A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while this album falls squarely in kids' camp, its themes are just a bit too complex for the youngest children to understand.
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What's the story?
THANK YOU FOR JOINING THE HAPPY CLUB is a kid-oriented record from Pennsylvania-based singer-songwriter Billy Kelly that's gaining viral success via the Web and, recently, the radio (Kelly was just featured on NPR's All Things Considered). The 11-song collection combines a lot of goofy, innocuous lyrics -- the song "People Really Like Milk" catalogs sunshine, Halloween, mustard, being clean, and other random nice things -- with some that have a slight edge, as in the tune titled "Don't Worry About the Government": "I pick the building that I want to live in / My building has every convenience / It's gonna make life easy for me." This approach gives the CD a School-House-Rock feel that's super fun if not entirely comprehensible to very young kids who are musical beginners.
Is it any good?
From the thoughtful guitar, percussion, and other instrumental elements that make up this album, Kelly is obviously just as much serious musician as child educator. Thankfully for parents, this makes the record a good listen from a musical perspective, with a soft alt-rock sound that's somewhat akin to adult contemporary tunes. Coupled with Kelly's light-hearted vocals, the CD has vast appeal for kids and adults alike.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the broader context behind some of Kelly's lyrics. For example, what does Kelly mean in "This is the First Song" when he sings "You are hearing this part of the song right now / Melody and words engage your brain somehow / They're just sounds." Or, from "Mindless Pop Song": "Greg's got far to go / So he turns on the radio / Because he hopes the mindless pop song will come on / It breezes thru his soul"?