Susan Stewart
November 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

Evergreen Everblue

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Raffi
Producers
MCA
genre
Kids and Family

We gave it an B-

Finally, we know where Raffi has been for two years. He was evidently kidnapped by eco-terrorists and hidden away in the Brazilian rain forest, where he was forced to surrender his talents to the great cause of the ’90s: the Earth. Hence Evergreen Everblue, Raffi’s contribution to the growing genre of ecology music. As ecology music, Evergreen is okay. As Raffi music, it’s pretty weak.

There are 11 songs here, all by Raffi, eight new, three recorded previously. The music is pure Raffi: lovely and deceptively simple, with hints of everything from ragtime to reggae. But the lyrics are awkward. Clichés (”at this point in time” from the title song) compete with overwritten phrases (”Multiple flowerheads exploding in red” from ”Where I Live”). The songs blur together. They’re pretty, but that’s about it.

Granted, Raffi has a tough act to follow: himself. For a decade, the quiet Canadian with the sweet voice and natural innocence has owned children’s music. But when Raffi’s innocence is applied to complex environmental issues, it sounds like naïveté.

”So come all united nations, help this planet earth,” he sings in the title song. And, in the bleating ”What’s the Matter With Us”: ”Why waste the best of our farmland?/Where’s the logic in that?” If doing the right thing were as simple as these songs make it sound, the Earth would have been saved long ago. B-

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