In this world of earnest indie kids and holier (and indeed, heavier) than-thou rockers, it is easy to forget that music has myriad purposes. Of course, even in the commercial and contemporary world, music can incite states and emotions, from euphoria and joy via the music you play before heading out on a Friday night to a late evening soundtrack of more contemplative messaging. But away from this broad arena, it fulfils many roles, from the devotional to the inspiring to the educational.
And it is in this last area that we find ourselves with the wonderfully named SQRRL! Wonder is an album of seven songs, each aimed at instilling an idea or understanding in a young listener. The music may be fun and easily accessible, aimed at singing and dancing around, but it is also an educational tool. The great thing is that the kids won’t even know that they are being taught.
The opener, Get Up, is about motivation, about facing a new day and seeing what it holds, Do Your Thing is soft and soulful, and underneath its singalong message is promoting the idea of being yourself, whatever your thing may be, whoever it is that you want to be—a subtle but important message of empathy and understanding in a world in short supply of both.
And then there are songs such as Taco’s Tonight, which, as far as I can see, is all about…just having a nice meal. Well, not everything has to be deep and meaningful.
It’s a great piece of work. The music never seems demeaning; in fact, it is better than a lot of the pop and folk music that passes my way via quite established PR companies. But why skimp on musical quality just because it is for kids? And the messages are a vital springboard for kids of all ages who need to get ready for the gradual change between the playground and the real world. It may take a while to make that transition; the longer, the better, in my opinion, let kids be kids, but this album is a superb way of starting to equip them with some of the necessary skills that will one day help them make that transmission.
When people talk about artists making meaningful music, I will point to albums such as this. After all, what could be more important than allowing a child to grow up aware, well rounded and full of empathy?