Presenting an album made with love for the peewee punks! NJ-based kindie rocker Jumpin’ Jamie just released his debut album in June and it packs a sonic pop punk punch for the junior set. This high energy album covers a range of relatable childhood themes as well as some nods to seminal kid moments for those who grew up in the 80s.
The first track on the album takes listeners Back to the Future. This song super condenses the adventures of Marty McFly from all three Back to the Future movies and gives adult listeners a moment of childhood nostalgia as well as an opportunity to talk to their kids about what was the 80’s vision of the year 2015! Sorry kids, the prediction of having airborne hover boards by 2015 did not manifest. Even the album’s title, Kookie is a riff off of Dookie, the third album from one of Jumpin’ Jamie’s most prominent influences, Green Day. And speaking of Green Day, their influence can be clearly heard in one of the album’s stand out tracks, Words, a song dedicated to communication, education and being completely overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of language. The song playfully quotes The Violent Femmes song Prove My Love, “Third verse, same as the first,” which lyrically acknowledges the song structure’s word-based repetition. How very meta Jumpin’ Jamie. Your efforts do not go unappreciated! Words ends with a listing off of hopeful and charged words such as Discombobulate, Charitable, Tolerance, Oligarchy, and Sentience. Add it Up listeners! Sorry, I could not resist 🙂
To round out the more politically pointed songs, there are songs that talk about valuing health such as I Wanna Be Healthy (a comic response to The Ramones’ classic I Wanna Be Sedated) and Herbivore (a Paleolithic anthem to veganism), Ghost in My House (who is the perfect scapegoat), and there are songs of empowerment such as the sweet tune, Little Crow, which places value on accessing innate talents and Second Place (a song about not winning, set to a keyboard sound that evokes the baseball stadium’s organ theme Charge). The album ends with the song, Coffee, where Jamie challenges his young listeners to do better than this current generation of adults. In this song, the kids are by nature anti-establishment, and vowing to stay that way! Here’s to the future counter-culture kids!
Here is an album for the Pre-K/ Kindergarten set that is unapologetically environmentally themed, penned and performed by Hot Peas N’ Butter. The first track, the title song Back to the Land, sets the tone for the whole album’s earthy, Louisiana country/ cajun, Zydeco sound. Thematically it also sets up its primary message, which is to give back to the earth through responsible stewardship. It’s good to be a giver. Now having said that, I don’t want to give the impression that this album is super serious in tone. It is actually quite playful and inclusive and hits upon many key components that make for a great kids album.
There are a couple of animal-centric songs like Listen to the Water (where many aquatic species are listed off and vocally mimicked, inviting the little ones to make their own version of the animals’ sound) and Little Fox. There are a few foreign language songs like the traditional Nigerian song Funga Alafia, the Afro-Latino song Ven Conmigo Para Esta Tierra (performed by Puerto Rican musician Leró Martinez Roldán) and the Spanish song Somos El Barco. There is a song about food called Come Into My Kitchen, where kids are encouraged to call out their favorite foods and there is a song about colors titled Rainbow in Your Eyes. Each of these songs could easily be used in the classroom for morning start or circle time. But, these aforementioned songs and their companions on the album are not just accessible songs that will be pleasing for little people. These songs have a deeper meaning which harkens back to Back to the Land‘s central messages of stewardship, resilience, and interconnectedness.
One particular stand out track is the quietest song on the album, a wistful and soulful tune called Firelight. It is as elemental as its name with a message that will ring true for most parents. Children are our inspiration to do better, be better; they give clarity to life. It’s time to pay it forward!