Love 1 Love
Tagsearly elementary, music, preschooler, toddler
Justin Roberts is a hero — a musically talented, sanity preserving, friendship saving hero. I’m gushing but it’s also true. I say musically talented because Roberts’ albums lyrically and melodically go above and beyond in the world of tinny kid songs. His heroism is sanity preserving because oh my God if I have to listen to “Old Macdonald” one more time I may tear out my hair and run screaming down the street.
He is friendship saving because I used to nanny for Miles. I saw him every Tuesday for three years and I adored him. He’s bright, funny and rambunctious. Until he was four he said the word “yellow” as if it had y’s in place of l’s and boy is this kid cute! The kind of cute that looks like it stumbled out of an ad for baby Vogue (yes, that’s a thing). Again, I’m gushing but I totally love this kid. I call Justin Roberts a savior of friendship because without him I’m almost certain that my love for young Miles would be a little less profuse.
I tried with this kid. He wasn’t having any of the classic stuff. He didn’t like Greg Brown, The Rolling Stones or Etta James. I thought maybe he was into punk rock but he hated Iggy and the Stooges too. He didn’t like Rilo Kiley or Mason Jennings so more current music was out. Miles was more into this stuff, specifically this song over and over again and again and then, just for good measure… again. I can still sing it by heart. It haunts me.
Then the shining beacon of hope that is Justin Robert’s album Meltdown came into our lives. On it, Justin Roberts performs upbeat, slightly tongue-in-cheek songs that ring true to childhood like “My Brother Did It” a tune dedicated to the oft-played sibling blame game and “Maybe the Monster” a song about that guy who lives under so many kiddos’ beds.
These songs filled our mornings and then our afternoons and they’d still be playing when his parents got home. We danced and sang our way through all of Robert’s albums. Occasionally Miles would manage to slip a cartoon theme song or two past me but for the most part we spent our days in blissful harmony.
Now maybe you’ll understand why I am legitimately excited that Roberts has released another album. The songs on Lullaby, like the ones on previous albums are both sweet and witty, but this time the dance party is over and it’s time to lull the darling dancers to sleep. Roberts brings it down a few notches with songs like “Count Them As Go” (a creative and beautiful take on the idea of counting sheep to get to sleep) and “Wild One” (a poignant tribute to stories before bedtime and the late Maurice Sendak.)
Lullaby features members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Roberts’ usual accompanying band, the Not Ready for Naptime Players. The album is reminiscent of James Taylor, Paul McCartney and Van Morrison but adds its own Robertsian joie de childhood. Still catchy, still sanity saving but this time, it’s time for bed.