When I started this website more than nine years ago, I held in my mind two slightly contradictory notions about music reviews:
1) There was not enough distinction between music reviews, especially for kids -- music was uniformly good in many reviews -- and therefore finer distinctions needed to be made to assist parents in allocating finite resources (monetary and time).
2) Cultural reviews are inherently biased and basing one's own opinion of a cultural product on that of just one other person could be deficient.
In other words, individual reviews are both important and insufficient.
I've tried to write at this site in a way that honors both notions. While I do tend to cover only music worth the time of at least some portion of my audience, there is some gradation in my reviews. And I've always tried to convey the idea that these are just my opinions. Really well-informed opinions based on thousands of hours of listening to thousands of albums, but opinions nonetheless.
All of which is to say that I consider the founding of the Fids and Kamily Music Awards one of the best things I've done for kids music. Since 2006, I, along with Bill Childs (Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child) and Gwyneth Butera (Gooney Bird Kids) (who took over for Amy Davis) have coordinated the awards, soliciting Top 10 lists from the people who spend more time listening to kids music than anybody in the country. There's lots of great kids music out there, but Fids and Kamily highlights the best of the best.
This year's list of 2013's best albums features some familiar faces along with a few newcomers to the list. It's 2013, so how about the Top 13 albums of the past year, led by Justin Roberts, returning to the top of the Fids and Kamily pile:
1. Justin Roberts - Recess
2. Frances England - Blink of an Eye
3. Alastair Moock - Singing Our Way Through-Songs for the World's Bravest Kids
4. Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell - Turn Turn Turn
5. Shine and the Moonbeams - Shine and the Moonbeams
6. Recess Monkey - Deep Sea Diver
7. The Not-Its! - Kidquake
8. Dean Jones - When the World Was New
9. Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke - Pleased to Meet You
10. Justin Roberts - Lullaby
11. Lori Henriques - The World Is A Curious Place to Live
12. Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band - Fantastico!
13. Lloyd H. Miller - S.S. Brooklyn
More details on the year's results, including 10 more honorable mention albums and the year's top 6 debut albums can be found on the 2013 results page.
Thanks to all the judges for participating, Bill and Gwyneth for coordinating (especially this year) , Jeff Bogle from Out With the Kids for logo design, and most importantly to all the kids music artists who continue to make such quality music for families to enjoy.
(Oh, and look for my personal lists in the near future.)