Best Kids Music of 2014: Top 30 Videos

Continuing our look at the year's best in kids music, we finish up with videos.  Now, unlike albums and songs, for which I've traditionally tried to adhere to the Fids and Kamily year (which is Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014 this year), my best-of video selections have tended to run on more of a March through Feburary video fiscal year.  I did that to kick off the very first KidVid Tournament, and I've sort of stuck with that ever since.  (So nobody release an awesome video in the next 48 hours, OK?)

Here's my list of my favorite 30 kids music videos of "2014."  Some are big-budget productions, some are small-budget productions, and some are virtually-no-budget productions.  There are puppets, stop-action, hand-animation, computer animation, live action, and sometimes, more than one of those things.

Before I present the 30 videos, I should note that I wanted to limit an artist to no more than one video on the list.  Which meant that artists like The Bazillions, Danny Weinkauf, and Caspar Babypants don't get their full due as artists that have fully committed to the art of the kids music video, each releasing several music videos that could have appeared on this list (if I wasn't limiting them to one video, they might have had a dozen or so between them).

Of particular note, Chris Ballew has done some amazing work, not only contracting out with a variety of animators for his Caspar Babypants videos but also producing videos on his own beautiful in their creativity and simplicity.  For that reason, I'm giving him a Special Award for Awesomest Kids Music Video Guy of 2014.  Now, if you don't mind, I've got to go find an MTV VMA statue on eBay so I modify it and give it to Ballew.

So while I'm doing that, here's the list in alphabetical order by artist.  A YouTube playlist can be found at the very end if you'd like to while away an hour or two...

Dynamite - Alphabet Rockers (YouTube)

No Homework - The Bazillions (YouTube)

Bottle Caps - Laurie Berkner (YouTube)

Tiny Little Car - Johnny Bregar (YouTube)

The Creatures Under My Bed - Caspar Babypants (YouTube)

Grand March from Aida - Dog On Fleas (YouTube)

I'm a Little Fish - Laura Doherty (YouTube)

Hair - fleaBITE (YouTube)

I Can't Feel My Face - Gustafer Yellowgold (YouTube)

How Great Can This Day Be - Lori Henriques (YouTube)

November First (Jump, Run, Shake) - Eric Herman (YouTube)

Just Not Me - The Hipwaders (YouTube)

Did You Ever See a Lassie? - Charlie Hope (YouTube)

Snow Day - Josh and the Jamtones (YouTube)

Crew Cut - Randy Kaplan (YouTube)

Gingerbread Man - Lunch Money  (YouTube)

I Love You More - Todd McHatton (YouTube)

Girls Wanna Dance - Milkshake (YouTube)

Call Me Mista Cookie Jar - Mista Cookie Jar (YouTube)

Haircut - The Not-Its (YouTube)

Walking With Spring - The Okee Dokee Brothers (YouTube)

All These Shapes - The Pop Ups (YouTube)

Love Bug - Raffi (YouTube)

Brick By Brick - Recess Monkey (YouTube)

Rattlesnake - Red Yarn (YouTube)

Los Colores - Andres Salguero (YouTube)

Pillow Fort Pillow Fight - Secret Agent 23 Skidoo (YouTube)

Ice Cream (Healthy Eating) - Danny Weinkauf (YouTube)

Sea Turtle - The Whizpops (YouTube)

Armando Armadillo - Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke (YouTube)

Video: "Gingerbread Man" - Lunch Money

So of course Lunch Money had to make a video with Belle et Bête, the puppetry troupe with whom Lunch Money ringleader Molly Ledford made a space puppet opera (or is that puppet space opera?).

The two troupes collaborated on a video for "Gingerbread Man" from Lunch Money's fine 2012 album Spicy Kid.  It's cute -- the titular baked good (based on Brandon Reese's album art!) leading some of Columbia's citizens on a chase around the city.  I liked it.

Lunch Money - "Gingerbread Man" [YouTube]

Video: "Just For You" - Caspar Babypants

CasparBabypantsNightNight.jpg

There's a brand new Caspar Babypants album coming out next month.  I know, Chris Ballew's productivity sometimes makes it seem like there's a brand new Caspar Babypants album coming out every month, but that's really not the case.

The brand new album is called Night Night! and it's CB's lullaby(-ish) album.  It's set to be released on March 17 and in anticipation of the release, Ballew has released a brand-new lo-fi video every bit as brilliant as his other lo-fi videos.

It features a bunch of pictures of Ballew as a baby, but I can assure you that his one simple trick turns something that would be of interest for about 10 seconds into a genuinely fun 3-minute video.

Caspar Babypants - "Night Night" [YouTube]

Video: "Gravy Insane" - Gustafer Yellowgold

Based on the lyrics and video for "Gravy Insane," the brand new song from Gustafer Yellowgold, perhaps the follow-up to the excellent Gustafer Yellowgold's Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom will explore slightly darker paths.  The song recounts how Gustafer's forest friends become gravy gluttons, keeping in line with the Gusta-verse's previously established food obsessions ("I Jump on Cake," anyone?).

Then again, reminders that bats can't drive cars are inherently humorous, IMO.

Gustafer Yellowgold - "Gravy Insane" [YouTube]

Video: "HBD, Dude!" - Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips (World Premiere)

HBDDudeMistaCookieJar.jpg

Southern California's Mista Cookie Jar is testing my hyphenating abilities.  His blend of hip-hop, soul sounds, Motown riffs, California vibes, and whatever else he throws in the mix can be too much for the English language too handle.

For his latest track, "HBD, Dude!," MCJ and his Chocolate Chips mix a surf-rock guitar track and some flowing verses that include the word "hashtag" to produce a very 21st-century celebration of someone's birthday.  (You can buy the track via that link above, or iTunes and CD Baby as well...)

For the video, which I'm world-premiering here today, Mista Cookie Jar can't be contained to a single POV, either.  He takes Beach Blanket Bingo-era footage, hand-animates it a bit, and throws in a nice Facebook/Instagram reference or three.  Throw in some kids eating cake and surf-dancing, and you've got yourself a party.

I'm going with "surf-hop."

Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips - "HBD, Dude!" [YouTube]

Video: "Snow Day" - Josh and the Jamtones

BearHuntTheMovie.jpg

Can a kids music video be called post-apocalyptic?

Should it?

All I know is that younger kids of tender heart (as judged by their caretakers) should probably be directed to another, mellower kindie video.  As Josh of Josh and the Jamtones puts it in the comments to the YouTube video, "If you're kicking it with your little 2 year old baby sister who maybe prefers ponies and the color purple to polar bears with laser beam guns then you might consider telling them to scram. You know, in as kind a way as possible."

The animation is from Arsen Rudchenko, and if it's not on the forthcoming Bear Hunt: The Movie! DVD (out January 21), I'll be sorely disappointed.

Josh and the Jamtones - "Snow Day" [YouTube]