As for the Los Angeles-based Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, they, too, have gradually discovered the joy of recording in Spanish. Adelante is their seventh album, and third primarily in Spanish. Their first Spanish-language album, ¡Fantastico!, featured re-translated versions of some of their shiny English-language pop hits (and was co-produced by Noe Benitez), while the follow-up Aquí, Allá featured original songs and a somewhat more traditional sound. (I called the music on Aquí, Allá "indie-jano," or indie + Tejano.)
While I liked those two albums, Adelante, advances what Diaz is doing -- this album merges his unerring pop-hook sensibility with what happens to be Spanish-language lyrics. "Piñata Attack" is already a big hit, and features a sneaky surf-rock guitar line from Diaz himself, but that's hardly the only earworm on here. "Cuantos Tacos (The Taco Song)" deftly weaves Diaz's Spanish-language verses (featuring a lot of counting) with Alisha Gaddis' English-language counterpoints -- even if you know very little Spanish, her "That's a lot of tacos for a guy who wanted nachos" hook in the chorus gets the basic point of the song across. There's some updated '70s electronic funk ("Aquel Caracol"), hip-hop ("Guacamole Boy"), and new wave ("Cantaba La Rana" -- again with the frogs!).
While it's not entirely in Spanish -- there's more mixing of Spanish and English, some songs do need translation if you're not a Spanish speaker, so I hope that the lyrics and translations get posted to the website soon. (Hint, hint.) The 34-minute album is most appropriate for kids ages 4 through 9. Definitely recommended.
The third wave of Spanish-language kids music is really the wave in which an English-language family puts on an album not because they want to learn Spanish, but because it's fun or helps the child grow in a global sense. Both Los Animales and Adelante succeed on that score. Los Animales is more for the younger listener, Adelante is more for the pure dance party. I happen to like Adelante more, but that's mostly just personal musical preference. I'd be happy to have either of these albums pop up in a record rotation.
Note: I received copies of both albums for possible review.