Much like Disney’s current wave of cross-generational cartoon flicks, it’s become commonplace for children’s-music albums to try to satisfy kids and parents alike. Yet For Our Children Too!, the sequel to 1991’s For Our Children, takes the boomerization of kiddie albums to its narcissistic extreme. Whereas its charming predecessor featured everyone from Bette Midler to Bruce Springsteen acting like leaders of the world’s biggest campfire sing-along, Too’s less-stellar lineup seems to think that a child’s place is in the supper club; Toni Braxton, Celine Dion, and Cher, among others, are wasted on a series of blowsy, overly orchestrated ballads. Most kids I know love the odd serenade — ”Colors of the Wind” rules with my pre-teen nieces — but it’s hard to imagine any of them relating to Babyface’s rendition of Bread’s downcast weeper ”If,” no matter how well sung it may be.
The album, whose sales benefit the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, works best when it duplicates the sing-along concept behind the first disc: closet folkie Seal doing a jolly ”Puff (The Magic Dragon)” or Natalie Merchant using her cutesy side to best advantage on ”Come Take a Trip in My Airship.” Boomer parents who yearn to hear an Elton John oldie (”The Greatest Discovery”) or Natalie Cole’s cover of ”Both Sides Now” may serenade themselves to sleep with For Our Children Too! But you want to bet the kids will slam in their Mariah or TLC cassettes once the folks call it a night?
Because it’s a benefit album: B- (If it weren’t: C)