Artist: Justin Roberts
Age Range: 5 to 9
Description: It wasn’t Justin Roberts’ fault that Beyoncé dropped an album titled Lemonade while he was prepping his own similarly-titled album. If her album was audacious and explosive, this album is reserved and mellow, as Roberts turned to the ukulele in writing and performing the songs on his album. I will admit to preferring Roberts in full revved-up power-pop mode, but his songwriting chops aren’t diminished at all here. In theme, the album is reminiscent a bit of John McCutcheon’s SummerSongs album from more than 20 years ago, albeit with a poppier, more stripped-down approach. Only “Dodgeball” and “Valentine (I don’t wanna be yours)” don’t fit a lazy, late summer afternoon chronologically. (Though, to be fair, “Eight-Legged Octopus” is timely any month of the year.) As always, Roberts does a good job to mix together songs revealing the frustration and silliness of a kid’s day alongside tender, heartfelt tracks like “How Lucky We Are” and “This Is How We Bring In the Sun.” The production, though stripped down, is excellent (I'd expect nothing less from Roberts). The 37-minute album flies by like an August day spent at the park -- nothing profound but you’ll probably still think of it fondly years later. Definitely recommended.
Note: I was given a copy of this album for possible review.