Kids' music is not what it used to be—the Raffis of yesteryear have long since been replaced with a hipper, more diverse crowd of kids' bands, seemingly all with the common goal of closing the gap between cutesy-wootsy, tear-your-hair-out kiddie lyrics and something parents actually want to listen to. Read on for our picks of the top 25 kids' bands—then join your budding record nerd in collecting (well, downloading) their singles and CDs.
25 best kids' bands
No kindie band has maintained the critical praise and loyal fan devotion in both parents and children quite like They Might Be Giants. The band's Here Comes... Disney album series has made the Giants' two Johns (Flansburgh and Linnell) the unquestioned superstars of children's music. Plus, their live (and generally sold-out) concerts consistently welcome both gen-X parents and their kids. theymightbegiants.com
This Seattle quintet packs an indie-rock punch with thumping drums and shredding guitars, drawing influence from early Fugazi and Superchunk albums—a fact parents will surely appreciate. Never seen without its hot-pink and jet-black getups, the band is perfect for little rockers and their air-guitar-playing elders alike. wearethenot-its.com
One of the crown jewels of modern children's songwriting, Roberts constructs perfect pop songs wrapped in the nuance of childhood experiences. Whether he's singing about Grandma's cookies ("From Scratch"), welcoming a new baby into the family ("Cartwheels and Somersaults") or anxiously waiting by the radio to hear your school-district number called ("Snow Day"), the Chicago native stands out with expert musicianship and lush melodies. justinroberts.org