Was Marty worried about offending local sensibilities (which he may) with his comically negative portrayals of two Philadelphia "types" - a slimy talent agent and the self-serving fictional boss of the Philadelphia Zoo? And there's no ignoring those recurring put-downs directed at our fair burg. At one point, the narrator (John Lithgow) warns the title character (a swan named Louis) that he might have his wings clipped by keepers at America's first zoo so that "he'd have to remain in Philadelphia for the rest of his life - a horrible fate."
But we can take a joke. Right?!?
Devotees know "Trumpet" as the third leg in White's trilogy of fanciful animal tales - the others being "Charlotte's Web" and "Stuart Little." Those children's books made for adorable films. This one's music-minded plot - a trumpeter swan (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) takes up the brass horn because he's otherwise mute and needs to impress a girlie bird (Mandy Moore) - lends itself to a "Peter and the Wolf" style audio-only adaption.
The richly orchestrated underscoring and interludes range from big symphonic themes to waltzy pop and swinging nightclub jazz, while the acting/narration (Kathy Bates and James Naughton also participate) draws vivid pictures in your mind.
BEAR HUGS: With a cute name like Teddybears (and cover art to match) you might be tempted to pick up these Swedes' new set for the kids, too. But please note that this album is titled "Devil's Music" (Big Beat/Atlantic, B+). It's a term of derision once laid on rock 'n' roll and equally applicable, I suppose, to this dangerous, star-studded set of edgy electro pop.
Take, please, the devilish mash up of psycho-tech, drugs and religion that is "Crystal Meth Christian," kissed by Flaming Lips. You'll hit the dance floor with Robyn to bring on "Cardiac Arrest" and get all crunky-punky with Cee Lo Green and the B-52s on "Cho Cha." Likewise fighting for our right to party are home girl Eve (warning "I'll slap you silly I'm from Philly"), Rigo and B.o.B.
ROMANCE, AMERICAN STYLE: While both claim romantic inspiration, it's hard to imagine that Lloyd's "King of Hearts" (Zone 4 Inc/Interscope/Young Goldie Music, C) and Brian McKnight "Just Me" (EOne, A-) could coexist on the same planet.
Peppered with shout-outs from Trey Songz and Young Jeezy, Andre 3000 and Chris Brown, the Lloyd set is often hard and nasty, while McKnight's sweet soul spoonings are so mature and mellifluously crafty, you might suspect that the batch popped out of a 1970s time capsule. Underscoring those vintage connections is an intimate "Live in Concert" bonus album of McKnight's commanding voice and piano (or guitar) work in tributes to Nat King Cole, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Van Morrison.