Reviewed by Darcie Stevens, Fri., Sept. 3, 2004
Beaver NelsonMotion (Freedom) Motion, as in swinging, seesawing, sliding. Beaver Nelson, Dad Who Rocks, has been spending a little too much time at the playground. A loving father, Nelson has taken that paternal instinct and put it into his music, where quite frankly, it sounds trite and frivolous. He's rocking the wrong cradle. The rightly beloved local singer-songwriter has built many houses in his lengthy career (2000's Little Brother and '02's Legends of the Super Heroes for starters), but Motion is the wolf in sheep's clothing. Opening with campfire sing-along "Let Us Build a Monument," Motion becomes increasingly puerile with "It Really Shouldn't Be So Hard" ("I was just trying to get to the other side." Chicken, anyone?). Even the presence of the unflinching Eliza Gilkyson on "Tell Me," the most mature cut on the album, does nothing to further Motion. In an unprecedented move, Nelson tracks reggae on "It Is There," to which only a toddler would bounce. Following "The Unfortunately Entitled Hey Little Mockingbird" (his title, not ours) is "Too Many Words": "Too many words about Frigidaires, too many words in my underwear." Because, what else rhymes with Frigidaire? Scrappy Jud Newcomb collaboration "Webs on a Hubcap" is a nice metaphor, but it's not enough to unlock the baby gate. With gospel elements, reggae, country, and rock merged into one album, Motion is Nelson at his happiest. Unfortunately, this baby needs changing.