Children's CDs are tough to review as they need to pass muster for both children and parent. Quite a few work for one or the other, but rarely does a CD please both. This might be the case with Jane Roman Pitt's Midnight Lullaby.
Jane Roman Pitt does a great job in selecting songs with sometimes meaningful, sometimes fun lyrics. Her own song writing isn't bad, either, and fits comfortably and seamlessly with the songs she's selected that are written by others. If a parent is looking for something that will sooth and put the kiddies to sleep this might do the trick just fine. The mellow consistency through out the CD (no real highs and no real lows) serves that steady constant one needs in those midnight runs to the baby's room.
The CD is recorded very crisply as if she was right next to you and baby whispering in your ears. It's a very sweet CD and Miss Pitt has a very sweet, consistent voice.
But Jane Roman Pitt's strength might also be her downfall. There isn't any really interesting renditions or interpretations of these songs; they seem to be interpreted very literally — which is totally fine for the undiscerning infant who's using it to fall asleep, but I certainly didn't want to hear it too many times and neither did the older kids. Her voice, in short, lacks emotional depth.
Covering popular songs is risky business. She picks artists that are hip to cover like Wilco and the Dixie Chicks, but it feels a little self-conscious. It's super hard not to sound like a hack while doing covers if all you are doing is slowing down the tempo and making it quiet. If you don't give an interesting rendition or, worse yet, point out the previously ignored flaws in the song writing by slowing it down so you can hear the lyrics, you're in trouble.
Two children's CDs I adore for the purpose of putting kids to sleepytime are Putamayo's Dreamland: World Lullabies & Soothing Songs and Jane Siberry's Hush. The songs are varied on both with some interesting renditions of standards on Siberry's and a wide range of emotion and tone on Dreamland. Adult music that puts kids to sleep? Try Cocteau Twin's Victorialand or Mojave 3's Ask Me Tomorrow.
Midnight Lullaby is pretty good fare for what it is. I'm guessing the reason it didn't work for us is that we need to feel connected and invested in the music and not just feel like it's piped-in ambiance.