A friend recently introduced me to the music of The Backyardigans, which is a children’s show about a group of 3D animated animal kids who engage in elaborate make-believe games. There’s heavy emphasis on music – as well as dance choreography to go with it – with each episode featuring several songs, and often they’ll borrow a public domain song and re-invent it – like “Row Your Boat”, “Limbo Rock”, or “With Cat-Like Tread, Upon Our Prey We Steal”. They also play around with different musical styles, from bossa nova to polka.
This particular song has been stuck in my head lately, entitled “Go, Go, Go!” from the Born To Play album. I believe it’s a full-on original, but I could be wrong.
I’ve not seen the episode it’s from, but the lyrics seem to be about racing, the characters singing that they need to go go go go go to gain momentum. I love the bare-bones ramshackle sound of the arrangement, with only a violin, an accordion, and drums holding it all together, sounding almost like an indie band in my ears (minus the pretentiousness). I also love how the kids sing from the top of their lungs on this one, trying to sing loud enough for the chorus.
And so what if it’s a children’s songs? This is pretty good music, period. There’s certainly a lot of dull and condescending children’s music out there too, but there is some children’s music that’s genuinely good as well, managing to entertain both children and adults alike. Certainly the musical numbers from many of the Disney classics come to mind, and there are other TV-shows out there that have pretty decent music, like Animaniacs and even Bear In The Big Blue House. There are certain alternative bands and musicians who’ve dabbled with children’s music as well, They Might Be Giants and Jonathan Richman coming to mind, perhaps even obscuring the line between music meant for adults and music meant for kids.
So there’s nothing wrong with indulging in some children’s music now and then. As long as it’s good, of course.