The genre that is family music is one that has always stood out from the rest other genres that make up the musical universe. That is because by and large the music that fills that space is constantly so diverse even as the lyrical themes in so many songs are largely the same. Even being so much the same from one song to the next, the themes are important because they promote individuality, self-confidence, creativity, and so many other items that are key not only for personal growth and development in younger people, but for continued development in older audiences. To that end, those themes are just as accessible for younger listeners as for their more seasoned counterparts. In the same vein, the diversity in the genre’s musical content is just as enjoyable if not more so. That is because honestly, more often than not, it is more diverse than in so much mainstream music for older audiences. At the same time, it will again, more often than not, appeal to such a wide range of audiences. Keeping all of this in mind, the world of family music really is just as deserving of having its own list of top new albums as any other genre, and that is why this critic has continued to present exactly that for so many years.
This year is no different from past years, either. This year was another successful one in the family music world. New albums from veterans, such as Laurie Berkner, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, and Lucky Diaz & The Family Jam Band joined new records from up-and-comers, such as Ben Tatar & The Tatar Tots, Twinkle, and Stacey Peasley among many other established acts. All in all, this year’s field of new family music albums represented the present and future of the genre very nicely, as today’s list will show.
Keeping in mind everything noted about the importance of the content in every family music record, developing a list of the year’s top new albums in the genre is never easy. This critic tried, though. The result of those efforts is this critic’s view of the year’s top 10 best family music albums and five additional honorable mentions, for a total of 15 new offerings. So without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2021 Top 10 New Family Music Albums.
PHIL’S PICKS 2021 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY MUSIC ALBUMS
Koo Koo Kanga Roo – Slow Clap
The Story Pirates – The Strawberry Band
Sarah Watkins – Under The Pepper Tree
The Bright Siders – A Mind of Your Own
Lucky Diaz & The Family Jam Band—Crayon Kids
Laurie Berkner – Let’s Go
Twinkle – It’s OK To Be Me
Gordie “Crazylegs” MacKeeman – Folk For Little Folk Vol. 1
Tracy Bonham – Young Maestros Vol. 1
Genevieve Goings – Great Indoors
Tunes With Tim – We’re All Human
Stacey Peasley – Make It Happen
Jenn Cleary – All Together Now
Kelli Welli – Let’s Go Pistachio
Ben Tatar & The Tatar Tots – Seconds
That’s all for this year’s list of top new family music albums. The new year is just around and the corner and no doubt, lots of new family music is coming with the new year, too.
Family entertainer Genevieve Goings has made quite the name for herself within the family entertainment world over the course of the past decade or so. From her work on Disney Channel’s Choo Choo Soul, to her own music – which has earned her a handful of Gammy® nominations and even a Parents Choice Award – Goings has clearly made her own place within the overall entertainment world. Now Friday, Goings will add to an already stacked resume when she releases her new album The Great Indoors. While it is being marketed as an album, the record consists of only five songs, which is intriguing, but that brief 12-minute run – which is typically considered more of an EP type presentation than LP – is still a presentation that families will find engaging and entertaining in its own right. That is proven collectively through the recording’s musical and lyrical content, as is shown in part through one of the record’s entries, ‘Grateful.’ This song will be discussed shortly. ‘Shadow Puppets’ is another of the songs featured in this brief record that serve to show its strength. It will be discussed a little later. ‘All Year Long’ does its own share to make Goings’ new record interesting, too. It will also be discussed later. All three songs do their own part to make Goings’ new album stand out. Together with the other two songs not noted here, the whole makes The Great Indoors a record that every family will enjoy.
Genevieve Goings’ new forthcoming album The Great Indoors is an engaging and entertaining new offering from the veteran entertainer that families will find enjoyable. That is evidenced through the record’s musical and lyrical content together. ‘Grateful,’ which is one of the record’s singles, is one of the examples of how that content comes together to make the album appealing. The song features a musical arrangement that will appeal to any R&B fan. The steady beat pairs with Goings’ controlled vocal delivery and tone to conjure thoughts of vintage Whitney Houston. If that is not reason enough for audiences of all ages to hear this song, then nothing is.
As if the musical aspect of ‘Grateful’ is not enough reason for audiences to hear this song, its lyrical content adds to that reason. The song’s lyrical content is timely, as it focuses on the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As we all know, the pandemic has led the nation’s elected officials to recommend that even families not come together. Sadly it has forced families from even being able to be with their loved ones in long term care facilities. In this song, Goings addresses all of that while working to remind listeners that they should just be appreciative to even be able to communicate through modern electronic media. She sings in the song’s lead verse, “I’m grateful/For my family and friends/Can’t wait to see you again/Gosh, I feel so lucky/’Cause I feel so much love/Like great big arms around me/Wrapping me in a hug/Gonna call up everybody/All across the globe/Wanna sing, sing/Let it ring, ring/And say hello, hello/It could be a zoom party or a Facetime piece/As long as we’re together/Doesn’t matter how we meet/We’ll be alright/Even if it’s on Skype/We’ll be alright/I’m grateful/For my family and friends/Can’t wait to see you again.” She continues in the song’s second verse, “I know it isn’t so easy/Being so far apart/Util next time you see me/Keep me in your heart/’Cause when we got each other/We’ll never feel alone…” Goings continues in similar fashion from here through the rest of the verse, so there is really no need to go on. Simply put, she is striving here, to put a more positive spin on the emotional difficulty that has come with families and friends being forced to be apart as a result of the pandemic, noting that it is still possible to communicate even over long distances. It is an admirable effort that will appeal to audiences. The addition of the song’s catchy musical arrangement, which will appeal just as much to older listeners as to children, to the mix makes the song stand out even more. The whole is just one of the ways in which The Great Indoors. ‘Shadow Puppets,’ another of the record’s singles, does its own share to add to the record’s appeal.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Shadow Puppets’ is a bit of a reggae style composition mixed with some catchy, upbeat club influence. The balance of the two influences and the clear auto tuning makes the song’s arrangement its own infectious presentation that will appeal to audiences of any age. It lends itself lightly to thoughts of songs from the likes of Sublime, 311, and Sugar Ray. That catchy, radio ready sound works with the song’s lyrical content, which as noted is about…well…making shadow puppets, and makes for even more interest.
Goings sings of the joy from simply making puppets from light, “Shadow puppets on the wall/Some of them are big/Some of them are really small/Anywhere we want to go/We can take a trip into the impossible/Have you ever seen a bunny bounce, bounce, bounce/On the bottom of the sea/Did you know that snails go round, round, round in Ferarris?/I saw three cockatoos/Chillin’ by the pyramids/When I asked them what to do/They said I should dance like this/Boogie to the left/Boogie to the right/Shimmy, shimmy up and down/Boogie all day/Boogie all night/’Til the light goes out.” This fun, nonsensical language is a clear illustration of what happens when people use their imaginations to create the noted shadows puppets. It really is a lost art that can help people develop their imaginative side. That is something that is especially important for young people now more than ever. That encouragement to use one’s imagination (whether alone or with family) continues in the song’s second verse, in which Goings sings, “Did you know baby elephants love, love, love swinging on the swings/I’m sure you know that dogs say, “ruff, ruff, ruff” even when they sing/I saw two cougars/They were working out at the gym/When I asked them what to do/They said I should move like them/Boogie to the left/Boogie to the right/Shimmy, shimmy up and down/Boogie all day/Boogie all night/’Til the light goes out.” Again, here is that continued encouragement for listeners to use their imaginations and get their feet moving in the process. So what audiences get here is a dual-pronged tune whose musical arrangement not only encourages listeners to be creative, but to get moving while they are indoors, too.” This is content that is certain to resonate with plenty of listeners of all ages and yet another example of what makes Goings’ new record appealing. ‘Summer All Year Long’ is yet another notable addition to the album.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Summer All Year Long’ is a catchy pop/R&B style composition that holds its own against songs from any of Goings’ counterparts that are making the rounds on any mainstream Top 40 station out there today. The infectious, steady guitar line and beat work with Goings’ vocal delivery to make a whole composition that lends itself easily to works from the likes of Jamiroquai, Megan Trainor, and others of that ilk. That funky vibe will certainly get into older audiences’ heads just as much as those of their younger counterparts. Of course the song’s musical content is just a part of what makes the song stand out. The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement echoes well, the excitement felt in expecting summer and its high temperatures.
Goings sings of the noted expectations for summer in the song’s lead verse, “We didn’t get a summer/So we’re hot/All year long/So much time/Inside/Summer passed us by/Weather’s cooling down/Bring summer back around/Grab your hat/Grab your shades/Grab your beachball/Make some waves/Grab your towel/Grab a chair/Make it look like the beach in there/Pose/And switch/Head/And hips/Turn/Now freeze/Cool/Feel the breeze.” She continues in the song’s second verse, “Free activity/That’s all you really need/Just use your mind/To make/A tropical escape.” From here, Goings returns to the song’s chorus. While Goings is right that using one’s imagination is important, this one might be a little more difficult because imagining the beach, or some random tropical getaway is not so easy — even in summer — in one’s back yard. Garfield might have been able to do that in one of the shorts from the timeless animated series Garfield & Friends, but in reality, not everyone has a pool in their back yard. It just means that imagining such a situation will be slightly more of a challenge (at least if people are not able to enjoy the beaches — god forbid). Overcoming that challenge will hopefully result in families creating their own tropical paradises or realizing their “fantasies” with trips to the beaches. Regardless, what Goings has done here is create yet another inventive way for families to pass time until the powers that be decide to tell us that what is okay for us is to go outdoors since they seem to think they know better than us. When this song is considered along with the rest of the record’s songs, the whole of the five-song recording proves to be a record that will help spending time indoors great. We can only hope that being forced indoors will only last a short time longer.
Genevieve Goings’ new record Great Indoors is a presentation that largely lives up to its title. That is thanks to its musical and lyrical content alike. The musical arrangements that flesh out the record will get listeners of all ages on their feet, passing the time dancing together. The lyrical content that accompanies songs’ musical arrangements go a long way toward giving families creative ideas about things they can do together to pass the time, too. All three of the songs noted here support the noted statements in their own way. When they are considered along with the two remaining songs not addressed here, the whole of that content makes the record in whole that largely lives up to its title. Great Indoors is scheduled for release Friday through 8 Pound Gorilla Records.
More information on Goings’ new album is available along with all of her latest news at:
Family music entertainer Genevieve Goings debuted her latest single and its video this week.
Goings debuted her new single, ‘Shadow Puppets‘ and its video Friday. The song and its video are the second from Goings’ forthcoming album Great Indoors, which is slated for release Feb. 5. The song’s debut follows that of the album’s lead single ‘Grateful.’
The video for ‘Shadow Puppets’ features Goings in a studio, reading a children’s book. As a producer behind the glass sends her to break, shadows start dancing on a screen next to her as she performs her new single.
The musical arrangement featured in Goings’ new song is a bit of a reggae style composition mixed with some catchy, upbeat club influence. It will entertain and engage audiences of any age.
The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical content is understood easily. It is just about the fun of creating shadow puppets together as a family.
More information on Goings’ new single, video and album is available along with all of her latest news at: