Friday, November 11, 2011

Kids Music that Doesn't Suck


Once upon a time, Belle & Sebastian meant something different to me. Pre-kids, they were a kick-ass little indie rock band from Scotland. Post-kids, Belle is the princess from Beauty and the Beast, and Sebastian is the crab from The Little Mermaid. Holy crap - how my life has changed. But luckily, I have found a way for them to peacefully co-exist! And yes, I agree that this is an odd post for 11/11/11 - Nigel Tufnel day...

At first, my oldest daughter had great taste in music. In her first few weeks of life, the only thing that could keep her from crying in the car was listening to Turn on Me by the Shins. As soon as the Phil Specter drum beat played, she’d settle right down. Later, the sure fire way to get her to sleep in the car was to play Sky Blue Sky by Wilco (insert joke about Wilco being boring dad rock here, I won’t take offense). She’d always fall asleep mid-way through the noisy guitar solo in Impossible Germany. She had really great taste. And then it ended.

Belle & Sebastian
Shortly after her first birthday, and during a particularly miserable car trip to Hilton Head, we broke down and bought our first “kids music” cd. It was a Backyardigans cd. And as far as kids music goes, it’s pretty good. And it did make for a much more pleasant drive back to Maryland. But then came the “silly songs,” the princesses, the Disney this and the Disney that, we were awash in a sea of aural crap and forever hearing “I don’t want to listen to adults music, I want kids music.”  Side note - Suffering through numerous repeats of Part of Your World has given me much appreciation for my father’s tolerance of Nine Inch Nails and Jesus & Mary Chain that he suffered through for 8th and 9th grade me…

So, imagine my delight last year when my four year-old asked “Daddy, who sings this song?” and I responded by saying “it’s Belle & Sebastian, like the princess and the crab!” She went for it, and said “I love this song!” And it’s not that I dislike the Backyardigans or the Imagination Movers, but I was thrilled when listening to Write About Love became our morning ritual for many a month.

So now, we walk a fine line between kids music and adult music. And thanks to Yo Gabba Gabba and a few compilations we have some kids music songs that are awesome. Case in point, from the Gabba soundtrack, All My Friends Are Insects by Weezer is without a doubt the best Weezer song since the green album, maybe since Pinkerton.

So if you’re up to your ears in kids music, here’s a playlist that can save you. Enjoy. Don't be surprised if the Band of Horses and She & Him tracks end up on my Best of 2011. And the Mark Kozelek track is nothing short of amazing.

All My Friends Are Insects - Weezer

Bunny Hop - The Hollow Trees

Out in Nature - Band of Horses

If You Ever See An Owl - The Terrible Twos

It's Okay, Try Again - The Shins

The Ninjas - Barenaked Ladies

So Long - She & Him

Jump Up! - Imagination Movers

Bedtime Lullaby - Mark Kozelek

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