Put away that cartoony music for kids that makes you want to jump 0ut of the car. We have better options! Because our favorite kindie artists like Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Recess Monkey, The Not-Its!, and others have been busy this summer putting together great new music for kids, for your family. As in, your kids will like it, but you’ll find yourself not minding it at all when they ask to play it again. We get a whole lot of kids’ CDs to review but these are five of our absolute favorites just out now. And like a lot of days this summer, these tracks are hot.
Consistently one of the very best bands for clever, high-powered pop music, Recess Monkey’s Wired (at top) is another solid collection of tunes from this trio of Seattle school teachers. Kicking off with the rocking Take Your Kid to Work Day, the Recess Monkey boys then fast-talk their way through Wired which reminds me of how my son sounds after he drinks a caffeinated soda.
Wired is a great bridge album for kids too old for toddler tunes, with lyrics covering older-kid life moments like Braces, The Great Diorama, or Brick by Brick, an ode to my kids’ favorite building toy. I love this band’s quirky sense of humor, evident in the earnestly rocking Skee Ball which will make arcade bowlers feel like real pros the next time they try for high score.
We’ve been smitten with The Not-Its! since this five-pack of Seattle indie rockers hit the kids’ music scene a few years back. With lead vocals from former Sub-Pop band Velocity Girl’s Sarah Shannon and indie-band veteran Danny Adamson, Raise Your Hand keeps pushing the envelope with their rocking electric-guitar alt-rock sound and unique harmonies. The Not-Its! also score huge points in my book with their retro-themed Hey 80’s song, and I know my son would give them a fist bump for Haircut, a song that he hopes will help keep the scissors away from his mop of hair.
Additional song lyrics cover such timely topics as a child upset that her cat videos won’t go viral, a kid with the coolest Motorcycle Mom on the block, and Love is Love, a thoughtful and sweet song in support of all families. That’s music to our ears.
If you’re looking for great hip-hop for kids with lyrics that will boost them up and make them think, check out Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s The Perfect Quirk. Skidoo gets things started with You’re It, a feel-good song whose rap assures kids that the world needed one more kid just like them. They move onto such fun topics as Pillowfort Pillowfight and PJ’s All Day, while also dispensing smart advice about managing screen time in Caught in the Screen, or slowing down in the soulful Unwind. This message coming from the ultra-cool Skidoo sounds less like a lecture and more like an idea that my kids may actually consider.
From the first edgy strums of the electric guitar, it’s pretty clear that The Good Ms. Padgett If We Must We Must isn’t going to be an overly sweet collection of songs for little ones. I love Anna’s (a.k.a. Ms. Padgett) clear voice that can sound as pretty as the Mary Poppins she references in If We Must We Must, but also sounds right at home covering more rocking songs like Tattle to the Turtle. She also wins major points for her twist on The Vaseline’s Molly Lips with Mommy’s Lips, which I bet you’ll be singing at bedtime too. This is a nice eclectic collection for us nice eclectic families.
You can practically hear Brady Rymer’s smile coming through the speakers of this uplifting album of pop songs. With lots of clap-along rhythms, I love the horns that make an appearance throughout, like in Get This Party Started and the title track, as well as the many other instruments like banjo, accordion, and mandolin that keep things rambling happily along. If you need your little monster to turn his frown upside down, Just Say Hi! may be all you need.
Check out all of our music posts featuring our favorite kids’ music albums in our archives.