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Last year, on holiday in Menorca at the tender age of two and a half, my little girl fell head over heels in love with the Mini Disco. Every morning, she'd ask if it was time for Mini Disco yet and every evening she'd been hitting the dance floor, dancing to such 'classics' as "Superman", "The Conga" and "The Cha Cha Slide". So, for her third birthday, she was given a CD player all of her own, a disco ball with coloured lights and this CD - entitled "My Favourite Mini Disco Songs" and we have been treated to the, slightly dubious 'pleasures' of this album ever since.
* Album Overview *
The first thing to remember in this review is that this is an album designed to appeal to young children. If you're buying it as an adult, for your own personal listening pleasure, then you'd probably be best keeping that fact to yourself! The front of the CD is clearly designed to appeal to its young target audience - a bright blue background with childish illustrations of a sun, seagulls and a line of children holding hands while dancing on a beach. Nothing clever or original about this particular album cover, but then there doesn't need to be. The title "My Favourite Mini Disco Songs" is written in bright chunky letters and underneath we are promised "38 Top Holidays Songs including YMCA, The Ketchup Song, Mambo No. 5, Macarena, Superman, La Bamba, Barbie Girl and many more"... have I sold it to you yet?
* Tracks *
As previously mentioned, there are 38 holiday songs on this album. I'm not going to list or review them all individually but this is a brief summary. It is worth noting at this point that a lot of the songs on the album are covers by groups with names like 'The Sunshine Superstars' or 'The Happy Holidays'. There are some by the original artists but not that many. The 'original version' tracks are 'Mambo No. 5' (Lou Bega), 'Hey Baby' (DJ Otzi), 'Is this the way to Amarillo' (Tony Christie), '5-6-7-8' (Steps), 'Follow Da Leader' (Nigel and Marvin), 'The Fast Food Song' (Fast Food Rockers), 'Cotton Eye Joe' (Rednex) and 'Hot Potato' (The Wiggles). There are also covers of a wide variety of other 'party' songs which I remember from the school discos of my childhood, various wedding discos and from dancing on floors sticky with spilt beer on the club nights of my university days... and the occasional sun-soaked, fishbowl cocktail fuelled 20-something holiday as well.
It is an eclectic mix of tracks spanning at least three decades - there's a bit of Black Lace with 'Agadoo', 'Superman' and 'The Conga', a bit of more traditional children's party songs with 'If You're Happy and You Know It', 'The Hokey Cokey' and 'Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes', a bit of 90s cheese with 'Saturday Night', 'Barbie Girl' and '5-6-7-8' and lots of other songs that you probably didn't realise that you knew. CD1, in my opinion, is significantly 'stronger' musically than CD2 - which is often the case with compilation style CDs - every track on CD1 is recognisable from either a school disco or cheesy club night whereas some of the CD2 tracks may not be familiar unless your children have been devotees of the Euro-resort mini disco for a number of years.
* Cost *
"My Favourite Mini Disco Songs" is currently available for £3.00 on Amazon. A small price to pay for something that entertains the children, especially if you have a relatively soundproofed room for them to listen to it in.
* My Thoughts *
For the young target audience, this is a CD which provides them with fun, entertainment and the motivation to get up and dance. My children (now 3 and a half / almost 7) really enjoy putting the music on, lighting up the disco ball and having a good boogie to most of these tracks. Their preference seems to be very much for the recognisable hits on the first CD, with 'The Fast Food Song', 'Superman' and 'Agadoo' as particular favourites (mainly because they have learned the moves!), but it is a CD which regularly seems to find its way into their CD player. Occasionally it even finds its way into the car, although I try to resist that happening too often.
In my opinion, anything that encourages young children to get into music and to enjoy dancing is great. I'm lucky that my two are very active and dancing is something that they both enjoy (illustrated by the tendency to 're-create' Strictly dance moves while watching that show), but it is always a positive if something will get them up on their feet instead of vegging out in front of yet another episode of Peppa Pig. The mix of music does really seem to appeal to them - it is simple, party pop and that, I think, is exactly what they need. There is an innocence to most (not all) of the tracks on this album that is ideal for young children and a refreshing change to the current chart music which often seems to have lyrics which aren't really appropriate... for example, my two are still very into 'Gangnam Style' and I hate hearing them singing the 'Hey Sexy Lady' line... or the six year old wiggling his bum in the middle of the street while singing 'I'm Sexy and I Know It'. It is the kind of CD which is ideal for a children's party - whether that is for a disco party or just as the music for pass-the-parcel, musical bumps etc.
Because of this, I am giving it four stars - the score would be very different if I was reviewing it from my own listening perspective as it is definitely not an adult album - but for the little ones that it is designed for, it does a good job. It would be better if there were more original tracks and less cover versions, plus a few more recognisable songs on the second disc but, when you're three, you don't really care about that. My little girl loves it and I love watching her dance to her music.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 MAMBO NO 5 (LOU BEGA)
2 HEY BABY (DJ OTZI)
3 IS THIS THE WAY TO AMARILLO (TONY CHRISTIE)
4 FOLLOW DA LEADER (NIGEL AND MARVIN)
5 FAST FOOD SONG (FAST FOOD ROCKERS)
6 5,6,7,8 (STEPS)
7 HOT POTATO (THE WIGGLES)