Thursday, August 23, 2007

Kids' Music that Parents Will Love

I pitched this as a longer piece for a Boston Globe Magazine issue on parents and parenting; it got whittled down into an 80-word blurb that, while pretty, doesn't really tell you anything about the music. Here's the link to the feature; a more in-depth version is below.

July 8, 2007

Play It Again
Children's CDs that are music to everyone's ears

By Lylah M. Alphonse, Globe Staff

If cloying Barney has been banned from your stereo and you've listened to Raffi one too many times, don't give up: Not all kids' CDs are sickeningly sweet, and some even offer variety. Groove to the Music, from Nick Jr.'s The Backyardigans, mixes musical genres, and Mary Had a Little Amp and School House Rock! Rocks offer renditions of familiar songs by big-name artists like Madonna and Biz Markie, respectively. Songs From the Street is a three-disc set of Sesame Street classics, and They Might Be Giants's Here Come the ABCs is sure to be a hit in your house. ... [More]

Not much information there, I know; it kills me that newspapers and magazines have become so style-over-substance. Here's a little more about each disc -- plus links, of course (prices are from

1.) Groove to the Music, $11.99. From the hit Nick Jr. show "The Backyardigans," the songs here are sung by actual children and vary by genre, including Rockabilly vikings and Salsa-singing super heroes. Their eponymous debut CD is great, too.

2.) Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks , $7.97. The classic educational shorts from the 1970s and '80s with a modern edge; check out "Three is the Magic Number" sung by Blind Melon.

3.) Mary Had a Little Amp, $10.99. The songs in this compilation are gentle and sweet, sung by big names like Madonna and R.E.M., but not cloying. The disc was originally created to raise money for an US-wide preschool education initiative.

4.) Songs from the Street, $44.99. This three-CD set covers 30 years of songs from PBS's Sesame Street, one disc per decade. Did you know that the Pointer Sisters sang that shrieky pinball song? Me neither. And dig Cab Calloway crooning "The Heidy-Ho Man."

5.) Here Comes the ABCs, $12.99. Upbeat alterna-pop stars They Might Be Giants sing songs that are quirky enough to keep the kids interested and fresh enough to keep adults happy. This CD is actually a CD/DVD combo disc; the videos are just as charming.

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