The kids' music field was full of top-notch albums for children and their families in 2009. This short list by no means represents all of the great kids' CDs that were released this year, it just goes to show that the quality and diversity of kids' music just keeps growing. Here are some prime examples of the best kids' music of 2009.
South Carolina's Lunch Money deliver a great sophomore effort with an album full of poppy indie rock tunes for the whole family. This three-piece band have a knack for expertly writing from and about a kid's perspective, and it's clearly evident they take their songcraft seriously while still having tons of fun.
Kids' music veterans Dog On Fleas have released five albums over the past ten years, and, doggone it, they just keep getting better. Their latest, Beautiful World, throws a little Moog synth action into the otherwise earthy and cosmic tunes this band is known for. Beautiful World is sometimes silly, sometimes thought-provoking, but always entertaining.
What started out as a musical whim resulted in a great collection of Americana tunes for and about families everywhere. Family Photograph is a remarkable collaboration between East and West Coast members of the Dreyer family, who pull together musical influences from across time and around the world to create their impressive kids' music debut.
Recess Monkey are one of the hottest kids bands around today, not only because of their popularity, but because of the sheer volume of tremendously creative music they've put out over the past five years. Heavily influenced by The Beatles, these three elementary school teachers from Seattle again reference The Fab Four on Field Trip, their fifth CD for children.
Kesang Marstrand's kids' music debut album is touching and playful, mysterious and warm, and is certainly one of the most beautiful lullaby albums you'll ever hear. With simply her voice and acoustic guitar, Marstrand creates 12 perfect examples of "Naptime Music" on Hello Night, an aural testament to the power of simplicity.
They Might Be Giants’ previous two albums for kids, Here Come the ABCs and Here Come the 123s, were fun romps through the concepts of letters and numbers, but few hard facts were presented. Not so on Here Comes Science. The band's trademark quirky, catchy musical style and witty word play meld perfectly with concrete concepts like states of matter, paleontology,the planets, and photosynthesis.
Sounding like nothing less than an amalgamation of The Flaming Lips, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Jonathan Richman, Ween, Dr. Demento, and Frank Zappa, Allen Bleyle's lo-fi kids' music debut Get Fruity!! extolls the greatness of fruits and vegetables while having ridiculous fun all the while.
Billy Kelly and The Blah Blah Blahs present a super set of indie rock songs for kids on their debut CD Thank You For Joining the Happy Club. Their musical mix will remind you of Jonathan Richman, They Might Be Giants, R.E.M., and Wilco, and those influences perfectly compliment the band's breezy, slyly humorous tunes.
Ziggy Marley, Bob Marley's oldest son, has been making music pretty much all his life, but Family Time is his first album for kids and their grownups. Some well-known friends (Paul Simon, Toots Hibbert, Elizabeth Mitchell, and several family members) dropped by to help Ziggy, resulting in an album of loving, fun tunes backed by rootsy, poppy reggae.
This is modern folk music at its best, and some of these tunes are destined to become classics. Chris Ballew, formerly of the indie rock band The Presidents of the United States of America, delivers a debut children's album that's full of witty, wordy, silly, gentle, quietly acoustic new traditional tunes. Ballew's CD, recorded under the guise of Caspar Babypants, is definitely the best kids' music CD of 2009.