The brand new self-titled album from Shine and the Moonbeams is an easy candidate for one of the year’s best albums for kids. With its mix of upbeat music an equally uplifting lyrics, this album is one that even parents will appreciate. It all opens with a fun Latin-tinged piece titled, ‘The Melody in Me’ that is sure to have kids and parents alike on their feet and dancing to the music. It starts off with a group of horns set against the band clapping in time to the music while drummer Russell Carter kicks in a light New Jack swing beat. That alone is enough to get kids and their parents up and moving. Singer Shawanna “Shine” Kemp’s vocals make the song even more fun when she comes in. What she sings isn’t just some kid friendly happy happy joy joy type of song. It’s a song that celebrates the joy of music, period. She sings, “There’s a melody/Music in my feet/Can you hear this beat/Right here in my feet/There’s a melody/Music in my hands/Can you hear this band/Right here in my hands/And I can clap my hands/And I can stomp my feet/And I can dance and I can sing/Sing it with me.” It’s a fun song, plain and simple. It’s one to which the whole family will find itself singing and dancing. Suffice it to say that it is one heck of a first impression for this band. Things only get more fun for families as the band launches into the album’s second song, ‘Imagination,’
‘Imagination’ is just as fun as the album’s opener for a couple of reasons. The first and most obvious of those reasons is the song’s lyrical side. It’s a song that encourages young listeners to—in simple terms—use their imaginations. As the years have passed by and technology has advanced with each year, young audiences have increasingly demanded instant gratification. It’s even gotten to the point that rather than learning to use their imaginations, children can just turn on Nick, Jr. or Disney, Jr., and voila, there’s the imagination right in front of them. It takes away their reason to think for themselves. Here in this song though, Kemp tells her young audiences just how fun it is to not get that instant gratification; to think for themselves and reap the rewards of doing so. She sings, “I can be a lion or a jellyfish/I can be anything that I wish/Soccer player, rocket scientist/A peanut butter sandwich/When I use my/Use my imagination/yeah/I’m in a forest with two hundred-foot trees/I’m on the ocean sailing the seven seas/I’m a river/I’m a mountain/I’m even a breeze/I’m a bee/I’m a beehive/I’m even a sting when I use my/Use my imagination/Yeah/It comes in handy/In any situation/Yeah, yeah.” This is just one of a handful of inspiring and uplifting songs that parents will have no problem playing with and for their kids. There’s at least one more prime example of what this album offers to its listeners. It’s one of so many for which parents will be thankful. That song is ‘Bully Bully.’
‘Bully Bully’ is a fitting song in the current era as the country continues to tackle the ongoing bullying epidemic of childhood bullying. Kemp and her band mates sing straight forward about the problem of bullying, “It won’t stop until we all say stop/So STOP/Stop bullying me/Stop bullying me.” This is a simple statement. But it’s such a powerful statement at the same time. It’s a true statement. Rather than letting children be victims and in many cases become martyrs of sorts, all it takes is simply standing up to bullies and telling them to stop. It’s incredible what someone standing up to a bully can do for a person. The force that Kemp and company use when they say “STOP” really drives home the importance of not being mousy about standing up to bullies, either. One doesn’t have to be as mean as the bullies. One needs just stand up to a bully and be firm. Tell that bully in a voice that lets them know a person means business plain and simple, “STOP!” They’ll typically back down pretty quickly. This is just one more of so many outstanding songs on this debut effort from Shine and the Moonbeams. It’s one of so many songs that again, makes it one of the best albums of 2013 for both children and parents alike. The album is available now. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Shine-Your/dp/B00DDBEBE4/ref=sr_1_cc_2?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1371757895&sr=1-2-catcorr&keywords=Shine+and+the+Moonbeams.
The band is currently touring in support of its album. Its next performance is at the River Celibration Day festival at West Harlem Piers Park on June 29th. Fans can get a complete listing of the band’s tour dates and all of the latest news from the band on its official website at http://shineandthemoonbeams.com and on its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shine-and-the-Moonbeams/234481786657193.
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