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Laurie Berkner sings in little music videos that appear between TV shows on Nickelodeon Jr. That means all of her songs are aimed at really, really little kids. Which means those songs are really, really repetitive. From a strictly musical standpoint, there is little to recommend Let’s Hear It For The Laurie Berkner Band, the DVD out September 14th from Paramount Home Entertainment. If you watch the video posted above (the second song on this disc), you will understand that both Victor and Freddie ate their food like good little boys…or good New Jersey mobsters…and then did so again, over and over and over and over.
Kids like any repetitive, bouncy and friendly music. They like the Wiggles. And the Jonas Brothers. And AC/DC. So they’re bound to like Laurie Berkner who, like Suzanne Pinel and Sharon Lois and Bram before her is bouncy and cheerful and pleasant and totally kid-friendly. And I’m sure that they can sit through 45 minutes of this, although parents may not be able to hold out that long.
Here’s the thing though – I think there is another market for Laurie Berkner’s music, much like there’s another market for cartoonishly upbeat bonkers children’s fare such as Spongebob and Yo Gabba Gabba. The stoners. Not being a stoner myself of course, I don’t know for sure that this DVD would go perfectly with an afternoon of giddy weed-fueled shenanigans. I don’t know whether the random children who appear, floating in the air, would produce giggles or wide-eyed wonder. I don’t know if the repetitive, relentlessly upbeat songs would be mesmerizing. But I suspect they would.
I also think there is something else going on behind the music. Although Laurie Berkner appears to be a chipper, effervescent Sunday-School-style goody goody, I suspect that once the cameras are off, a new Ms. Berkner appears. I think that after spending the whole day playing Paul Anka For Kiddies, she drives home to the strains of Megadeth with the windows cranked low in her Escalade. Then the Wu-Tang reverberates through her house as she downs shots of tequila and logs on to a fetish website.
I have a healthy distrust of most children’s entertainers. I suspect the worst of that pirate guy on Spongebob and the dude from Blue’s Clues, just as I did Pee wee Herman and Mister Rogers in their day. But I trust Laurie Berkner. I think she is probably a very warm-hearted and lovely person. With a dark side. One that comes through a tiny bit in songs like “Victor Vito” (seen above). I think it’s possible that Victor Vito and Freddie Vasco are more than just characters in her song. I think they may also be her bookies.