I kept wanting to title this “Kid Music That Doesn’t Suck” because that’s all my tired brain could come up with, but I couldn’t decide if “suck” was a bad word or not. Is it? (More on cuss words next week… right now we’ve got music to discuss!)
Kid Music… Groan.
After the umpteenth repeat of Down On Grandpa’s Farm I can be found in the fetal position ripping my ears off and feeding them to the dogs. Okay maybe that’s a fantasy. The mind loses itself when subjected to shrill voices set to crap computer arrangements.
Kids are real people. They deserve real music.
Through my daughter’s infancy and toddlerhood I didn’t really pay attention to the music she listened to. Basically, she heard what I played and seemed to like it just fine. Babies love music and they can’t understand the lyrics yet anyway, so it’s all good. 70′s Rock On.
But then she started talking… and started repeating everything… so radio had to go. So did most my CDs. No more “drunk on a plane” for this kid. (Country music, I love you so. But what is happening with you? Ugh.)
About a year ago I decided that we were watching too much television and not listening to enough music. Since I have no restrictions on music – any time for however long (unlike tv) – I decided to make the transition really exciting and gave her HER OWN cd player, one simple enough for her to manage, and a few children’s CDs.
TIP: When shopping for kid’s music, just say no to anything under $5 with cheesy graphics. (My bad.) Sure you’re saving money but you are sacrificing your sanity. Your kid will love it and play it over and over and over and over… And you will hate it. (Fetal position. Feeding your own ears to the dogs. Remember?)
For everyone’s sake, invest in quality music for your children. It actually does exist!
Here are our family’s current favorites:
If you can’t tell by all the guitars on the cover art in this round-up, I have a hankering for pickin’. Folk, indie, blues-y, country styles are my fave so there’s my little disclaimer. But even if that’s not your “genre” I encourage you to dig into these albums.
Putumayo’s World Playground – We LOVE this! The music is really upbeat and includes a great sampling of different beat structures and tempos. Most of the tracks are in other languages so we have no idea what they’re saying but it doesn’t stop us from jamming out! This one is a top favorite.
The Best Of The Laurie Berkner Band – Okay this one doesn’t qualify as kid-music-that-doesn’t-sound-like-kid-music. It is definitely kid music. But I still enjoy it. The lyrics are really silly, so she loves them, and the arrangements from track to track differ greatly enough to keep it interesting. This isn’t one that I can stand on repeat all day long but I do enjoy it enough to allow it in the car. That’s saying something.
Jazz For Kids – Oh my stars. What a gem! This is a really fun collection of classic jazz artists’ kid-friendly songs. I don’t actually know if these songs were composed specifically for kids or if they just happen to be tame enough for a kids’ collection – but who really cares. You can’t help but dance to these fun rhythms. Plus there’s a few songs about chickens, YAY! Our only complaint is that there aren’t more songs. 11 is not enough of this goodness!
Jack Johnson for Curious George – We have not seen this movie but its music sure is treasured around here. I’ve been Jack Johnson obsessed for years (I don’t care what anyone says!) so when I discovered he composed for the film I had to sample. No disappointment here. This one is preferred in the car or just as “background” music when we’re home all day. Soft, peaceful, sweet – typical Jack Johnson but with children’s themes. Love.
Elizabeth Mitchell: You Are My Little Bird – My heart just smiles at this album. The sweetest, most melodious little ditties play here and it’s simply a pleasure to listen to. I love Elizabeth Mitchell’s voice, so delicate, and this one hangs out in the cd player morning, noon, or night.
For The Kids – I’m gonna let Amazon.com explain this one: “An all-star cast has joined forces to produce a wonderful CD and, if that weren’t exciting enough, a portion of the proceeds will help restore music education in the U.S. public school system through the VHI Save the Music Foundation.” So yeah, familiar artists sing fun kid songs in a philanthropic effort. Win-Win-Win!
Hidden In My Heart – I know. Someone singing scripture maybe doesn’t sound like it will be all that great in a musical sense, but give this a chance. It is heartbreakingly beautiful. The female and male voices are so tender and soothing. The music is peaceful, soft and slow. This album is perfect for quiet time, bed time, or any time you want the Word to wash over you. Truly beautiful.
Plumb: Blink – This album helped me survive a drama filled first pregnancy. Seriously. Plumb, Christian rock artist, wrote and dedicated each song to one of her children and they are just so touching. It’s great for a lullaby cd, car rides, and for those times when you may just need a healing cry. This one may not resonate with everyone – it’s really best for those with children – and it may not be suited for all children. My oldest loves it but I think it has something to do with me telling her I listened to it endlessly while pregnant with her. She does sing and “dance ballet” to it often though. If you can handle lyrics tugging hard at your heartstrings and possibly making you cry (bawl) then go for this one.
Rain for Roots: The Kingdom of Heaven is Like This – I adore Rain for Roots. Their whimsical sound, clear vocals, and scripture themed lyrics create the perfect combination and match for our young family. My little one sings along, I enjoy the music, and we enjoy the conversations sparked as she learns Bible stories through this music. They have several albums out, this is just the one we happen to have, and I want them all!
So there ya go. Our current faves. I’m always on the lookout for fresh sounds – please tell me your favorites!