Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Brooklyn Baby! By Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights

Brooklyn Baby! By Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights

Fall 2017 Music
Ages: 4 - 10 yrs.
CD Price: $15.00

Crafted with a New York vibe, terrific musicality, silly fun, and an observational eye, this new family album by singer-songwriter Joanie Leeds and her rock-pop band, The Nightlights, is filled with ambient sound effects, robust and tender melodies, and lyrics with overt and between-the-lines understanding for the simple pleasures and challenges of childhood. There are a couple of missteps: "Rainbow Bagels From Outer Space," a noisy, charmless song, doesn't live up to its quirky name or the rest of the album; and "Hipster in the Making," a remix of a track from Leeds' 2014 album, Good Egg. The treats here, though, are many. Among them: the catchy, vocabulary-rich "knowledge brings you power" message in "Library Book," delivered with impressive, rhythmic speed and clarity; Leeds' notably versatile, expressive vocals and a compelling rock beat that make a "Ferry Nice" trip to Brooklyn Bridge Park very nice indeed; a new mother's love shining throughout the title track; and a vivid, jazz-grooving trip on the "Subway" ("lucky me I found a seat…). My two favorites: "Stoop," drawing listeners into the happiness of a sunny, "sittin' on my stoop" day, watching the world go by—a deceptively simple little masterpiece that becomes richer and richer with gradually added layers of vocal harmony—and the final track, "Sunday Morning." This beautiful song will surely fall tenderly on little ears, but the sense of wistful nostalgia that resonates throughout may just leave adults with a lump in the throat.

Lynne Heffley   ©2017 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper's first weekly children's arts and entertainment beat.

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Joanie Leeds Music for Kids

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