A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the 11 original tracks on this CD are high-energy "power pop," or in the words of artist Justin Roberts, "kindie rock." Parents won't mind this album at all, with its infectious beat and intelligent (often obscure) lyrics. Though the lyrics are geared toward older kids (first-day-of-school jitters and insecurities on the Little League field), the music is so upbeat and contagious, that toddlers (and maybe even parents) will enjoy dancing along.
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What's the story?
This is the sixth kid's CD from Justin Roberts, a four-time Parents' Choice Gold Medal award winner and former Montessori preschool teacher (when he was on break from his Minneapolis indie band Pimentos for Gus). The upbeat POP FLY is all about the pleasures of summer -- from the joys of baseball to gazing at butterflies.
Is it any good?
Often compared to Fountains of Wayne and even Elvis Costello, Roberts is a true indie troubadour who sees kid's issues through a unique and offbeat -- maybe too offbeat -- slant. "Henrietta's Hair" is about a girl's tangled mane and all the animals who take up residence there. "Giant-Sized Butterflies" is a lovely and soulful tune, but a bit confusing. Does "first day out" mean the first day out of school or the first day after a baby is born? The songs' obliqueness might keep them out of reach of the youngest kids and may even perplex some adults. Not that it matters -- it's a pleasurable CD for a summer car ride with its endearing dose of childish insecurity as channeled through an adult's memory. In "Kickboard, Baby Yeah" a kid admits he's not the strongest swimmer but still loves going to the pool with his family. Note: Roberts maintains a busy touring schedule (he's hot on the family music circuit), and even has a blog on his Web site (JustinRobertsMusic.com) that's worth a look for tour dates and other tidbits.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about insecurities and why it's OK not always to be good at something. The songs talk about having fun, even if you lack certain skills. Is there something you love doing even though you're not so great at it? This album also celebrates many summer rituals -- baseball, swimming pools, visiting Grandma, road trips. What does your family love to do when school's out?
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