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.
Approximately four years after the release of her then latest album, Just Dance, veteran thespian, dancer, singer, and family music entertainer Twinkle will release her fourth album, It’s OK to Be Me Friday. Audiences of varying ages and backgrounds will find Twinkle’s forthcoming album interesting in large part because of its general presentation. This will be discussed shortly. In examining the album a little deeper, those audiences will find the record’s musical arrangements just as appealing as the album’s general presentation. They will be examined a little later. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements round out the album’s most important elements and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make the album a unique addition to this year’s field of new family music albums.
Twinkle’s forthcoming album It’s OK to Be Me is a presentation that will appeal widely to audiences of varying ages and backgrounds. That is due in no small part to its general presentation. The presentation is important to address because Twinkle presents the album not once but twice over. The first time, it is presented in English and the second in her native language, Spanish. This is so important to note because it shows a clear effort on the part of Twinkle to yes, reach audiences who speak each language, but also a recognition that even here in the United States, there are so many people who speak some Spanish dialect. So it shows a conscious effort by Twinkle to show respect toward that diversity. Twinkle and all involved in the album’s presentation are to be commended for that directed effort to promote and respect cultural diversity in this aspect. Speaking of that diversity, it plays into the album’s lyrical themes, which will be discussed later. Before moving on to the album’s lyrical content though, the attention must first be turned to the album’s musical arrangements.
The musical arrangements featured in It’s OK to Be Me are important because they in themselves are diverse. The diversity comes in their sounds and stylistic approaches. Staying on that note, Twinkle has been and is being marketed as the children’s answer to Lady Gaga. However, in listening to the diversity in the album’s musical arrangements such comparison is not fully telling. Yes, there is some pop style music featured in these arrangements here. However, there are also many more pop rock style compositions here than pure pop style works. To that end, audiences can just as easily make comparison to works from the likes of Pink as to Lady Gaga. That comparison is made obvious right from the outset of the 23-minute record (each 14-song run of the album is 23 minutes, so that is the run time being used here) in the form of the album’s title track. The use of the rock style instrumentation, the electronics, and Twinkle’s vocal delivery makes that clear. It is even clearer in the slightly later entry, ‘Keep It Movin’. In reality, the closest that Twinkle comes to a Lady Gaga comparison in this record comes even later in ‘Love.’ Even that song is a stretch in terms of such comparison. ‘Mask It Up’ takes audiences back to the golden age of funk and R&B in its arrangement, meanwhile, while ‘Together’ presents its own unique presentation. There is a certain 80s pop sensibility to this song’s arrangement. So again, there is plenty of variety and diversity in the album’s musical arrangements. That variety and diversity is certain to engage and entertain audiences in itself, but to call Twinkle the Lady Gaga of family music is really incorrect. That is, again in listening to this record, which even includes some rapping to enhance some of the songs. Keeping all of this in mind, the album’s musical arrangement prove to do more than enough to make the record successful, too. Keeping them in mind with the impact of the record’s dual presentation, the album proves even more of a success. They are, collectively, still just a part of what makes the album work so well. The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical arrangements are important to the presentation, too.
The lyrical themes that are featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements are important to examine because they are diverse in their own right. For the most part, the record’s overarching theme is that of self-confidence. Right from the album’s outset, she reminds listeners that they should take pride and confidence in themselves, no matter what others might think. She makes that especially clear in the interlude, “Be The Flamingo,” in which she openly tells her audiences, “Always march to the beat of your own drum…celebrate your individuality, your uniqueness, and most importantly, accept all humankind for their differences.” If only humans would heed this familiar commentary. Speaking of the interlude, Twinkle follows each song with a spoken word style presentation that openly speaks on the lyrical content of its preceding companion work. Getting back on the topic at hand, Twinkle reminds her listeners to always do what we do in life with love in ‘Love’ and its companion interlude, ‘One Word,’ This shows again, that noted variety and diversity in the album’s lyrical themes. On yet another note, Twinkle encourages young listeners to wear their face coverings in ‘Mask Up’ and ‘For Humanity.’ So not only is Twinkle encouraging listeners to be proud of themselves in her new album, but she is also working to promote the greater good of the world in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That is respectable in itself. It also shows once more, that noted variety and diversity in the album’s lyrical content. When all of this and the rest of the album’s lyrical content is considered together, no doubt is left as to the noted variety and diversity in said content. It does just as much to make the album successful as the album’s musical content and its general presentation. All things considered, they make the album a positive new offering from Twinkle.
Twinkle’s forthcoming album, It’s OK to Be Me is a presentation that is more than OK. It is a presentation that audiences of all ages and backgrounds will find appealing. That is proven in part through its general presentation. The general presentation is important to address because it shows a conscious effort on the part of Twinkle and all involved in the album’s creation, to reach out to as many audiences as possible. That effort in itself shows a respect for the diverse range of people who listen to her music. That in itself is well-deserving of applause. Speaking of diversity, the musical arrangements featured throughout the album are themselves diverse in sound and style. They are mostly more comparable to works from Pink than Lady Gaga, though. The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements is also diverse, touching on the diversity which the album (and Twinkle) respects, the nation’s current health situation, and more. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this record. All things considered, they make the album one of the best of this year’s new family music offerings.
It’s OK to Be Me is scheduled for release Friday through Twinkle’s own Twinkle Time Records. More information on the album is available along with all of Twinkle’s latest news at:
Family entertainer Twinkle wants people around the world to come “together.”
The kindie-pop star, who has been called the Lady Gaga of family music, debuted the video for her latest single ‘Together‘ May 22 through her official YouTube channel. The song, which also features guest performances by MC Magic and saxophonist Izzi Def, boasts a guitar-driven pop sound that will appeal just as much to adults as it will to children.
The song’s lyrical theme will also connect widely to audiences as Twinkle urges everyone to come together rather than divide. MC Magic adds his own touch to the song as he addresses the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, even going so far as to say, “I think we all gotta reach deep inside/And send a message to the king in the sky/Let him know next time we gon’ be better/Let him know that we gon’ stand together/Hold each other up/Make the world a better place/Unite like a family/All one race.” This is a message that will resonate with listeners of all ages.
Along with recording the song in English, Twinkle, who is Peruvian-American, also recorded her latest single in Spanish for her Spanish-speaking friends, family and audiences. The song’s Spanish take is available to take in here.
More information on Twinkle’s new song and video is available along with all of her latest news at:
Children’s music, this critic has noted time and time again, is one of the most underrated genres of the vast musical universe. To this day, so many people still have the belief that children’s music is cutesy pre-school level material that will only appeal to its young target audiences. The reality of children’s music is that while some of that music does appeal mainly to younger listeners, just as much of it will appeal to older audiences, too. The bluegrass sounds of the Okee Dokee Brothers, the hip-hop vibes of Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, and even the light jazz arrangements of Diana Panton prove that there is just as much music out there that will appeal just as much to adults as it will to children. That being the case, this critic is hereby proposing that the music industry eliminate the term “Children’s Music” from here on out and replace it with the term “Family Music.” Now with that in mind, this critic has been focusing quietly a handful of Family Music albums yet again this year, and this year’s list has some interesting new additions that will indeed appeal to the whole family including the list’s topper, Swing Set, from veteran Family Music entertainer Jazzy Ash.
Also included in this year’s list of new Family Music offerings is the soundtrack to the Junie B. Jones stage play, Dolly Parton’s (yes, Dolly Parton) I Believe In You, Danny Weinkauf & The Red Pants Band’s Totally Osome! and so many other offerings. As always, this critic’s list includes the top 10 New albums plus five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 records. Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2017 Top 10 New Family Music Albums.
PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY MUSIC ALBUMS
Jazzy Ash — Swing Set
Ladysmith Black Mambazo — Songs of Peace & Love for Parents & Kids Around The World
Putumayo Presents — Cuban Playground
Putomayo Presents — Italian Playground
Junie B. Jones: The Cast Album
Mr. Dave — Feeling Good
Mister G. — Green World
Danny Weinkauff & The Red Pants Band — Totally Osome!
Paper Canoe Co. — Beanstalk Jack
Dolly Parton — I Believe In You
Twinkle — Just Dance
Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights — Brooklyn Baby!
Hullabaloo — The Best of Hullabaloo
Laurie Berkner — The Dance Remixes
Dana Cohenour — Dana’s Best Jump & Jam Tunes
That’s it for this list, but not it for Phil’s Picks year-ender lists. With this list out of the way, there are still lists of the year’s top new Jazz & Blues albums, rock, hard rock & metal albums, live recordings, albums of the year, and plenty of DVD/BD lists. Since time is short in the year, Phil’s Picks will offer multiple lists each day in an effort to make it to the year’s end. So stay tuned for all of that.