Your Toys Could Be Better

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It’s our first video for the Be Who You Are album! Starring our daughter Violet Duguay – okay I am very biased here, but I think she does a great job singing this song, and acting in the video.

I was thrilled that Mr. R.d. Cane was able to come down to L.A. from Vancouver to shoot this spot, as he’s already endeared Violet to him with all the age-inappropriate Fame Whore filming he’s done over the past year and a half! She’s watched us all filming and play-acting, so she got the hang of it pretty quick.

This song was always integral to the album for me. It started out as a critique of princess-makers for allowing their dolls to become tarted up, way-too-skinny versions of the cartoon princesses, who were already tarted up and way too skinny. I wanted to spotlight for kids how the marketing machines of giant entertainment corporations shape their desires and make them subconsciously accept body images and ideals that they probably wouldn’t want if they knew it was happening. In fact, they might push against it, question it, and change it.

When Tara and I came to writing the lyrics, we realized two things. First, it had to be in the voice of a little girl, and second, it had to be based on the need for play. The point of toys is play – interesting, creative, rugged, challenging, fun – play, and the narrow choices for little girls in the bright pink toy aisles at the corporate stores just aren’t good enough.

Behold the character of Aurora, a smart seven-year-old who can see through all this from miles away. After all, she grew up with a famous princess’s name. She’s not dismissing the power of the princess stories, or the allure of a beautiful dress. Rather, she’s identifying a void in the market. She’s pointing out that, to her, it doesn’t feel like a lot of thought or imagination went into creating these toys. Her play time’s bigger than clothes and tea, and dishes and dolls and baby makes three. And more than that, she sees a way to fix this problem from the inside. Their toys could be better, so she’s writing them a letter. And sending them a bill for her thinking fee.

Also please enjoy the fabulous guitar stylings of David ‘Raven’ Rutchinski and musical arrangement and performances of Richard Duguay.

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