I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend: CD Review

Yeah. I know. A CD review? When’s the last time I did one of those? (Answer: never.) However, I just bought my first CD in a very long time, and I listened to it with the fam on the whole drive home to Maine yesterday. (That’s a lot of drive, in case you were wondering.) And when you get your paws on something you like, you pay it forward. Share the love.

Even if the love is called “I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend.”

First off, you need to know a bit about me and my musical tastes. I’m pretty eclectic, when you get right down to it. I like things that are different. Quirky. And Neon and Shy’s CD features songs played on the accordion, tuba, and toy piano. Ya don’t get much quirkier than that. However, there’s such a thing as too quirky (or so I’ve been told), and I’m thinking some of you are wondering right now if accordion/tuba/toy piano CDs cross that line.

No, my friends. It doesn’t.

The album is just flat out fun to listen to. I’d heard some of the songs before, but after listening to the whole thing several times, let me pick out a few of my favorites:

  • The Dairyland Trilogy–This is something I never “got” until I listened to the album. Neon and Shy’s been talking about Dairyland for a long time. Extolling its virtues. Mourning its departure. From what I’d gathered, it was an ice cream place somewhere in Philadelphia, and it was popular with accordion players. So popular that songs were written in its honor. And then, tragically, in its memory. I wasn’t prepared to see just how much an ice cream place could mean to a man. The first song (O Dairyland) is a hymn to the store. It was recorded in the store, and you can hear all the store’s patrons singing along. In the second (Dairyland So Sweet), we hear all about the store’s move, and how great it is. It’s peppy, fun, and extremely catchy. In the final song (Nothing Ties Me Anymore to Main Street), we hear of the store’s passing. This last song is one of the best ones on the album. It’s contemplative, it’s got great lyrics and a wonderful melody, and I find myself laughing and feeling sad at the same time. I never thought a song about an ice cream store could be so moving, and I mean that sincerely.
  • Geriatric Grave Robbers–This is a song that took me a bit to get used to. It’s discordant, and kind of disturbing. Based on a single quote overheard in the park, “The whole thing is getting the skull size big enough for the brain to expand.” I just didn’t “get it.” Then TRC and DC listened to it, and they just love the song. I can’t wait for the next baby sitter to come over and hear TRC mumbling to himself, “The whole thing is getting the skull size big enough for the brain to expand.”
  • Wedding Day–Synth, moody, with great lyrics and a fantastic duet at the end. This is another song that I find myself singing in my head, days after I last listened to it. I’ve always been a fan of synth (I grew up in the 80s, after all), and this captures that blend of quirky and accessible I really like.
  • Ladies–I’d really like to see George Costanza singing this one in a musical Seinfeld episode. In the meantime, I’m perfectly happy to hear it on accordion. An autobiographical song about all the singer’s ex-girlfriends, and how they’ve all switched sides, so to speak. It’s really funny, and very catchy. If the CD had a single that would be released for a wide audience, this would likely be it.
I don’t want to give away the whole thing. The entire album is available to purchase (or listen to in its entirety) right here. Full disclosure: I’m not just a fan of Neon and Shy, I’m a friend, too. I’ve known him since high school, but anyone who knows me also knows I wouldn’t just plug someone because we were friends. My musical reputation’s on the line here, folks. I stand by this one. It’s a great album, and I’m really happy to have my own copy. Give it a shot, and pass it on. It’s just as hard to get noticed in the music scene as it is to get seen in the publishing industry. As always, word of mouth is king. So if you hear/read/see something you like–make sure to tell other people about it.

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