Tuesday, December 7, 2010;
Good music for kids requires all the same ingredients of good music for adults: talented musicians, a beat that gets you moving, clever lyrics and a catchy melody. This year's 2010 kids music picks have it all. Some albums are mellow, some are rock, some will make you laugh, some will make you think; but whatever your musical tastes, these tunes are all sure to get your feet tapping into 2011. Oh, and an added bonus? They'll probably get your parents' feet tapping, too. Turn up the volume!
The Pop Ups, "Outside Voices." Many of these songs sound like what your parents may have listened to in the '80s: big, echoing music with an electronic piano. But these cool musicians from New York don't limit their sound. Sway like you're on the beach in Jamaica to the reggae beat on "Balloon," slow it down with the soothing and simple "I'm Tired" or dance it up to the funky bass line and popping horn section on "Pasta." This album will not leave you hanging!
Keller Williams, "Kids." Williams just might be a big kid trapped in an adult body. With laugh-out-loud lyrics and tunes that gallop along, Williams's finger-picking guitar and slightly Southern-accented vocals make the album sound a lot like a type of music called bluegrass. Call it whatever you want. We'll call it good.
Frances England, "Mind of My Own." Good singer-songwriters make you believe they're your friends. England may be your new BFF. With lovely tunes and a lovelier voice, England sings about a balloon, a ladybug and a teddy bear that the narrator has become too old for. The music is all about you! It's sure to make you feel happy and important.
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, "Underground Playground." This is hip-hop or "kid hop," as rapper 23 Skidoo calls it. This music is all about strong rhythm and positive rhymes for kids. The album also showcases some girl voices that add melody to the rapping. "Gotta Be Me" is a great anthem to keep in mind as you walk through school and life.
Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights, "I'm a Rock Star." Electric guitars and Leeds's belting vocals make this rock-and-roll. You won't be able to resist the urge to sing along pretending your hairbrush is a microphone. Most of the tunes provide you with a great way to free your inner rock star.
Elizabeth Mitchell, "Sunny Day." The most mellow of our picks, Mitchell's voice might lull you to sleep. The album showcases a banjo, a fiddle and many kids singing. The simple songs sound as if they were recorded in a farmer's kitchen on a perfect, sunny day.
Recess Monkey, "The Final Funktier." These guys put the "fun" in funky. (Just try to keep your feet from moving!) With a spaceship theme, these songs rock out with layers of sounds, from guitar and keyboards to vocal harmonies and weird electronic sounds. Their lyrics take you to a marshmallow farm and a bubble factory.
- Moira E. McLaughlin