Goodbye Raffi, hello hipster!
Kid's music gets a rock 'n' roll makeover that soothes adults.
(Page 2 of 2)
But what's fueling this change in children's music?Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
"It's a function of there being more music available that's interesting and exciting to kids," Balsam says. "If you look at the Billboard charts and the relationship between children's music and its audiences, there's a very energized audience. Sales are much higher than they have been."
Independent record labels see the potential for growth and creativity. Rockabye's Lisa Roth notes that children's music is "broadening its horizon in that it's appealing to adults as well.... I think it's becoming slightly more sophisticated and respectful."
That's why Kevin Salem, CEO of Little Monster Records, tinkered with the idea of releasing a jazz album by Medeski Martin & Wood trio for the kid set. The record "Let's Go Everywhere" sold about 15,000 copies in nearly a year, Mr. Salem says. Among the label's other projects: a Beatles cover album featuring the voices of The Bangles, Rachael Yamagata, and kids; and a release from lead singer Robert Schneider of the indie band The Apples in Stereo who goes by the nickname Robbert Bobbert.
In a world of emerging children's music, Salem says, the quality of that music should measure up. "You wouldn't feed your children [at] McDonald's every day any more than you would want to play bad music every day."
Creating quality music drove The Barenaked Ladies into the studio to record their first children's album, "Snacktime," last spring. After 20 years of playing together, band members have 11 offspring of their own, and BNL's bassist Jim Creeggan says a children's album was a natural progression. The album, now No. 16 on the kid's Billboard chart, has forged an avenue for BNL fans to share the band's music with their children.
BNL was inspired in part, Mr. Creeggan says, by They Might Be Giants, an indie band that catapulted onto the kindie scene with three albums singing about the alphabet, grammar, and numbers. In the future, BNL hopes to combine their two genres on tour, Creeggan says, playing kid's music in the afternoon and more grown-up hits at night.