Best New Children's Music 2012 / OWTK Kindie Album Reviews

Sunshine Collective – Wanna Play? Kid’s CD Mini Review


A tale of two halves.  Graceful radio-friendly pop rock for the whole family with charm from the moment the needle drops to the closing hiss and crackle even though the stickiness of the songs fades a bit midway through.  The Bear and Mouse are glued to tracks 1-6 then lose interest. I find some joy late in the album but when we listen as a family, it’s often looping the first half.

There is a big gap in kid’s music.  I think everyone in this biz would acknowledge that we lose our kids to top-40 radio at 8, 9, 10 years old…if not sooner.  If you’ve got this problem or fear it fast approaching, Sunshine Collective might just be the speed bump of your dreams.  This is not to say that Katy Perry won’t still come-a-knockin’ eventually but there’s a commercial radio quality to the elegant piano, brass and strings on “I Just Wanna Play”, the bubblegum pop of “LA (Beautiful Day)”, and the modernist “You Know” with its shout-outs to text messages, ringtones, and boyfriends not mom-approved, that might just satisfy your pre-teens changing tastes even if they don’t get the Rolling Stones references.

And then there’s the album’s standout track.  One of the 1st songs I remember adoring was Harry Connick Jr’s “Recipe For Love“. I was 14. The mere fact that I could sing the entire song as a sophomore in high school ensured that I was not going to be trying out that recipe for many years to come. The peach-colored cardigan sweater didn’t help. What’s strange is that I must’ve been visited by a different bird than Harry, ’cause my flighted courier promised that I could make it by myself, and that I should get comfortable with the reduced ingredients. Sunshine Collective doesn’t cover this song – how inappropriate would that be?! – but the not-originally-intended-for-kids outfit does dabble in some clever, still-family-friendly wordplay on “Love Makes Life So Sweet”, “Wanna Play?”‘s finest 3-minutes.

If Taylor Swift was more interested in Sinatra and old Hollywood musicals than shiny, faux-country music, she might make an album as lovely as “Wanna Play?”. That said, the disc’s closing number “Together” could easily be sung by Ms. Swift herself or win Lady Antebellum another shelf full of Grammy awards should they record it.

“Wanna Play?” hits your ears like your head landing on a primped and puffed feathery pillow. The absorption on impact in both cases: blissful.

*OWTK received a copy of “Wanna Play?” for review consideration. The opinions above are honest and unbiased.

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