2013 is almost over, and the eventful year brought many fantastic offerings in family entertainment—including noteworthy releases in children’s music. From covers of The Beatles to energetic original tunes, here are GeekMoms Amy and Kelly’s picks for our top 10 favorite kids’ music of 2013.
Frances England: Blink of an Eye. One of the best albums of the year is the latest indie-rock treat from Frances England. Her mellow style lets you flow seamlessly from grooving during the daytime to winding down at nighttime. The lyrics have kid appeal, while they tug on the heartstrings of parents.
Justin Roberts: Recess. Kids’ music favorite Justin Roberts is back with one of his best albums yet. Like much of his other music, Recess seems plucked right from the id of his listeners, with danceable songs about robots, princesses, trains, and that long, long wait for recess.
Underbirds: Underbirds. Kindie rocker Todd McHatton has been showing up in many a collaboration this year, including an awesomely bizarre pairing with Mista Cookie Jar and a Halloween adventure with Lori Henriques. However, the most epic collaboration was the album he released with Morgan Taylor of Gustafer Yellowgold fame. These guys are both amazing on their own, but magic happens when they get together.
The Not-Its: KidQuake! When kids really want to rock out, there’s nothing better to rock out to than the The Not-Its. They rock with a sense of humor, though, which will draw in grown-ups and kids who think they’ve outgrown kids’ music. Also, we highly recommend seeing The Not-Its live as no other band is so adept at getting kids out of their seats to dance.
Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke: Pleased to Meet You. If you want your kids to like punk but aren’t quite ready to sit them down with The Ramones or The Sex Pistols, give Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke a listen. The best track is “Animal Alphabet,” which is no easy task, since alphabet songs can be so teachy or condescending. This one, though, is a sing-along with style.
Caspar Babypants: Baby Beatles! Caspar Babypants, Seattle’s kindie rock star, released a Beatles cover album in the fall. Baby Beatles is a collection of kid-friendly Beatles tunes, with lyrics unaltered but the music tailored specifically to tykes’ attention spans. If The Beatles’ original work hasn’t captured your tot’s interest yet, Baby Beatles is the perfect introduction to their songs.
Recess Monkey: Desert Island Disc. Recess Monkey, another Seattle kindie band, are well-known for high energy, upbeat, and earworm-worthy songs. Desert Island Disc, the prolific band’s second release in 2013, is a change of pace that’s as refreshing as a cool breeze on a summer day. Beautiful orchestrations combined with Recess Monkey’s whimsical style made this one of GeekMom’s favorite albums of the year.
Charlie Hope: Sing As We Go! The aptly named Sing As We Go! from Charlie Hope is the perfect family road trip companion. Not only does the singer-songwriter’s newest release have fantastic collaborations with Elizabeth Mitchell and Morgan Taylor, Hope’s spins on nursery rhymes and traditional songs are irresistible for singing along.
Danny Lion: First Songs. It’s almost impossible for a preschooler to not get up and dance after the first track on First Songs, called “Dance Happy,” begins. A former preschool teacher, Danny Lion (AKA Dan Flannery) knows how to make young kids smile.
Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band: Lishy Lou and Lucky Too! With a vintage variety show feel, Lishy Lou and Lucky Too! is a unique offering in this year’s children’s music. While the spoken sketches between songs are a little too cheesy for grown-ups (and probably a lot of kids), the upbeat songs more than make up for them. The album includes a memorable ode to Amelia Earhart (“8000 Feet”) and the catchy “Thingamajig.”
GeekMom received promotional copies for review purposes. All album covers copyright of their respective holders.