Review in Brief: We Wanna Rock! - Thaddeus Rex

WeWannaRock.JPGA former participant on the PBS show The Kids Zone, Illinois-based Thaddeus Rex now performs over 200 concerts each year, many of them for schools. On his second album for kids, We Wanna Rock!, released earlier this month, Thaddeus Rex tackles subjects of concern to elementary school students -- fear of moving, spending time with family, or getting dog poop stuck on the shoe (admittedly, probably not the most common concern of most people). The best songs speak straight to kids -- the palpable fear of moving to a new place in the pop-rock "I Don't Want to Go," or trying not to think about not going to sleep in "The Moon Is Rising."

Unfortunately, there are relatively few compelling musical backgrounds to the lyrics. Occasionally some interesting musical motifs occur -- the sinewy melody and bass line on the folk-rocker "Slimy Green & Kind of Funny" (with words from fifth-grader Lauren Walton) -- but they're the exception, not the rule. Thaddeus has a slightly odd singing voice that makes me think he's trapped between a rocker's voice and a Broadway voice, and whatever the case, I don't think the songs showcase his voice well.

The album's most appropriate for kids ages 5 through 8, and you can hear samples at Thaddeus Rex's website (click on "T-Rex's Jukebox").

There are lots of lesson plans available for T-Rex songs, and so your kids may find themselves enjoying the songs, should he perform in an assembly. But you, the parent, will probably take a pass on repeated spins.