Do Fun Stuff is hardly a new idea -- there's a long lineage of compilation albums featuring adult artists recording songs for the swing set, er, set, arguably starting with Free To Be You and Me more than 35 years ago. Even the indie rock genre has been part of the act (see: Yo Gabba Gabba!, See You On The Moon, Colours Are Brighter, Play, and three For The Kids albums, just for starters). This album, the brainchild of music blogger Ryan Marshall (Pacing the Panic Room), is a worthy new addition to the tradition, the equal of many of those collections.
Marshall used to work in the music industry and still has friends there, such as the indie-pop band Rabbit!, who contribute 5 of the album's 13 songs. They're some of the best tracks, such as the uptempo leadoff "Pass It On," the rock ballad "Always a Blue Sky," and the lullabye closer ("Sleep," and natch). But the other artists pitch in nicely in a similar indie-pop vein. A few of the songs tell a story or have some greater moral (hate to spoil it for you, but in Davey Rocker's "Morton the Caterpillar," Morton ends up becoming a butterfly), but it mostly has a gentle springtime bouncy feel.
The songs here are most appropriate for kids ages 2 through 7. (Spin the tunes in the widget below.) This digital-only release is also noteworthy in 2 other ways: 1) it managed, albeit briefly, to hit the #1 spot in the iTunes Children's Music store, which is pretty amazing for an indie release, and 2) more importantly, it's a benefit album for which 100% of the proceeds will go towards funding graduate students who will do additional research into the Smith Magenis Syndrome, a developmental disability (Marshall's stepson is diagnosed with SMS). Little of that would matter if the album wasn't good. But it is good, worth your time and money. Fans of those indie-rock-for-kids albums above will definitely enjoy Do Fun Stuff as well and even if you don't know your Frightened Rabbit from your Rabbit! methinks your family can still rock (and mellow) out to the songs here. Recommended.