riff before leading into the bass-y chorus. “Dream Too Much” as a distinct overlay of a lullaby.
“Bee And Duck” – Following the inspirational “Dream Too Much,” this 36-second songs tells the silly story of a bee and a duck who were friends until the duck decided to eat his buzzing buddy’s honey, so the bee in turn stung the duck. This funny interlude includes buzzing and quacking over piano and marimba.
“I’m Not Tired” – Amy seems to have written this song equally for herself as for Jack. Any parent will be able to relate to the list of excuses that the narrating child gives for not being able to go to bed yet. Amy, Carrie, and Lorrie create strong harmonies throughout the song over mallets and a music box. One of the sisters takes the voice of child showing off her counting abilities, thereby putting herself to sleep. It’s a playful song that will amuse children and parents alike.
“Little Bird” – One of the best songs on the album is “Little Bird,” which has the narrator befriending multiple birds outside her window. Amy name-drops the whip-poor-will, mourning dove, and the cardinal, and she even uses each of these birds’ calls over her piano-driven lullaby. The song opens and closes with the general bird calls you might hear in the American midwest. This is a beautiful piece that appreciates the beauty of the wildlife Jack might find right outside his window, and it urges listeners to be kind to their feathered friends.
“Alice” – “Alice” is another under-one-minute diddy which tells the somewhat horrifying story of a tall, skinny girl slipping on the soap in the bathtub, which sends her careening down the hall. The three sisters once again find perfect harmony over a harp. Highlight of the song: “Oh, my goodness! Bless my soul! There goes Alice down the hall!” Alice’s fate is unclear by the end of the song, with the sisters simply singing “glub, glub, glub.”
“Rubber Duckie” – The album follows the story with a cover of the Muppets classic “Rubber Duckie,” which Bert and Ernie originally performed. Ukulele strumming drives the duet between Amy and John. Rubber duckie sounds can be heard, punctuating certain lines. Overall, the song has a jazzy feel – an awfully classy genre for a song praising a rubber bath toy.
“Hello Goodbye” – One of the most enjoyable songs on the album is the family’s cover of this classic Beatles song. All three sisters find their voice during this relatively faithful cover. Amy’s brother Robby also sings backup, and Jack makes a surprise cameo with his “Goodbye! Goodbye!” This song is also one the few on the album to use an actual drum set alongside what sound like kazoos.
“Donkey And Chicken” – You can imagine that this short song tells a story Amy made up for her son. The marching drum beat drives the tale of a donkey and chicken who escaped their barnyard to eat ice cream. The two eat too much of the dessert over the chimes of a glockenspiel, and their misstep forces them to sleep off their tummy aches on the side of the road that night. Harmonica and banjo contribute to a farm sound.
“The End Of The Book” – “Donkey and Chicken” ends with the sisters singing “THE EEEEENNNNNDDDD,” which is an ironic lead-in to this song. “The End Of The Book” could almost be an anthem for fanfiction writers as Amy croons that just because the book has ended doesn’t mean you can’t imagine more to the story. She encourages the listeners to add fun adventures for the characters and to even add themselves to the story. You can also just go back and read the book again! This song features a strong kick drum during the chorus and bongo drums during the versus, both of which really serve to motivate the listener to go forth with their headcanons.
“If You’re A Star” – This dreamy song is another highlight of the album. Amy questions what stars see from way up there and how they sleep if they can never turn off their light. “If You’re A Star” is a genuinely beautiful, piano-driven song. Amy accents the lullaby with violin and perfectly captures the wonder that the universe can bring us all, young and old. Amy’s vocals shine in their softness, and the song plays off some of the sentiments you might find in an Evanescence song.
“Goodnight My Love” – Amy’s dad, John, shines in this cover of the R&B classic originally recorded by Jesse Belvin. He croons over an acoustic guitar and Amy’s harp in his wishes for his love to sleep well. This song makes the perfect end to an album of lullabies and truly caps off an album borne of love for family and child.
Highlights on Dream Too Much include “Dream Too Much,” “I’m Not Tired,” “Little Bird,” “The End Of The Book,” “If You’re A Star,” and “Goodnight My Love.”
You can buy Dream Too Much on Amazon now.
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