Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Snap, Crackle and Pop

One benefit of writing this blog is that I am able to spot the latest trends in Kids' Music. Lately I have been receiving a lot of music from female fronted pop groups. Today I'd like to review two albums in this "Kiddie Pop" genre for your consideration.

Great Day: Milkshake
The first album is the latest offering from the group Milkshake. The album is called Great Day, and it's a fun, high energy romp. The Baltimore based group is lead by Lisa Mathews and rounded out by a tight quintet of talented musicians. Upon tearing open the packaging, I was struck by the colorful photos and artistic design of the liner notes. There is even a fold-out poster of the band with the lyrics on the back. Milkshake are a talented band and Great Day is a slickly produced album. Producer Tor Hyams has created a finely crafted pop album.

As for the music, Milkshake offers a healthy dose of Rock, Pop, and Punk with a 90's alternative vibe. I'm reminded of Lisa Loeb, Juliana Hatfield and Liz Phair. My favorite tracks from the album are Statue of Me and Great Day the excellent piano and keyboards by Brian Simms are a bluesy, soulful addition. Musically and thematically, I would say this album is ideal for the elementary school crowd. This is not a sing-along album, the preschool/toddler aged child would enjoy the music, but the lyrics may be a bit over their heads.

Rockin', Rollin' and Ridin': Rebecca Frezza and Big Truck

Rebecca Frezza and Big Truck have been creating a buzz in the Kids' Music industry. They have been featured on Jack's Big Music Show. Rebecca's most recent solo album Special Kind of Day received a Parent's Choice Award. Rockin', Rollin' and Ridin' is just slightly longer than an EP (with 8 tracks of music), but it also comes with a fun music video for the song Big Truck.

From the get-go Rockin', Rollin' and Ridin' does just that, Rocks and Rolls. In addition to her six piece band, Rebecca Frezza is joined by Roscoe Orman.

Listeners will recognize his voice as Gordon From Sesame Street. At it's core Frezza's music has an acoustic/pop sound, but Big Truck adds a rockin' edge that will get your young music lovers on their feet. The lyrics capture the imaginative world of toy trucks, robots and rocketship rides to the moon. Rebecca Frezza's song writing style is rhythmic and repetitive which makes it catchy and perfect for the younger crowd. In the press release that accompanied the CD, Big Truck is billed as music for the "in-between crowd," however, the album art work, the thematic material and the simplicity of the songs make it better for the preschool aged listener.

The Mike Brady Wrap-up:
The days of Raffi/Barney-style kids' music are clearly over, and I think that parents are better off for it. Artists are recognizing that kids don't need to be talked-down-to when listening to music. In all honesty, Big Truck and Milkshake would not be my first choice in music. It's really not my preferred style of music, but clearly people are drawn to each of these bands, and they are making a splash in the industry. Both Milkshake and Big Truck offer up catchy tunes with a hard rockin' edge. If you long for the hay-days of 90's girl-rock, these albums might be right up your alley.

Kid Quote of the Day: Teacher: "Sam, what are you going to be for Halloween?"
Sam: "Not a robot. It was tricky to walk upstairs. I'm going to be a firefighter." ~ Sam (age 4)


Anne Deysher said...

I am so impressed with your thoughtful and informed reviews, Nicholas. I think parents would find your information helpful in choosing music for their children, especially since you are knowledgeable to let us know what is appropriate for which age group.

Anne Deysher said...

Oops! The previous comment is not very well composed. Hopefully you can get the gist...

Slacmc said...

G loves Milkshake (she is almost 3- we have the Bottle of Sunshine album). We have seen them live and they are fantastic.

Her other favorite local group is Rocknoceros. We see them every Thursday. I think we might have official groupie status!

Thanks for all the great ideas for new music. I can only listen to so much Yo Gabba Gabba and Elmo before I lose my mind!