Itty-Bitty Review: Good Egg - Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights


When I think of the female stars of kindie -- Laurie Berkner, Elizabeth Mitchell, Frances England, Molly Ledford of Lunch Money, to name some -- the names that come to mind are folk-rockers or indie-rockers, (sometimes) with more of an emphasis on preschool audiences.  What's missing are lots of nationally-known names making pop-rock for the elementary school crowd -- the female equivalents of your Justin Roberts, Recess Monkey, and Ralph's World (among many more).

I'm not going to speculate on why that is, but would suggest that New York City's Joanie Leeds is close to staking her claim in the kindie pop-rock star canon.  On her sixth kids' CD, Good Egg, Leeds and her Nightlights run through the gamut of kid-accessible topics -- food fights, Halloween, parents, doctor's visits -- filtered through a pop-rock lens (with the occasional punk-rock or arena-rock touches).  She's not tackling the subjects in any particularly unique way, but the combination of her fine voice, solid playing (and producing from Dean Jones), and hummable melodies produce a set of songs that sound good here (and will sound good live as Leeds increasingly plays on a national stage).

I think Leeds is at her best in songs with the tiniest bit of edge.  Songs like "Food Fight" (I think you can guess what that's about) and "Confusing Costume" have more vim than the kinder, gentler Leeds on tracks like "Kids Place" or "With My Dad."  (I'll forgive "Hipster in the Making," which seems likely to bore the kids while amusing the Park Slope parents in Leeds' backyard with Pitchfork and dub-step references.)

You can stream the entire 42-minute album -- most appropriate for kids ages 4 through 9 -- here.   I'm not sure that Good Egg is the final step towards Joanie Leeds' total world domination, but it is a slick collection of appealing pop-rock songs that, if your family is a fan of Justin Roberts and Recess Monkey, perhaps your family should try on for size.  Recommended.