Michael & the Rockness Monsters! Present SEEING LIFE IN 2020
Come on a joyous, educational, and entertaining journey through the past with Michael & the Rockness Monsters! Their eclectic new album Seeing Life in 2020 spans 10 decades of music in jazz, folk, country, blues, funk, pop, rock, TV, and film.
Michael & the Rockness Monsters and their educational sister company Rockness Music believe in the power of music to educate children. On Seeing Life in 2020, the group goes on an engaging look-back at songs from the past hundred years, with a tune to represent each decade. Michael & the Rockness Monsters and Rockness Music always work to bridge the gap between "music for children'" and "music for adults." This record was a natural progression, bringing the two together.
Seeing Life in 2020 was inspired by frontman Michael Napolitano and his family's lifelong love of music from every era: "I remember being entranced by new genres. I knew that by using my memories, my experience, and my education, I could offer children a fun, cohesive musical library to draw on themselves...something to spark conversations and make new memories." Michael calls himself "the first Rockness Monster." As a child, he spent days spinning records from his parents' vast collection. His father entertained as a professional drummer, which brought Michael into rehearsals for every style imaginable: doo-wop, jazz, blues, swing, rock, folk, funk, and disco.
The band hopes this collection will serve as a starting point for families to explore and connect with unknown times and types of music. The shared experience can start conversations about history, the future, culture, politics, and news. For a project this ambitious, picking tracks required much research. Song selection was influenced by Michael's parents' impressive knowledge from the 20s to the 60s; many of the featured tracks were a part of his own childhood. Songs were chosen to represent a time in our nation's past as well as prove appropriate and engaging for all.
The time travel begins with the retro-sounding "Seeing Life In 2020." The title track is the only original song on the album, educationally centered on the inventions and pop culture of the last century. The 1920s pick, "Side By Side," was recorded live with a special guest, Grammy winner Lucy Kalantari. It was chosen for its message of togetherness, despite the Great Depression raging on at the time it was written. For the 1930s, the band underscored the message of positivity and love with one of the most recognizable songs in history: the classic "You Are My Sunshine," sung sweetly by Michael's daughters, Sienna and Emilia. In turn, "Mairzy Doats" is a 40s pop song Michael's mother used to sing to him. It's a silly number reimagined here with a modern twist.
"Choo'n Gum" is an amusing ditty from the 50s that inspired the concept of the record. Michael points out, "'Choo'n Gum' and 'Mairzy Doats' are not children's songs at all. In fact, they were written for adults in the 40s and 50s, at a time when the country was touched by war." As a result, many songs like these relied on silly subject matter to mask the troubling status of current events. The lyrics on both songs are catchy, just plain ridiculous, and perfect for this band.
Fan favorite "All Together Now" by The Beatles introduces the 1960s. In Michael's experience, he knows that repeating numbers and colors are ideal for little listeners. Much like it was in the 70s, our modern world is topsy-turvy. "Yes We Can Can" (1970) is a standout, setting an encouraging message to Rockness' signature soaring horn lines and funky beats. This tune keeps the positivity and energy flowing. Producer Dean Jones guests on trombone. Straight out of Michael's 1980s youth, his version of Van Halen's "Jump" is a mellower take on a raucous hit, making it fresh and accessible for younger audiences. "You've Got A Friend In Me" (90s) and "Move Your Feet" (00s) were popularized by the movies, and "A Life That's Good" (10s) from the TV series Nashville closes the album. Michael chose the latter, a favorite of his daughters, to beautifully carry the message of unity and love through to the very end.
Seeing Life In 2020 will be available on October 11, 2019, digitally and physically, wherever families find great music. Visit michaelandtherocknessmonsters.com for more information.
Rockness Music founder Michael Napolitano presents Michael & The Rockness Monsters, an interactive, supergalactic, funk-inspired, rock-n-roll experience for families. These records are a voyage into the child's subconscious. The music shines with creativity, catchy melodies, and thick instrumentation. It's intelligent, fun, and full of humor. Over 10 years Michael has written, produced, performed, and recorded 6 records, making him super attuned to the landscape of children's music. His 10 years in Blue Man Group is evident in the slamming drum beats and eclectic instrumentation that will get your hips moving. During their live shows, the stage disappears and everyone goes on a creative voyage together.