Disclaimer: I received a promotional copy of this album for review.
With so many great kindie musicians (especially here in the Pacific Northwest) a new children’s album has to really rock for it to keep my attention. I recently had the chance to preview Wonderful You by Vanessa Trien & the Jumping Monkeys. This is the Boston-area musicians’ fourth children’s album, and it’s available starting October 14. This album and Vanessa’s vocals are reminiscent of kindie music queen Laurie Berkner, especially songs like “Magic Wand” and “One Foot in Front of the Other”. Special guests on this album contribute some of the best performances, and include Alastair Moock, Barbara Brousal, and Rani Arbo.
Many of the songs have a strong, danceable beat and address common childhood themes like imagination, friends, and feelings. I found the songs “Wonderful You” (jazzy and fun with rhyming lyrics) “Chi Chi Bom Bom” (featuring nice bluegrass accompaniment) and “Willie and the Hand Jive” most appealing. Some of the others could be better (“All Together Now” features children’s voices which I’m rarely a fan of, “Monkey Jump” is too frenetic and repetitive). While there are some great songs on here, others just have too much going on to be revisited. I suspect they are more enjoyable in a live performance. Overall, this album was a mixed bag for me.