When I was a kid, my dad had the cassette for this album somewhere. I must have thought in my adult life that Mancini and Brubeck were the same person, or at least produced the same types of music. Maybe it’s the theme from the Pink Panther that I pictured when I bought this album on vinyl. For that matter, maybe I pictured listening to this cassette when I was younger, and that it had the same sort of moody vibe the Pink Panther did, but there’s no way on earth that was the case.
The cover for the album is the best part- it’s moody and dark, but with class. The font says “Hey, this is going to be a fun ride”, but the cartoon cat winking out at you through fuzzy white paint splotches and the dice on the bottom say “Hey man, this is going to be very cool. Very, very, cool.”
What it is, is the soundtrack to some 1960 mod- or Gogo Boots type show. It sounds like light kooky music with flute refrains and jaunty Elephant-walk-type goofy melodies. It’s a mood that I seldom am searching for, and one I dislike for the most part.
But then again there are some genuinely good trumpet lines in here mixed in with some candy-coated xylophone work. And this might be the best type of music to listen to on a Saturday afternoon, slightly hung over, after getting four hours or less of sleep the night before because you had to scramble around in your kitchen and try to trap or kill a mouse that eventually evaded you, but you still pack your dog up in your car and drive to Walgreens and buy Junior Mints (because you deserve something for dragging your anxiety-riddled ass out of the house at 3:35 a.m. in the fucking morning), some generic Walgreens- brand Brillo pads (because you read that mice hate steel wool but low and behold the next day the unopened box will still be sitting uselessly on the kitchen table) and these white plasticky mouse traps (guaranteed to kill them quick without you having to look at the pathetic thing’s body when the spring loaded mechanism makes a quick death of it), and then you return back home bleary eyed at 3:55 am, and you’re shoving bath towels under the door cracks to your bedroom, bathroom, and guest room so that the arena of war between you and Mickey who decided to invade and make you scream like Wile E. Coyote (mixing Warner Brothers and Disney metaphors) at this early in morning is just limited to kitchen, living room, and tiny hallway.
So give it a listen. Drink a dirty martini when you do.