Best Kids Music of 2015: Top 5 Debuts

Continuing on with my look back at 2015 (or Oct. 1, 2014 though Sept. 30, 2015, or thereabouts), let's turn our attention to debuts.

As always, I struggle with this list because what is a "debut" in kids music?  Meaning, if someone's been recording music for adults for a decade or more and then releases an album for kids, is that a "debut"?  I've leaned towards "no," especially if there's no indication that they plan to return to the kids music world.  (See: The Amazing Keystone Big Band, Suz Slezak, or Hilary Grist, though I would love to be proven wrong.) Same goes for artists who've recorded kids music but in other pairings.  (Waves hello to Renee Stahl, who recorded as Renee and Friends as a break from Renee & Jeremy.)

Luckily, the list of five albums below are still fine introductions to kids music from artists I've got a pretty good feeling might come back for round 2 -- at the very least they went to the trouble of creating a new band, right?  So here are my top 10 favorite debuts, listed alphabetically.

 Turkey Andersen cover

Turkey Andersen cover

Turkey AndersenTurkey Andersen

[Review] - "Its combination of TMBG quirkiness and songwriting with Jonathan Richman-esque earnestness and vocals is pretty much instantly appealing.  If this debut is proof-of-concept, then I think it's proven that Turkey Andersen needs some investors."

 Big Block Singsong album cover

Big Block Singsong album cover

Big Block Singsong - Big Block Singsong Greatest Hits Vol. 1

[Review] - "Turns out that the delightful series of 2-minute music videos date back to 2009, when Canadian illustrator Warren Brown and composer Adam Goddard (now Goddard/Brown) first unleashed Big Box Singsong, as it was then known, onto the world... Now there are 59 videos, 49 of which are the Season 1 pile which provide the 24 songs drawn for the album and DVD.  I, for one, welcome our new big block overlords."

 S.S. Bungalow album cover

S.S. Bungalow album cover

Big World Audio Theatre - The Peculiar Tales of the S.S. Bungalow 

[Review] - "Voice actor Kevin Barbare narrates the story, which is filled with enough dramatic plot turns, gentle good humor, atmospheric sound effects, and occasional Princess Bride-style meta-commentary to keep the target audience hooked and any adults tuned in amused.  The chamber pop-folk, featuring the occasional stringed instrument, horns, and pedal steel, runs the gamut from peppy to slow as befitting the story's twists and turns."

 Mi Viaje album cover

Mi Viaje album cover

Sonia De Los Santos - Mi Viaje: De Nuevo Leon to the New York Island 

[Review] - "Mi Viaje is an engaging album, and De Los Santos has succeeded in her goal of having listeners understand her journey from Mexico to New York City.  A Spanish-language kids music album might seem like a niche record, but as De Los Santos and others in this third wave of Spanish-language kids music of the past couple years have shown, it can speak to a fairly broad audience."

 Let's Boogie album cover

Let's Boogie album cover

Rock 'n' RainbowLet's Boogie

[Review] - "Let's Boogie is energetic and a different spin on a lot of early childhood music education music. For families looking for a slightly glitter-infused take on music for their kindergarteners, this could fill that niche well."  [Note: Mike Whitla's done some other kids music stuff, but this is of such a different character that I'm letting it in as a debut.]