It was just about a year ago when BEAUTY LAND, the fairy tale-inspired debut album from DANI first hit my radar. It’s a little Disney, a little pop-rock, and a lot of fun – a record that mixes styles and is one of a rare few releases of late that successfully pulls off any form of narration. On the title track, the storytelling begins immediately, with Dani laying the somber groundwork for her tale, just before opening into a country-tinged anthem filled with “purple waterfalls and unicorns.” Now comes a music video for the track, helmed by Phil Dornfeld (producer of SCARY MOVIE 3, 4, and 5). I’m pleased to debut it this morning, right here on THE ROCK FATHER…
The Story of BEAUTY LAND:
Beauty Land offers a setting where Dani calls upon her considerable singing and storytelling talents to create a modern tale of enchantment that employs elements of mystery, fantasy, and intrepid heroism much like that encountered in The Chronicles of Narnia. The album’s mystical, impressionistic ambience is a framework that holds together a collection of captivating songs and dances that urge the listener to engage in song and movement. Dani’s colorful, atmospheric music runs the gamut from exotic to spooky, and through it all, her very listenable voice is the anchor that pulls everything together.
Following an evocative prologue, Beauty Land begins with “Skipping Through the Woods,” and listeners can join with brother-and-sister Jimmy and Lulu as they joyfully clap, sing, and dance their way through an enchanted forest. Spooky minor key effects are woven together over an irresistible beat in “Strange Little Witch,” announcing the arrival of a devious witch with a poofy dress and crazy hair. Captured by the witch and cast into a dungeon, Jimmy and Lulu dream of escaping to Beauty Land, a wonderful place filled with beautiful colors and candy treats. A sweet, comforting interlude follows, with “Magic Wish,” an a cappella ballad in which Dani serenades the children as one who has entered the story to give aid in their escape. A dramatic journey ensues, laced with episodes like “Jimmy and the Giant,” “Mrs. Blue” (whose specialty is the blues and who belts out a verse that leads to some great ‘50s rhythm ‘n’ blues), and “Mountain King,” a royal rhythm master who challenges Jimmy to a test of four rhythms, which our hero passes with flying colors. The children are sung to sleep by a “Butterfly Princess,” and, upon awakening, resume their travels, encountering wild “Tree Creatures” and dancing “Kangaroo Kids” who guide them to the island of Beauty Land. The odyssey comes to a moment of repose with “Ocean,” as Jimmy and Lulu bid their friends goodbye and set sail for the land of their dreams. With courage, spunk, and support from others, they have achieved their goal, against all odds. The story ends in true cliffhanger fashion, paving the way for a future Beauty Land album.