The animated opening credits of the Oscar-nominated film Juno are set to a tune by a children’s songwriter with a secret: Barry Louis Polisar doesn’t write just for children. First released on his 1977 album “My Brother Thinks He’s a Banana and other Provocative Songs for Kids” when he was just 23, “All I Want Is You” has the simple appeal of a kid’s song paired with the lyrics of a love song.
“On every one of my ‘children’s CDs,’ I’ve always included one or two songs that I would describe as a ‘kid-like love song’ and ‘All I Want is You’ is one of those kinds of songs,” says Polisar. “These are simple, playful songs that have a crossover appeal.”
The animation paired with Polisar’s song also works on multiple levels. “Animation is often associated with cartoons that are appealing to kids,” says Polisar, “but here, the animation sequence introduces us to a film that address an adult theme.”
Since the release of Juno, the Internet has been swimming with people’s recollections of how Polisar’s music affected them as children, and how their perception of it has changed since they’ve gotten older. Even Polisar’s children have noticed the many layers in his music. “When my daughter turned 15 she said, ‘Dad, I finally get all the jokes in your songs.’”
“All I Want Is You” defies expectations of what children’s music should be, but then again, when was the last time a film about teen pregnancy was nominated for four Oscars?