Review: Not Naptime - Justin Roberts

NotNaptime.jpgNot Naptime, the title of the 2003 album from Chicago-based Justin Roberts is somewhat misleading. This album, Roberts' third for kids, is probably his most down-tempo, the one most I'd most likely play, well, not at naptime, but at least at quiet time.

To be honest, I've always thought Roberts' rave-ups and alt-pop were his best tunes -- think "Yellow Bus," "Our Imaginary Rhino," or "Day Camp." And so I think the best tracks here are similar -- the furiously played "D-O-G," or "Billy the Bully," an alt-poppy story-song about taking on bullies with a tension-filled bridge, released with a chorus of "one-by-one-by-one-by-one." The gentler songs, sometimes they work (the now slightly anachronistic "Nine Planets") and some are just OK ("Nightlight"). I should note, however, that Roberts is one of the best at writing the album-closing slow song that just about every kids' album seems to have. Here, he's so good that he's written two fine closers, "Dad Caught Stars" and "Last Night the Moon was Full."

With a couple of songs about school on the disk, the target audience here is probably ages 4 through 8. You can hear some samples here (or a full version of "Billy the Bully") at Roberts' website's radio player.

Roberts' oeuvre is broad enough that each of his five CDs is probably the favorite of several families. Not Naptime is certainly a good album, and recommended. Whether this most mellow of Roberts' CDs is your family's favorite depends on how you and your family like your Justin Roberts -- faster or slower.