The Year In Music For Kids (And Parents)

Scroll Down To Hear Songs From All 10 Albums

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Let's Go Everywhere (300)

This has been one of the best years for kids' music in recent memory, including many new releases from artists with feet firmly in both kid-friendly and adult-oriented worlds (Lisa Loeb, Medeski Martin & Wood). Old favorites (Trout Fishing in America, Gunnar Madsen) went in new directions, while emerging artists (Randy Kaplan, Ham & Burger) gave a glimpse of the future of a genre as diverse and unpredictable as kids themselves.

Click here for more entries in the Best CDs of 2008 series.

The Year In Music For Kids (And Parents)

Big Round World

1. Trout Fishing in America

  • Artist: Trout Fishing in America
  • Album: Big Round World
  • Song: Alarm Clock Rings

My favorite band collaborated with classroom kids to create a variety of themes and genres, including forays into multicultural education that never lose the humor and balance at the heart of this duo. "The Alarm Clock Rings" veers from space-pop to heavy metal and back.

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Song
Alarm Clock Rings
Album
Big Round World
Artist
Trout Fishing in America
Label
Trout
Released
2008

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Camp Lisa

2. Lisa Loeb

  • Artist: Lisa Loeb
  • Album: Camp Lisa
  • Song: Disappointing Pancake

A summer-camp theme album, Camp Lisa celebrates friendship ("Best Friend") and camp rituals, like the litany of packing chores that forms "Going Away." "Disappointing Pancake" earns its syrup with the line, "The crowd yelled, 'Batter, batter' / He felt right at home."

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Song
Disappointing Pancake
Album
Camp Lisa
Artist
Lisa Loeb
Label
Furious Rose
Released
2008

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Pop Fly

3. Justin Roberts

  • Artist: Justin Roberts
  • Album: Pop Fly
  • Song: From Scratch

The title cut's saga of dandelion dreams interrupted by a softball hurtling through the sky sets the tone for this chronicle of real-life kid experiences. "From Scratch" celebrates Grandma's magical powers in the kitchen.

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Song
From Scratch
Album
Pop Fly
Artist
Justin Roberts
Label
Carpet Square
Released
2008

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I'm Growing

4. Gunnar Madsen

  • Artist: Gunnar Madsen
  • Album: I'm Growing
  • Song: Always on the Bottom

In a gentle offering that never gets babyish, Gunnar Madsen honors classical music with "Mozart's at the Window (40th Symphony)." Along the way, he makes underachieving appealing in "Always on the Bottom."

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Song
Always on the Bottom
Album
I'm Growing
Artist
Gunnar Madsen
Label
Gee, Spot!
Released
2008

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Songs with No Character

5. Scribblemonster & His Pals

  • Artist: Scribblemonster & His Pals
  • Album: Songs with No Character
  • Song: Sleep

A chronicle of parent/child life, Songs With No Character lets a mainstream sound mask its anarchic core. "I'm a Utility Pole (The World's Worst Dance Song)" opens listeners to the wonders of the telephone pole, while "Sleep" is an anti-lullaby insomnia rocker.

Visit ScrribleMonster's Site for more information.

Loquat Rooftop

6. Randy Kaplan

  • Artist: Randy Kaplan
  • Album: Loquat Rooftop
  • Song: Loquat Rooftop

Singer/storyteller Randy Kaplan crafts a brassy, old-timey collection with subjects from "The Fire Engine" ("It's big, it’s red / It's metal with water") to laundry camp ("Clothes Dryer"). "The Ladybug Without Spots" showcases Kaplan's bluesy storytelling.

Purchase this CD from CDBaby.

Pharm Phresh

Pharm Phresh hide caption

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7. Ham & Burger

  • Artist: Ham & Burger
  • Album: Pharm Phresh
  • Song: Jungle Jim

Crafting inventive, high-energy hip-hop with infectious humor, Ham & Burger is the duo of a pig and a cow. (Guess which is which?) "Alphabet" functions as a joyous teaching tool for toddlers, while "Jungle Jim" addresses lying -- or is it imagination?

Visit Ham & Burger's Site for more information.

Blue Moo

8. Sandra Boynton

  • Artist: Sandra Boynton
  • Album: Blue Moo
  • Song: Gorilla Song

This mini-musical pays homage to early-'60s rock. Real icons like Brian Wilson, B.B. King and Neil Sedaka perform original Boynton & Ford songs, each appropriate to the time frame and bursting with humor. Sha Na Na even turns up to get kid-silly in "Gorilla Song."

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Song
Gorilla Song
Album
Blue Moo
Artist
Sandra Boynton
Label
Boynton
Released
2008

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The Dragonfly Races

9. Ellis Paul

  • Artist: Ellis Paul
  • Album: Dragonfly Races
  • Song: Because It's There

Folksinger Ellis Paul's intimate style mixes complex guitar riffs with simple themes. "Million Chameleon March" is about the power to change, and "Because It's There" celebrates possibilities that lead to the moon and under the sea.

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Song
Because It's There
Album
Dragonfly Races
Artist
Ellis Paul
Label
Black Wolf
Released
2008

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Let’s Go Everywhere!

10. Medeski, Martin & Wood

  • Artist: Medeski, Martin & Wood
  • Album: Let's Go Everywhere
  • Song: Where's the Music

The instrumental trio Medeski Martin & Wood adds a toy piano to a collection that sparks imaginative listening without lyrics. Kids' voices jump in occasionally to remind listeners of the target audience, asking, "Where's the Music?"

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Song
Where's the Music
Album
Let's Go Everywhere
Artist
Medeski, Martin & Wood
Label
MRI
Released
2008

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Purchase Featured Music

Loquat Rooftop

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Loquat Rooftop
Artist
Randy Kaplan
Label
Yellow Thing
Released
2008

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