Leeds’ Latest LP Succeeds Through Musical, Lyrical Variety

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Kindie rock stars Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights are scheduled to release their latest full-length album next month.  Brooklyn Baby! is scheduled to be released May 19, 2017 in stores and online. The group’s sixth full-length studio recording and Leeds’ eighth overall full-length studio recording, this latest offering from Leeds and company is another enjoyable offering for audiences of all ages.  That is due in part to the record’s varied musical styles.  This will be discussed shortly.  The album’s equally varied lyrical themes are just as important to discuss in examining this album as its musical arrangements.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the recording’s whole.  All things considered, they make Brooklyn Baby! a record that proves to be one of this year’s top new children’s albums.

Brooklyn Baby! is one of this year’s top new children’s albums.  That is due in part to the varied musical arrangements presented throughout the course of its 13-song body.  From one song to the next, Leeds and her band mates—Ian Baggette (bass/vocals), Dan Barman (drums/percussion), Jeff Litman (guitar) and Scott Stein (keyboards)—take listeners through a constantly varying array of genres.  The arrangement in the album’s opener for instance is the type of work that would appeal to fans of Sheryl Crow Shania Twain with its pop-country-esque sound and Leeds’ vocal delivery.  By contrast, ‘Rainbow Bagels From Outer Space’ boasts an arrangement that is just as *ahem* out of this world as its title.  The arrangement in question is a punk-style composition that clearly pays homage to famed New York-based punk forefathers The Ramones.  The fact that the song’s run time is only 1:49 hints at that tribute even more.  Anyone who is familiar with The Ramones music will understand that reference.  On a completely different note (yes, that bad pun was intended) ‘Apples in My Apples’ presents an arrangement that will appeal to fans of John Fogerty.  This proven diversity is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg in exhibiting the album’s overall musical diversity.  ‘Subway,’ the album’s second song exhibits a light, jazzy arrangement that is driven by a pair of maracas and an organ.  ‘Pizza,’ by contrast, is an up-tempo, keyboard-driven pop composition that will put a smile on any listener’s face.  The guitar-driven arrangement exhibited in ‘Shayne Punim’ is just as fun for listeners of all ages.  One could ramble on aimlessly for much longer about each arrangement presented in this record.  All things considered, the arrangements presented here are quite varied.  That maintained variance is certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  It is just one of the elements that ensures listeners’ maintained engagement.  The record’s lyrical topics are just as varied as its musical arrangements.

The varied musical arrangements presented throughout the course of Brooklyn Baby!’s 43-minute run time do plenty to keep listeners fully engaged in the record.  It is just one of the items that ensures listeners’ engagement.  The record’s lyrical themes are just as varied as its musical arrangements.  By and large, this record’s lyrical themes are love letters to Brooklyn.  That is obvious in ‘Ferry Nice,’ ‘Subway,’ and ‘Stoop,’ all of which come early in the album’s run.  They aren’t the only songs that pay homage to one of New York’s great five boroughs.  ‘Pizza,’ ‘Hipster in the Making’ and the album’s title track show even more that this album is a virtual love letter to Brooklyn.  However, that love for Brooklyn is just one of the themes woven into the record.  Leeds ties her love for not just Brooklyn but New York in whole into a much bigger theme of unity in ‘Love is Love.’  She writes here, “It doesn’t matter if your house is big or small/It doesn’t matter if you live in New York or Nepal/It doesn’t matter if you’re short or if you’re tall/It shouldn’t matter at all/Cause love makes us family.”  She goes on from here to sing about the irrelevance of people’s religious differences, their cultural differences and their home nations, adding those differences are what should bring everyone together.  This is an important message to which especially adults should listen considering the nation’s current political climate (not to get too political).  ‘Apples in my Apples’ comes across as a commentary about issues with produce and other foods provided to the nation’s grocery stores.  That can be inferred as she sings in the song’s chorus, “You don’t know what you’re getting that the grocery store/It ain’t like what it used to be/When everything was pure.”  Her comments about non-GMO corn, grass-fed cows, free-range chickens and other related matters make even clearer the message in this music.  There’s no denying that at times, it feels a bit preachy.  But she does make a valid point.  On a less controversial note, Leeds also pens a love letter to libraries in ‘Library Book.’  This song sees Leeds singing about the joys of going to the library, finding so many books and simply learning.  In an age when so much of what people consume (including books) has gone digital, having such a lyrical topic pointing out the importance of the printed word and the buildings that house it.  Between these songs and those that profess Leeds’ love to Brooklyn, the whole of the record’s lyrical themes proves to be just as diverse as the record’s musical arrangements.  Keeping that in mind, it becomes clear why those diverse lyrical themes are so important to the record’s whole.  They still are not the last important element to consider.  The record’s overall sequencing is just as important to discuss here as the record’s musical and lyrical content.

The musical and lyrical content presented throughout Brooklyn Baby! are both key elements to its presentation.  That is because of the diversity exhibited in each.  While they are clearly important elements, they are not the record’s only important elements.  The record’s overall sequencing is just as important to discuss as its music and lyrics.  For the most part, the arrangements presented throughout this record are mid-tempo works.  What is interesting is that the tempos and their associated energies vary just as much as the arrangements and lyrics within each work.  Case in point is the record’s first three songs. The dreamy vibe of ‘Ferry Nice’ set against the more light-hearted, playful vibe of ‘Subway’ and the gentle flowing energy of ‘By Myself’ offers up such a wide variety of energies right off the bat.  The energies exhibited throughout the next three songs varies just as much right up to the album’s midway point that is ‘Pizza.’  That song stands out perhaps more than any others here because of the infectious groove established through its arrangement.  The laid back, almost beachy Jack Johnson style energy exhibited in ‘Shayne Punim’ set against the wild energy of ‘Rainbow Bagels From Outer Space’ and the flowing ballad behind ‘Love is Love’ creates just as much contrast as that presented between the record’s other songs. The energies exhibited in the record’s final set of songs contrast one another just as blatantly as those of the other noted works, too.  All things considered, much thought and time was put into Brooklyn Baby!’s sequencing.  The songs’ arrangements present just as much variety in their energies from one to the next as there is in themselves and their lyrical themes.  Keeping all of this in mind, the whole of this record proves to be yet another enjoyable offering from Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights, and one more of the year’s top new children’s albums.

Brooklyn Baby!, the latest full-length studio recording from Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights, offers plenty for listeners of all ages to appreciate.  From its musical arrangements to its equally varied lyrical themes and its smart sequencing, it will certainly impress fans new and old alike.  Simply put, variance serves as this album’s strongest point.  That variance, in its musical arrangements and energies and in its lyrical themes, makes this record enjoyable from start to finish.  It ultimately makes this album another enjoyable offering from Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights, and one of the year’s top new children’s albums.  It will be available May 19 via Limbostar.  More information on this album is available online now along with all of the group’s latest news and more at:




Website: http://www.joanieleeds.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/joanieleedsandthenighlights

Twitter: http://twitter.com/joanieleeds




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Leeds & The Nightlights’ Latest Is A “Good Egg” Of An Album

Courtesy:  Joanie Leeds/Zameret Music/BMI/Limbostar

Courtesy: Joanie Leeds/Zameret Music/BMI/Limbostar

Singer/songwriter Joanie Leeds and her band mates The Nightlights will release their fourth full length studio album this Summer.  The album, which is slated to be released June24th, is a *ahem* “good egg” of an album.  Yes, that bad pun was fully intended.  Fans will find it interesting to note that this Kickstarter funded album, scheduled to be released June 24th, will be released nearly a year to the day after the band’s previous album, BandwagonGood Egg boasts a total of fifteen songs.  And throughout the course of those songs, Leeds and her band mates offer up quite the musical and lyrical mix.  From an opener about the time honored tradition of the lunchroom food fight to a funky little piece about a drummer named Dan to a beautiful, moving lullaby of sorts being sung to a baby in the womb and more, this album offers listeners so much to enjoy.

Leeds and her band mates open Good Egg on a fun note with a song about one of the greatest childhood rituals of all time—the lunchroom food fight.  In the case of ‘Food Fight,’ Leeds writes about an unnamed boy that alleged he was wrongly accused of having started a food fight.  She writes, “My brother got in trouble at school/Grounded for breaking the lunch-time rule/He said it’s not his fault/It was some other fool who started it/Claimed he was walking with his plastic tray/When he tripped and his applesauce flew away/Right on Jimmy Walker!/The biggest kid’s head.”  What follows is the traditional food fight.  Leeds and her band mates make visualizing the impending scene so simple thanks to such vivid descriptions of food flying everywhere.  She writes about “peas and carrots flying through the air/Tater tots and mustard getting in the hair/Chocolate milk and pudding going in every direction.”  Who hasn’t seen a scene such as this?  It is certain to leave listeners of all ages in stitches as Leeds and company keep the energy flowing throughout the poppy, up-tempo piece. This is just the beginning of the fun offered by the band, too.

‘Food Fight’ is a good first impression for Leeds and her band mates on their latest release.  It’s just the start of the album’s fun, too.  Just as much is the band’s song celebrating the real heart of any band in ‘Drummer Dan.’ The song is centered around an old school funk sound that will have listeners of every age dancing.  And that’s just the start of what makes this song so fun.  Drummers are typically the butt of far too many jokes.  So for Leeds to rhyme about a drummer in such celebratory fashion is a breath of fresh air for drummers of any age, this drummer included.  Leeds writes in the song’s second verse, “That crazy drummer was SOO smooth/I could not believe how fast his arms moved/Kinda like an octopus with mad style/He be rocking those drums with a handsome smile.”  Such a show of respect for drummers is especially a breath of fresh air primarily because of how little respect drummers get.  It is just as much a breath of fresh air because such a celebration of drummers set against an equally fun and funky beat could potentially influence young listeners to give drums a chance.  To that extent, this song becomes and even more invaluable addition to Good Egg.

Both ‘Drummer Dan’ and ‘Food Fight’ are equally invaluable additions to Good Egg.  Both make the fan-funded album enjoyable in their own way.  They are both enjoyable additions to the album.  The same can be said of the album’s other tracks in their own right, too.  Of those other tracks, there is one that stands head and shoulders above the others.  That track is the album’s closer, ‘I Love You.’  It is a perfect way to close out the album in every sense of the term. Most interesting to note about this piece is that despite the beautiful, touching lyrics and simple musical backing, it doesn’t come across nearly as overly emotional as some similar works from other artists. It’s just a happy, hopeful song of the future. It is still almost certain to leave listeners crying tears of joy as Leeds sings, “I am dreaming of the day/When I’ll put my arms around you/Cradle/Softly/Sing so sweetly/While rocking I will tell you/You may not believe it/You’re not even on this earth yet/Showing you is hard to prove/But I feel it/I love you.” After all the fun and energy exuded by the songs leading up to this touching finale, it seems fitting, almost like a story told in reverse through music. It could be argued that it’s all a mother dreaming of everything that is to come for her child, and it all culminates with this one final song. Sure, it might be a bit of a stretch. But it’s just as much a viable possibility, too even if it is unintentional. That being the case, it is one more wonderful reason for fans of Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights to check out the band’s new album when it becomes available next month.

Joanie and company will hit the road in support of their new album beginning June 7th in Burnsville, Minnesota. That show will be followed up by a gig in L.A. on June 21st and a CD release show June 24th in New York. Audiences can check out the band’s full tour schedule online now at http://www.joanieleeds.com. While there, fans can also order the band’s new CD. Audiences can also get all the latest from the band through its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joanie-Leeds-The-Nightlights/169340443114091. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.