Yeah, I know—them’s fightin’ words.
But it’s true. I mean, most kids’ music is in no way fit for adult consumption. As in, it will make them pull their hair out, scream in anguish, and quite possible drool.
In an effort to reduce this possible source of stress in your life, I want to introduce you to quite probably the coolest band to produce kids’ music, and it’s probably not who you might think: They Might Be Giants.
That’s right: the geek-rock band born in the 80s is still alive and kicking out some incredible music. The thing is, they’ve grown up (a little). Sure, they still have their 18+ only concerts, foul language included. But now, they also have kids, and so they started writing songs that they felt that kids and adults could listen to together without either of the other going into fits.
It started in 2002 with their debut family album with a familiar title: No! My review: It rocks. The songs are musically very catchy and thematically very in tune with the juvenile psyche.
After pairing up with Disney Sound, they followed that family offering up in 2005 with Here Come the ABCs, another fantastic album musically that, if you haven’t guessed already, focuses on the alphabet. This CD was paired with a DVD featuring fun animated music videos of all the songs on the CD. Many of these songs deserve heavy rotation in anyone’s favorite playlist. The very catchy song “Alphabet of Nations” has even been taken live to Conan O’Brien and Craig Ferguson.
Just this month, again partnering with Disney Sound, they released another CD/DVD gem, Here Come the 123s, and I am honestly refreshed by the sound. I should probably admit that I was hopelessly won over by their marketing campaign long before the album was released. Around the beginning of the year, TMBG announced that they would be running a free, “Friday Night Family Podcast,” in which they would post a music video each week from their new DVD. I was instantly hooked. After the first couple weeks they expanded this by adding a music video from their previous family album at the end of each of their soon-to-be-released ditties, and that just sweetened the deal.
In an effort to win you away from the Dark Side of Kiddie Rock and into the light, may I present a few copyright-infringing videos lovingly hosted by the many minions over at YouTube (in numerical order):
The funk-i-fied disco stylings of “High Five!”:
“Seven Days of the Week (I Never Go to Work)” gets major bonus points for inclusion of the phrase “and Sunday’s the day of rest” (plus, the animation here kills me. It’s way too fun):
“Figure Eight” (an animated kid rockin’ out on a figure-eight shaped guitar? pure genius):
And finally, the most rockin’ song on the album, tragically short though it may be, “813 Mile Car Trip” (again, the animation had me sold from the get-go. A bouncing car and happy family? The animators deserve loads of cash for that one):
Can you just see my kids jammin’ on air guitar in their car seats with me goin’ nuts on the air drums, all while my wife is simultaneously trying to drive and hide under a rock out of embarrassment? It’s that good.
So, check it out. Your sanity will thank you for it.