I've received a lot more kids' music this year than I have time to review here on the site. There are many reasons why I don't review something -- it's absolutely awful, it's too far past its expiration date, it's not really kids' music -- all reasons that I'm willing to throw out the window at any time, I should note. But what about those albums that I'm, well, only lukewarm about?
Case in point: this album.
New York-based Mr. "S" (aka Ed Stankewick) recorded for several indie rock labels before becoming a schoolteacher and, eventually, releasing Songs For Family, Friends & Frogs, his 2006 kids' music debut.
I really wanted to like the CD, but being a hopeful person I really want to like just about every CD I listen to. And there are components of the album that I did like, especially the solid musicianship of Stankewick and his Burnt Bottom Cookie Band. When they grab ahold of a good song, like the "everybody's a hero" pop-rocker "Superhero," the resulting energy is fun to listen to, as it is also in the gently insistent "Frankie the French Fry." The bluesy cuts ("Itchy Little Toe," for example) tend to be the strongest songs.
But for the most part the songs just weren't that memorable to me. Some went on too long ("Take Your Medicine"), some were just a little too cheesy ("My Dog Sings the ABC Song"), and some... It's not that the songs were bad -- believe me, I've heard plenty of bad kids' songs, and these weren't it -- but they just left little impression on me, no compelling desire to go back and hear it again (even though I did so several times for the purpose of this review).
The songs have a slightly goofy lyrical sense that would be most appropriate for kids ages 5 through 9. You can hear several cuts at the Mr. "S" website. Which I recommend doing, because maybe I just ate something bad, or I haven't been getting enough sleep, or something. And that's why I will sometimes review albums that just don't speak to me, especially if there's something worthwhile in there that could serve as the core for someone else's serious enjoyment. Whatever the case, while I could appreciate the musicianship on Songs For Family, Friends & Frogs and look forward to hearing what else Mr. "S" comes up with in the future, this album didn't speak to me.