OWTK Kindie Album Reviews

Roger Day – Why Does Gray Matter? CD Review


The Sound: Smart, infectious power-pop straight out of the math & science wing of the kid’s music school.

In the Cafeteria, He Sits With: Justin Roberts, Daddy A Go-Go, The Hipwaders

Best Moments: “Why Does Gray Matter?” is a musical toy that’s ready to be played with right out of the box, so to speak. The title track leads things off, and you’ll be singing along to the hook as if you’ve grown up with the song. Day has a knack for killer choruses and a penchant for witty wordplay that turns complex subject matter (no pun intended) into sing-along anthems. He doesn’t nail ’em all, but “Sara Bellum, The Brainy Girl” (listen below) wins with an unbelievably melodic refrain and multi-tracked vocals adding a layer of harmony that wouldn’t feel out of place on a classic Beach Boys album.

Only a song titled ‘The Left Brain/Right Brain Song” could get away with fusing references to IRS tax form Schedule C and Guns-n-Roses guitarist Slash. The song trades off anarchy with academia to make the left/right brain concept highly visual and very humorous.

Bonus Thoughts: Sample the entire album here, but hear “Sara Bellum” in it’s entirety right here:

Bonus Bonus Thought: 10 of the 14 tracks on “Why Does Gray Matter?” have either BRAIN, BRAINS or BRAINY in the title. That has to be some kind of record. I wonder if there’s an Elias Sports Bureau type of organization for such musical curiosities?

Photo by John Scarpati

Okay, Time to Wrap it Up with a Nice Little Bow: There are some outstanding moments on “Why Does Gray Matter?”, Roger Day’s 4th kid’s CD. Those moments prove an exhilarating musical mash-up of Justin Roberts and Bill Nye, the Science Guy. The tunes are perfect for kids ages 7-10, and their science deficient parents (like me!). While I understand that “Why Does Gray Matter?” is a concept album, the 2nd half of the disc begins to feel just a little corny (“Brain Train”) and starts to come across too instructional (“Brain Food – Eat it Up!”). For me and my girls, it was at this point that the fun began to wane a bit.

Last year, They Might Be Giants made a fun and funny science CD filled to the brim with terms and truisms and, in turn (fair or not), also set the bar for any and all science themed kiddie musical efforts going forward. Maybe brain freeze is to blame, but with “Why Does Gray Matter?” Roger Day has made two albums in one. The 1st is about as strong a batch of songs as any I’ve heard recently and could easily go a few rounds with “Here Comes Science”, the 2nd is a little weaker, containing less of Day’s witty humor and lyrical cleverness. In a world of individual song purchasing power this isn’t necessarily a problem, but considering Roger Day’s obvious songwriting ability, I wish the whole of “Why Does Gray Matter?” shined as bright as the 1st 5 songs.

*”Why Does Gray Matter?” was provided to OWTK for review. The opinions expressed above are unbiased and true – no arm twisting took place in the review process.

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