Reading the article A thousand little melodies in Slate the other day, and the comments that followed it, got me thinking a bit more about music that parents can enjoy nearly as much as the kids can. I'm not talking about kids music that you hear so much you start singing it to yourself. I'm talking about music that appeals to big people on the first listen...big people's music for little people. It's not an easy balance. I've got to admit I've never really liked the songs that were really just adult rock or pop with lyrics about potty training...you know, "I've got the potty training bluuuuueeeessss". Often, there doesn't seem to be any real attempt to really come at things from a kids perspective musically or lyrically, it's just kind of a, I play this kind of music, kids have to deal with this kind of thing...I'll put them together and make a kids song.
But there are many, many really good kids artists out there who make music for kids, demonstrating a kind of empathy and understanding that is real, that is still a lot of fun for the big folks to listen to. People often bring up They Might Be Giants or Dan Zanes, and I like them too. Another guy I really like who I think falls into this category is Brady Rymer. Several years ago when we were starting up our school in Tokyo, I was researching all the kids music I could find. I came across Brady Rymer somewhere on the web, heard his song "Words that I know" from his album Look at my Belly, and bought 2 copies right there...one for a friend with a 2 year-old, and one for me. It went on my I-pod and I still listen to my favorite songs from that album, and I still give that CD as a present to friends with young children.
If you haven't heard him, give him a listen. Here's a tip, if you are going to be working on the computer for a while, go over to his site, start up his Brady Rymer Radio, and have a listen while you work on other things. He has recently started a blog. He just started it and only has one entry up, but hopefully he'll keep it up.