GUY RAZ, HOST:
Kimya Dawson is considered an Indie Rock icon. She's one-half of the duo, Moldy Peaches and won acclaim for her work on the soundtrack to the film, "Juno."
Since becoming a mother five years ago, Dawson has released albums for children and adults. Her new album, "Thunder Thighs," seems aimed at both. Jessica Hopper has our review.
JESSICA HOPPER, BYLINE: As the songs on "Thunder Thighs" make clear, Kimya Dawson has been many things - a troubled teen, a troubadour, an activist, but it's her newer role as a mom that now shapes her work. With this album, Dawson chronicles becoming a mother, starting from the anxious pregnancy test. She isn't shy about broaching such serious topics. She divulges things most singers obscure behind analogies. She also sings of dead friends, the troubled state of the world and her recovery from drug addiction.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WALK LIKE THUNDER")
KIMYA DAWSON: (Singing) My friends and the doctors were all shocked I wasn't dead. That's when Katrina looked at me and this is what she said. Walk like thunder. Walk like thunder.
HOPPER: Dawson slots these grown-up songs next to sing-alongs about things like a magic bike and bears at the fair. Here, she's backed by her daughter and, of course, her preschooler pals.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MARE AND THE BEAR")
DAWSON: (Singing) There's a bear at the fair on the merry-go-round. I rode the mare up and down and around and around. There was a bear at the fair and he had a lot of hair and the bear rode the Ferris wheel with the mare. And they were friends forever. And they were friends forever. And they were friends forever. And they were friends forever.
HOPPER: As "Thunder Thighs" progresses, it becomes clear that it's actually two records tangled together. One is inspired by the delight of being a mom and seeing the world with parental eyes and the other reflecting on Dawson's life, P.M., pre-motherhood. "Thunder Thighs" is as much about raising her daughter as Dawson herself growing up.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALL I COULD DO")
DAWSON: (Singing) You see, I have changed and I'll keep on changing and maybe my songwriting will suffer, but it's okay if, at the end of the day, all I can do next is be a good mother. It's okay if, at the end of the day, all I can do next is be a good mother.
HOPPER: It's hard to imagine her kid or adult audiences having very much patience for each other's songs, but it's Dawson's playfulness and positivity that keeps the record from being too heavy or too goofy, though Dawson would clearly be fine with the latter. It's this sort of earnestness that makes "Thunder Thighs" such a refreshing listen. With Dawson, there's no cool posing. She's the anti-rock star with her heart on her sleeve and her daughter on her hip.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DRIVING DRIVING DRIVING)
DAWSON: (Singing) So we must teach our kids to love themselves and let them live their lives.
RAZ: The new album from Kimya Dawson is called "Thunder Thighs." Our reviewer is Jessica Hopper.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DRIVING DRIVING DRIVING")
DAWSON: (Singing) It's crucial to raise children who won't do what they're told, who will fight for what's right and who can't be bought or sold. I want nothing of this business. I'm staying underground. I'm going to ride the railroad and let my guard down.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.