When LEGO DUPLO announced that they were going to release LEGO-related songs for the wee ones earlier this year, I was dubious. Even when Jeff, who got a sneak preview of the first track at the Toy Fair in February, said the track was pretty good, I was still dubious. Major corporations rarely get the tone of kids' music right, especially on the first go-round. As much as LEGOs are a part of my family's history (I'd guess it's been more than 35 years since I first played with them), I kept my expectations low.
Then I finally started hearing the tracks myself.
Lo and behold, the songs in the LEGO DUPLO JAMS series are pretty darn good. They work well in every possible way. To begin with, they're tuneful -- "Sort Out the Blues" is a happy, bluesy rocker, "Build With Letters" is a Jangly British pop tune, "What Can I Be" is an homage to '50s doo wop. Beyond that, the positive messages and lessons (e.g., share, create, use your imagination) are made pretty obvious to the toddlers and preschoolers who'll be listening, but not in a way that'll annoy the parents. (They'll probably be chuckling about the abundant LEGO-based double entendres -- in "Stick Together," things are a "snap," for example, or the verb "build" is employed a lot.)
Obviously the folks at LEGO strongly believe in the value of play, and the songs tie in nicely with that belief. The song "Brick Racer" might lend itself to playing with cars (LEGO or otherwise), "Barnyard Serenade" sings about a variety of animals, many of which you can find or create with LEGOs. (Check out lyrics and play suggestions in this online DUPLO JAMS book.)
Collectively, the songs could be the soundtrack for a brick-building session... or just a drive around town. Given that LEGO DUPLO JAMS was a sponsor of both the kids' stage at the Newport Folk Festival and the Meltdown, they seem to be in the kids' music game for the long haul, which is good news for all concerned.
So the easiest way to get all these songs is to sign up for the LEGO DUPLO JAMS podcast. About once a month you'll get a new song for your podcasting pleasure -- there are now ten songs, with the latest introduced yesterday.
But now there's a brand-new, free LEGO DUPLO JAMS iOS app that features 5 of those songs and little interactive "videos" to go along with them. Unlike the songs themselves, which kids up to the age of 6 or 7 would probably like, kids older than 5 will probably be bored with app. But the younger kids will like touching the screen and making different objects move. (The "Barnyard Serenade" video has a simple memory matching game, too.)
If you don't believe me that the songs are good, download the latest track, "Come Over Friends," courtesy of LEGO. It's a holiday-inflected pop-rocker perfect for Thanksgiving or December playtime.
And if that tickles your fancy, how about this -- LEGO is giving you the opportunity to win a CD featuring all the LEGO DUPLO JAMS songs plus a LEGO DUPLO set. That's right, that CD/set prize pack will go to three lucky readers. All you need to do is to post a comment below (or on the Zooglobble Facebook link promoting this contest) with a LEGO construction memory by Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 11 PM East Coast time / 8 PM West Coast time. I'll pick three winners at random. One entry per family, please. Good luck!