Us Weekly, 2001
Tunes For Tots
The hottest headliners in the world of kids' music.
By Bruce Kluger
Once upon a time, children’s albums were the domain of buttoned-up recording
artists, whose music—and appearance—was more Romper Room than rock-and-
roll. Not any more. Today’s kids’ musicians are a bejeaned and beguiling pack bent
on injecting a little MTV into their ABCs.
turned-kids’ pop star and currently the industry darling.
The story goes, Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes, was so
smitten with pre-school stylings on Berkner’s recordings,
that the Material Girl invited her to sing at Lourdes’
birthday party. Ditto Sting and his son. Now the nose-
ringed, deliciously hip acoustic guitarist has turned out a
third album, Victor Vito (Two Tomatoes), whose title cut
alone—aka “The Spaghetti Song”—has already become a
Goldfish” (in which a school of fishies brush their teeth and ride bikes) and new-
fangled spins on old favorites “O Susannah” and “Tingalayo.”
Wendy Gelsanliter, meanwhile, kicks off her new album,
Ants Wear Underpants (BizzyBum, 888-243-2977), with a
charmer called “Itty Bitty Kitty in New York City,” all about
a cat who ascends from cardboard-box critter to “king of
the street.” Expect similar big things from singer-guitarist
herself, whose deft musicality and vocal agility (imagine a
mix of Mary Chapin Carpenter and Natalie Merchant, with
Dolly Parton’s twang thrown in for good measure) grace a
collection of tunes that effortlessly slide from rockabilly
(“Head and Shoulders”) to jazz (“Pajamson”) to wind-down-time ballad (“Eenie
Meenie Miny Mo”).
Then there’s Sara Hickman, who somehow manages to
cram 31 songs—some not even a minute long—onto her
newest CD, Toddler (Sleeveless). Formerly a pop artist
who toured with Dan Fogelberg and appeared on VH-1,
Hickman serves up a smorgasbord of confections--from
ditty to faux-rap--perfect for sing-, dance- and laugh-
along. Especially engaging are a funk cover of “This Little
Light of Mine,” the rhythmic chant “I Like My Boots” and a
riotously manic rendition of schoolyard favorite “Weenie
traditional and original numbers designed to help parents sing to their children.
Tuneful lessons in love from a wickedly wise wordsmith
By Bruce Kluger
"Listen to Me," the hard-driving second cut on her new
album, Shed this Skin (Hope Tunes), the 28-year-old
singer-songwriter with the fire-and-ice pipes and no-
prisoners delivery levels her clueless lover with the kind of
dressing-down most spurned women only dream about.
"You sit there with your stupid grin," she spits out against
the pulsing staccato of her acoustic guitar. "Is that all you
can do?" This is not to say Peimer doesn't give equal time
sweet longing, while "Hope," an uplifting anthem to optimism ("When nothing is left
in this world for me…there is hope") has pop hit written all over it. Peimer clearly
knows her way around a melody—but it's those lyrics that go straight for the heart.