Although my embarrassing inability to grow facial hair and my food palette deficiencies (chicken fingers count as a food group, right?) might prove otherwise, I am not 5 years old. And I also don’t have kids to force my musical tastes on. Both of which place me squarely outside of the target market for Yo Gabba Gabba!: Music Is Awesome!, the new compilation that gathers 21 tracks that appeared on Yo Gabba Gabba!, the gonzoest kids’ show of all time, and the only one that is seemingly marketed at parents who self-identify as “cool” (and high school stoners) as much as ankle-biters.
The roll call for Music Is Awesome! reads like a list of gauche indie-rockers; from the Shins, the Little Ones and I’m From Barcelona to Of Montreal, Chromeo and Mark Kozelek, the roster for Music Is Awesome! could just as easily have been for a Gap mixtape. But instead of the indie rockers doing their well-known hits, they’re doing songs about washing your hands, brushing your teeth and racial tolerance. It’s a noble enough cause to teach tykes that washing their hands after they take a dump is a good idea, but I can’t think of anything that is less rock ‘n’ roll than that. It’s like everyone involved here had a race to the bottom of the goofiness barrel, and everyone lost.
I’m not sure how effective Music Is Awesome! is at reaching kids, but this thing is more of a tool for parents to still feel cool while listening to the garbage music their kids want to listen to, anyway. Because let’s face it, most of the stuff here isn’t artistically daring; it’s just meant to beat the competition on other kids’ shows, which is like trying to be the best water polo player in the world. The bar isn’t exactly high. With the exception of a yacht-rocky Roots track (“Lovely, Love My Family”), this thing is an absolute slog to get through, and it’s only 37 minutes. But it sure beats the hell out of the Naked Brothers Band, that’s for sure.