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Various Artists
Hello Kitty - Hello World
Lakeshore Records
www.sanrio.com


Sanrio's cute and cuddly anime Hello Kitty has raked in millions in sales around the world from merchandise embossed with the kitten's logo. Now Sanrio is breaking Hello Kitty into the music market with the first ever full-length Hello Kitty-themed album entitled Hello World from Lakeshore Records. The album offers 11-tracks of original pop tunes performed by a number of up and coming artists including Mandy Ventrice, Cori Yarckin, Cheryl Yie, and Emma Hunton. The result is a sparkly wonderland of fancy-free romps surrounded in sugar-coated bliss. From the perky party tracks of "Get This Party Started" and "Do You Really Wanna" to the sing-along ditties of "Hello Kitty" and "Getaway," Hello World is an album geared to snatch the Radio Disney gene pool. Sure most tracks sound girly with confectioner-frills, sonic bubbles and hip-swaying grooves, but it is definitely an album that the boys will be listening to when no one is watching them, if for no other reason than to check out the girls who sing on it.

It's impossible to dislike any track even if sugary pop isn't your brand of music. If you do have a hard time with it, just remember back when flying through the air on the swingset at the playground and whizzing down a waterslide at the amusement park felt like the greatest rush to you. That's what this album feels like. It does not hurt the record that it features all new voices who will hopefully have a chance to shake up the pop scene, like the spearing resonance in Jennifer Marks' vocals through the song "To All The Girls" and the confident strut in Cheryl Yie's curls along "Get This Party Started." The rustic, sandy timbres of The Seventeens in "Take It Easy (Chocolat's Jam)" have a country swagger that may remind many folks of the soft rolling trundles of Gram Parsons. Conversely, the funky drum loops of "Do You Really Wanna" are lassoed by the sleek dance grooves in Cori Yarckin's voicing. The songs mix in some Strawberry Shortcake sonic glitter with Gwen Stefani's angelic mists and the leisurely hold of Gavin Rossdale's vocals.

Hello World is a sonic Taj Mahal with esthetics that please and infatuate. It's a rush of fun-loving pop tunes that tickle the senses and keep you feeling elevated. It's the type of music that you would expect in a Hello Kitty animation. The primary songwriters on the disc include Nini Camps, Gary Phillips, Gen Rubin, and Toby Gad along with a handful of producers like Andrew Lane, Steve Skinner, Malcolm Flythe, Guy Thomas, and Erik Eldenius. With so many people providing input, the songs are diversified enough to keep the album moving forward, making each track tailored to the artist performing it. It's an album that you'll pick up just to enjoy the Sun's rays bathing you in warmth, or the rain pelting you will crystal clear droplets of water. It's an album that lets you enjoy the simple pleasures that are always within your reach.

-Susan Frances

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