Thursday, January 10, 2008

Casual Listening Extra 1-11-08

Casual Listening


January 11, 2008

How to make a record for kids

I’m consistently surprised at how the schlockiest music always gets pushed on the people who deserve it least: children. Somehow, cheesy songs, hyperactive singers, and cheap gimmicks – which no adult would ever choose to listen to – seem to be encouraged for the younger set. Why would I want my son to think Barney is real music when he could be listening to Tito Puente or Bob Marley?

The catalyst of my rant is the release of Medeski, Martin, and Wood’s “Let’s Go Everywhere.” I had high hopes that this groovy jazz-rock band would stay cool and not condescend to kids on their latest, but alas. There are a couple of fun tracks, but most of it sounds like outtakes from their regular sessions that should have stayed in the circular file. On the other hand, I highly recommend Ruckus Roboticus “Playing with Scratches.” This is an album of wicked DJ beats with samples of kid paraphernalia, everything from 1950’s recordings for kids to the See&Say “This is a goat!” The album is not necessarily designed for kids, but I’d play it for mine in a heartbeat. Really fun stuff with a playful kid feel that you can’t help but dance to. Check it out.

p.s. If you want the real deal in what music to give to your kids, check out

Lupe Fiasco – The Cool (rap) released 12-07

Hyper-intelligent rhymes with lush production, this is a story about life in the spotlight. Score another winner for the Chicago school of hip-hop.

Mago de Oz – La Ciudad de los Arboles (Spanish rock) released 11-07

Jethro Tull en español. Progressive Celtic hard rock with flutes and faeries. You’ve got to hear it to believe it.

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