23 June 2009

The Baby Grands selt-titled CD Review

This Review is brought to you by This Rant:
Generally, when a band's press release describes the CD as "music for kids that won't drive adults crazy" I have one immediate reaction:
I imagine that the label/band haven't a clue about the current state of kid's/family music into which they have entered. If they did, they'd realize that their CD, however good it may be, is far from the first to not drive parents crazy.
Zanes, Roberts, Rymer, They Might Be Giants, Recess Monkey, Ralph's World, Trout Fishing in America, Bill Harley, Randy Kaplan, 23 Skidoo. These names (and a lot more) need to mean something to other kid's acts and musicians entered this kiddie genre.

Sure, there are some god-awful children's records being released (and ignored by OWTK) and always will be, but please, please do not make the "finally a kid's record that won't drive you crazy" claim. Such a statement shows both a gross misjudgement of the genre and is insulting to the bands already blazing the trail of all-ages, whole-family musical endeavors.

Now we return to your regularly scheduled CD review...

The Baby Grands' debut collection of tasty rock-n-roll morsels is indeed perfect for listeners of all ages and will certainly not drive anyone crazy. It's a well conceived, mature set of tunes that could share a bunk bed with both Terrible Twos CDs at kindie rock summer camp.

There are a couple of real gems on The Baby Grands' debut. "Hittin' The Road", the opening track, is an ode to 4 wheel family adventures from coast to coast. Not that I mind, I'm particularly keen on the topic (especially having just completed a 10 day journey ourselves), but is every kid's act recording a road trip song these days? It's the only thing high gas prices aren't putting a stop too...are Staycation songs next?

One reason you might be inclined to stay close to home could be your family pet. If your clan is fond of man's best friend, you might wanna grab a tissue for the musically upbeat but awfully sentimental "Wet Nosed Friend". It's a dance-y tune, for sure, but with lyrics like this: "You grow up so fast / 'cause you aged in dog years / my mom told us this / while I covered your ears / 'cause I don't want you to worry about a thing" there's bound to be a tear or two heading south from your eyes if you've ever had and lost a canine friend.

Speaking of danceable numbers...Ricky Martin both introduced and ruined the word Loco for me yet I sing along with glee to the fantastic "Sugar Makes Me Loco". I still cringe every single time that word leaves my mouth but The Baby Grands deft song about a sugar-crazed kid finally getting some goodies from his unknowing Grandmom eases my vernacular pain. It's a hilarious song, one certain to get you and your family up off the couch and shakin' it around the house.

Not every song hits it's mark but the misses are few and far between, making this a highly enjoyable debut CD from a promising new kiddie rock band.

Sample tracks on the band's MySpace page.


Kimberly Rowell said...

There is NO INTENTION of being insulting to anyone that is making good kids music. Sometimes when you hire well known PR firms, you think they know more than you do. Lesson learned. Thank you for the review and all you do for the genre!!! :)
Kim Rowell, Backspace Records

Kimberly Rowell said...

PS I hope everyone knows those acts ARE great and we do know about them. Those are not the acts we were referring to when we talk about music that drives people crazy. I think we all know what music drives us nuts. However, we should have made that more clear.
Thanks again for the review and the chance to comment. I am very concerned about what our peers and fans think, hence my comments. :)

ma and pa otter said...

I have been listening to Dan Zanes for years and I still find it amazing that most of the parents I meet have never heard of him. Or Elizabeth Mitchell. A few are beginning to enter into the world of kids music cutting their teeth on Bare Naked Ladies and now Recess Monkey. But a very few. In a room of 20 people maybe one owns a kids CD. And only ONE kids CD. (usually Raffi.)

Yes, this is unofficial polling...but over the past year as I told many many friends and strangers that we were making family music, all anyone could think of to compare us to were the Partridge Family or they'd say, "Like Sesame Street?" Most said that it is such an innovative idea, making a children's record. As if we were the only ones out there.

I know this to be true because until about 6 months ago I never even thought once about new kids music. And we have a very musically interested family. But I was content with my "jazz for kids" , "free to be you and me", "raffi" and "the beatles".

The only reason I ever learned about other music was from trying to market our own CD and realizing that there is indeed a lot of good stuff out there.

And I still hear everyday from parents out of the kids music loop "wow, this music doesn't make me want to pull my hair out like most kids music." Yes this is a cliche if you are in the business but it is still the best, quickest way to suggest to friends that they check out a kindie album. So, I completely understand how this could be the PR tactic. 19 out of 20 people have never heard this "cliche"!

This is changing, for sure. There is exponential growth in kids music. Pretty soon, new bands trying to get their kids music out there will be as discouraged as if they were competing with Madonna and Eminem. But for now, it is still
a brand new thing for parents to consider...kids music? why?
"No really, it's great. Kids love it and Adults won't go Crazy!"

...so don't feel bad "Baby Grands". You didn't offend me! We have all said it and meant it.

annie, Dreyer Family Band

Jeff - OWTK said...

Oh, I agree. Most parents haven't a clue about the fertile musical grounds many kiddie rock bands are occupying. So, to promote the disc to the general parental public with a "you won't pull your hair out" tag line is reasonable and may very well peak the interest of some moms and dads. To promote it that way to people inside the business (reviewers, radio folk, etc) is what I was taking umbrage with.

Kim said...

Thanks, everyone! :) Hmmm... well, I definitely know that those inside the ranks don't want to read what we would say to those moms and dads we meet everyday. We are learning... and truly appreciate the feedback so much!!!