Friday, February 22, 2008

Review: Skinny Songs

Earlier this month, I received an e-mail from someone who is involved in promoting a new CD entitled SkinnySongs. (Warning: link plays music) He sent me a note, wanting to know if he could send me a copy so that I could write a review about it on my blog.

Being incredibly curious, I agreed. I figured, why not? My blog has been pretty quite of late, so I thought having something to write about wouldn't be a bad thing. Between the holidays, legal hassles involving The Kid, lots of overtime at work and two really bad colds, I haven't had much that's particularly blogworthy to post.

Sure, I could have whined about all things rotten in my life, but I'm not sure how that would help me move forward with my weight loss efforts. Nobody likes to read posts from a constant whiner, so I figured silence in this case was definitely golden. The only major positive of late is that I've learned that colds, with their resulting loss of appetite, are good for my diet.

If it weren't for the fact that I've missed way too much work, I'd be telling everyone, "I'll have another side of germs, please."

Going back to the SkinnySongs CD, the whole idea sounded gimmicky and a bit silly. I have to admit to giggling when I read the e-mail. I couldn't imagine how a CD containing weight loss songs could be worth listening to, but I figured it was worth a shot. I clicked through to the artist's web site, and listened to a few clips. What I heard didn't sound so bad, so I e-mailed the gentleman back and asked him to send me a copy.

A few days later, I received a copy of the CD in the mail. On the front, it showed a picture of a woman zipping up her impossibly-tiny skinny jeans. On the back, it listed the following description:
If you've decided to lose weight and get in shape --and if you've ever sung along to a song at the top of your lungs because it really meant something to you--SkinnysongsTM is made for you. I came up with the idea for SkinnySongsTM because I wanted great music to keep me motivated about losing weight and getting in shape--but couldn't find any. So I convinced superb producers David Malloy and George Daly, and fabulous emerging artists such as Tania Hancheroff, Kaleo Futuristo, Larkin Gayl, Susan Shaton and Rachelle Byrne to turn the idea into reality. You can listen to these songs in your car, on your walk, at the gym, on the dance floor, or even in the kitchen if that's where they work for you. This isn't self help or preachy stuff, it's fantastic, radio-hit-quality music that just happens to be about winning your battle with the bulge. Enjoy!

-- Heidi Roizen, Founder and lyricist of SkinnySongsTM

I'd never heard of any of these people, so I wasn't expecting a whole lot when I plopped the CD into my boom box in the garage. And, to be fair, the idea sounded like a far more girlie enterprise than anything I'd enjoy. I'm a professional curmudgeon, and stuff that appeals to most women turns me off in a big way. I don't do babies, make-up or dresses, and my idea of a quality weekend would involve spending an entire day washing, polishing and waxing my full-size pickup while grunting happily like Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor.

As for things that motivate me for weight loss, I've learned that has to come from inside. Stuff that tends to motivate most people I tend to find off-putting. Weight Watchers meetings, for example, do nothing but piss me off because I get tired of listening to the same women whine about the same problems week after week. "But I stuck to my diet like glue, and gained three pounds."

But I digress.

Even though I didn't expect much when I popped the CD into my boom box, I was actually pleasantly surprised. Most of the songs on the disc weren't half bad, and some of them were actually pretty good. When I listened to the music, I felt like I was biting into something I expected to hate, but actually discovered was surprisingly decent.

The Pluses

The songs are recorded in a variety of styles, including pop, hip hop, and country/crossover. They all have a great beat, and definitely are well-paced for just about any kind of workout. The production values on the CD are as good as anything you could buy at the record store, and there's at least one song, Blowing You Off at Eight that with a little bit of a stretch, I could imagine hearing on the radio. Overall, I think the CD is pretty well done given the subject matter.

The Minuses

Most of the songs on the CD sounded like music I'd heard before. Although the lyrics were certainly different, each song had a familiar beat and tone that I couldn't place, but that I swore I'd heard before. That's not to say that I think the songs infringe copyright, but rather they were all produced in what I would consider a formula style. I also wasn't thrilled with the number of country/crossover tunes on the disc, as it happens to be one of my least-favorite styles of music. Of course this might not be a minus to someone who really enjoys country music.

Buy or Don't Buy?

The CD is available for purchase from a variety of sources, including ($14.99) and iTunes ($9.90 album/$0.99 song). It's clear this product is well-marketed, because it's available in so many different places. The price is certainly fair and in-line with other popular music.

In this case, though, I don't think I can make a strong recommendation either way, as to whether this is a buy or don't buy item. Music is very much an individual taste, and this CD appeals to a rather limited market in that it is targeted for women who are trying to lose weight. The music definitely has a great beat, and the lyrics are definitely motivating, but I'm not sure that they will appeal to every dieter.

I guess your best bet in making a purchase decision would be to visit the SkinnySongs Web site and listen to the music yourself.

I am glad I have the CD, though, and it will stay in the garage boombox next to my weight machine.

Thanks, Keane Li, for the CD. I've really enjoyed having the opportunity to listen to and review it.

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