Even if you're the type of parent who dresses their baby in a Folsom Prison Blues onesie, you'll eventually realize that one day you're going to actually purchase and play children's music for your children. If you're like us, then you probably don't know where to start. After all, how many formerly childless adults do you know who are well-versed in the children's music scene? And if you did know many childless adults who were really into kid's music, you'd probably be a bit creeped out.
Via a playgroup mom, we were delighted to be introduced to the music of Frances England. A local of San Francisco, England calls her music "music for the whole family." Before listening to England's Fascinating Creatures, we were pretty skeptical that there's any new music that really could live up to that claim. There's the music from our childhood that relies on nostalgia to make it listenable to our adult ears. But if it wasn't for fond memories of Saturday mornings in front of the television, would you really love Conjuction Junction that much?
England's songs -- especially on Fascinating Creatures -- are melodic and catchy. That's catchy in a good way, not in the "will-I-ever-get-this-song-out-of-my-head" catchy. We think it's the point of view of the songs that is most endearing: they're the thoughts of kids -- smart and clever kids. Take Busy as a Bee:
Last night about a quarter to eight, you came into my room
You said, “Honey, it’s getting late, it’s getting late.”
I said, oh no Momma this cannot be,
I got too many things to do before I sleep, before I sleep
I got trucks to pull and train tracks to lay before the break of day
England draws comparisons to Sarah McLachlan, Neko Case and Cat Power. In the sense that she's a woman singer, that's fair. But England's light and playful songs stand out as something completely different -- it's as if they able to generate nostalgia for the present day and make you realize how wonderful childhood can be.
Oh and babies love her too.