Science is a deep well to draw from when writing songs for kids. Their insatiable curiosity and desire to know something that other people do not makes room for subjects that might not normally get put to music. Like fossils and phytoplankton, for instance. This new album not only teaches kids about science, it donates the proceeds to Girls, Inc., an organization that works to improve science education for girls.
Science Fair is a product of Spare the Rock Records, whose previous release, Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti, was named the best family music release by Amazon in 2010 and has raised over $50,000 for Haitian relief. With artists like Mates of State, The Nields and Laura Veirs, it is no surprise that Science Fair is an interesting mix of styles. Electronica, gypsy jazz, folk, rock, pop, and even a little spoken word can be found among the eighteen tracks.
Highlights include Frances England's Goldilocks Zone, a trippy electronic number about the possibility of other life in outer space, and Moona Luna's H20, which has a peppy sound reminiscent of the Go Go's.
Lest you think kids' music has to be dumbed down, there are great lines that pop out at you from every direction. Elizabeth Mitchell's Phytoplankton features a rolling piano beneath careful and elegant rhymes, such as 'It strikes me that the world is a machine/ I could lose myself in its complexity'. But my favorite track so far has to be Lunch Money's To Be a Fossil, a rumination on what it would be like to 'tell a story with my bones' and opens with the following lines: 'To be a fossil a million years from now/ to make you say holy cow/ although you probably won't say holy cow/ a million years from now'. A little deep, a lot of fun, and a great way to draw the listener in.
The 'kindie' rock scene is a flourishing one, and compilations like Science Fair will no doubt keep it going.
For more information about Science Fair and it's mission to improve science education for girls, visit Spare the Rock.
Science Fair is available on Amazon, iTunes, and if you are lucky, your local record store.