Friday, March 16, 2012

Rockin' Friday: Werewolves

When my wife was pregnant, one thing that several people told us we *had* to get was kid friendly music to play for our little one.  Personally, I figured diapers and a car seat were more essential, but what did I know.  Turns out I was right, but there is something to be said for good music too.

I’ve been big-time into music as long as I can remember. As the result of having a much older brother, I started listening to The Doors, Pink Floyd, Van Halen (the original/good version) and more when you could still count my age on one hand.  I never had much use for pop music and still don’t.  The same can now be said about so-called “kids’ music”.

I recently asked my Twitter and Facebook friends what music they play for their kids and the response was pretty surprising. More than half listed artists like Laurie Berkner, The Wiggles & Dan Zanes.  Those are all pretty innocuous artists.  And by innocuous I mean boring.  It’s nothing personal.  I’m sure they are nice people and obviously they are very successful, but after listening to their music a few times I wanted to rip my 
ears off and freeze them so they wouldn’t be permanently scarred from the aural atrocities of those songs.

When the Little Dude was born I borrowed some kids’ CDs from the library as a test run before buying.  For some reason, he couldn’t get into them either. And I was glad.  I’ve heard a lot of parents complain about listening to their kids' favorite songs a million times.  My sister has three daughters and even though they live across the country and I only see them a few times a year, I still know the words to Baby Beluga from listening to it dozens of times over the last decade. 

My wife takes the Little Dude to a weekly Music Together class. I recently had the chance to attend one of the classes and while it was fine for an hour, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it week after week.  At least not without a good set of industrial-grade earplugs.

Why not just play the Beatles real music?
Many people rave about the Rockabye Baby CDs.  If you aren’t familiar, they make CDs utilizing music by classic artists like the Beatles and Rolling Stones, but played as lullabies. They also transform, in an intentionally ironic manner, artists like Metallica and Guns N Roses from headbanging thrashers into gentle nursery divas. We have a couple of these CDs and I find them excruciating to listen to.  Again, they must be very popular because they keep making more, but I can’t handle an hour of harpsichords and glockenspiels even if they are playing “Bohemian Rhapsody”.  

I’m not saying all kids’ music is bad, but if I’m going to listen to something repeatedly why wouldn’t I want it to be something more palatable?  About a third of the people who responded to my survey said that they play The Beatles, Beach Boys or Bob Marley for their little Buffalo Soldiers.  A few people surprised me by saying that they played bands like Foo Fighters or Death Cab for Cutie. I can’t stand those bands when my wife listens to them, so there’s no way I’m playing them for my kid.

A tiny number of respondents said that they don’t alter their musical choices for their kids.  That’s the group I fit into. After experimenting with the previously mentioned CDs, I made the Little Dude his own playlist on my iPod. I whittled down my 12,000+ songs into about 800 that I thought he might like. Obviously he’s never told me he’s a big U2 or Police fan so I’ve used my judgment to select songs with bouncy rhythm, catchy lyrics and easily memorable choruses.  Those are many of the same criteria as the typical kids’ music, but my music is something everyone in the car can enjoy. As long as “everyone” is just me and my Little Dude.  

I’m starting a new feature called “Rockin’ Friday” here on the blog and today is the first day, so sit down and buckle your seatbelts. Every Friday I’m going to post a song that the Little Dude likes and a little info about it.

Today’s song is Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London”.  I started working on this post around Halloween, shortly after this song came up in my iPod’s shuffle one day.  I knew the Little Dude would like it because of the catchy piano rhythm and also the infamous chorus.  When Warren sings “A-hoooooooooo, Werewolves of London…”, my Little Dude joins in and howls like Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf when he's surfing on top of Stiles' van.  Sure the song mentions mutilating old ladies and drinking at Trader Vic’s, but I gloss over those lyrics while the Little Dude wails passionately in the back seat. 

What songs or bands do you play for your kids? What do they like or dislike?  

"His hair was perfect..."

  

I'm once again linking up with the great gang for Yeah Write #50! 
Come check out some great writers and don't forget to vote on Thursday:

49 comments:

  1. oh this is a fantastic idea. and werewolves in London would be perfect!! i know my Lovie would love it. if i wasn't such a cheapass, i'd ask for a copy of your cd cuz truth be told, i'm over Laurie Berkner and the Wiggles but we have a 30 min commute every morning and 45-90 minutes every afternoon and girlfriend's become very opinionated about her music...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Christina. Check back every Friday and tell your friends to come join the party!

      Delete
  2. I played this for my son (9), and he asked, "Where are the guitars?" To heck with him. This is the first time I really listened to this song.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The piano section is usually what's most notable about the song, but here's a version with a lot of guitar power: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N_Z9wMdDcs

      Delete
  3. My kids love music.

    BTW-if you love music I think you might like this site, it's relatively new. http://serendip.me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link, Susie. I'll check it out.

      Check back every Friday for a new Rockin' Friday tune of the week!

      Delete
  4. I. Love. This. couldn't agree more. My brother is a professional musician, so my kids have had some really, really fantastic exposure to live music, and listening to music in general. My son came out of the womb only being comforted by Johnny Cash songs, ha. And have had experiences like being a part of a funeral processional with the Preservation Hall Jazz band from New Orleans and the likes. Exposure is key. They don't have to like it all, but they should know that there is more out there then Old McDonald. My kids are ready to thrown down to good music anyday. It's such a fun way to relate to one another.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tara! Is it wrong to ask if the Johnny Cash he came out of the womb listening to was "Ring of Fire"? Sorry.

      Preservation Hall is awesome. Looks like you are teaching them well.

      Check back every Friday for a new Rockin' Friday tune of the week!

      Delete
  5. And really let's just add that all Kidz Bop music should be wiped from the face of the earth.
    Can't wait until Little Dude starts parroting all of the correct lyrics to the songs. That will make for some good blog fodder. Ellen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately I have Katy Perry to thank for inspiring many interesting conversations.

      Delete
    2. I couldn't agree more, Ellen. That stuff sounds like Karaoke mixed with nails on a chalkboard. He is already picking up lyrics, though they are usually pretty innocuous.

      Delete
    3. Katy Perry is excellent for teenage boys. As long as the sound is off!

      Delete
  6. We listen to anything BUT kid music. We accidently discovered his deep love for hard core rap one day while browsing the XM radio stations. We had to shut it down pretty quick though, the 8 year old can hear a cuss word from a mile away

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had to laugh at this because I'm not sure if it's a pun that you said you had to "shut it down", which is the title of a famous Public Enemy song. My knowledge of rap ends about 20 years ago. As long as he's listening to something, he'll be OK. Thanks for sharing!

      Check back every Friday for a new Rockin' Friday tune of the week!

      Delete
  7. I have a feeling my children will get the "best" of both worlds, if that is even possible. My fiancee is a nanny and so she has about a dozen children's CDs in her van that she drives. Not that she listens to those every day with the kids, but enough times that it would drive me nuts. I couldn't imagine listening to them more than once a month. For more than two months in a year.

    So when they get to ride in my vehicle, it'll be the classic rock songs that I grew up loving and listening to in my childhood. I'd rather they know all the words to "Running Down a Dream" than the words to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star".

    FYI my mother played "Baby Beluga" to death when I was a kid and I am pretty sure I can still sing the whole stupid song with proper rhythym. And that depresses me, now that I think about it. I think a dose of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is in store for my drive home now...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what you have to do, David, start them early.

      And now I'm going to have "Running Down a Dream" in my head all day, so thanks! Fortunately it's a song I like.

      Delete
  8. I totally get it. We don't do those kiddie songs either. I'd rather rip my ears clean off. My kids listen to what we listen to. Right now, the 1 year old is rocking out to a Hinder song. The 4 year old knows every word to Foster the People's Pumped Up Kicks. I already did childhood, I don't need to relive it through my kids with sucky childrens music.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your last 2 sentences summarized my feelings. Very well put! Keep 'em rocking.

      Check back every Friday for a new Rockin' Friday tune of the week!

      Delete
  9. Ugh, kids music is awful. My parents just played normal stuff. We had some disney movie soundtracks, but that's it. No need to torture the parents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It can be torture, so I don't understand why parents subject themselves to it.

      Delete
  10. Never, ever have we listened to kids music in my house. Are you kidding me?! I haven't changed my music choices one bit. And my kids LOVE music. We have a dance party everyday in this house which ranges from Bob Marley, Tragically Hip, Jack Johnson, to Paulo Nutini, Rihanna and Adele. They often tell me to 'turn up the music' in the car and sing along to the lyrics. My boys are 2 and 4 and quite literally...they rock.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like they rock hard, January! Marley & Jack Johnson are much better lullabies than Rockabye Baby, IMO. Keep them going strong!

      Check back every Friday for a new Rockin' Friday tune of the week!

      Delete
  11. I agree with your take! Don't alter your music for your kids. Let them grow up appreciating real musicians and artists. I'm with you: kids music sucks.

    ReplyDelete
  12. We play what we want and our kid has an appreciation for lots of different stuff (by appreciation I mean he doesn't tell me to turn it off). We have made him his own CDs with They Might Be Giants, The Beatles, Kristin Hersh, Cat Stevens and everything in between all of that. We have our share of kid CDs from when he was younger, but he never listens to them anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried getting the TMBGiants kids albums, but those got old very quickly. Flood is a great album for kids of all ages!

      Delete
  13. I'm with you - forget Dan Zanes and the rest of the kiddie bop song players. (-: Go with some Creedance in the morning, a little bit of Zeppelin in the afternoon, a whole lot of Keane's newest album in the car, Puccini at dinner and bath time, tons of Mozart, copious amounts of Coldplay and by all means some Bob Marley. (-:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marley is essential, Ado!

      And let's not forget your father's friend's band :)

      Delete
  14. We skip the kid music and head straight to teaching them about music we love. As they have aged, they are now teaching us their own music preferences. It is fascinating to say the least.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're smart to let them dictate after a while. Just give them good options to choose from.

      Delete
  15. Um, my 2 year old sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with great enthusiasm.

    I sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow to him badly.

    I think I should take a leaf out of your book before I ruin him :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you ever need a playlist, Alison, let me know and I'll get you set up :)

      Or just check back every Friday for a new tune of the week.

      Delete
  16. My kids love country music, and I'm pretty sure you know where that came from. I'm pretty sure that letting them jam out to drinking songs is scarring them for life, but hopefully they'll survive!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When they write a hit country song called "My mama drove me to drink (in my diapers)", maybe they'll buy you a nice house from it :)

      Just keep doing what you're doing.

      Delete
  17. We generally stick with our music - and our kids like some of it. Of course we actually like some of the pop music they like too. We've never been big on kids music (and I think Kidz Bop is one of the worst things EVER), but I won't lie and say we've never intentionally listened to a song we've grown to love from Dora or Yo Gabba Gabba :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like Yo Gabba Gabba. It's a good show with great messages and the music is semi-palatable. Little Dude is still too young for Dora.

      Delete
  18. Jeezus, if I hear "Baby Beluga" one more time, I might jump from my moving swagger wagon. My mister and I have not only played Raffi songs no less than 45,678 times, but we sing every stinkin' word. I'm sure Raffi is a wonderful human being, but I hate that MF'er.
    Someday soon, we will again listen to real music. Let's just hope that Justin Bieber isn't it.
    Kerry at HouseTalkN

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know exactly what you mean, Kerry.

      The day Bieber is considered real music is the day I pitch my ipod for good.

      Delete
  19. werewolves of london - that's a really good one! we do music together, too, and if i have to listen to "paulo paulo paulo" one more time i might go deaf. my husband has a springsteen/boston/u2 list set up on pandora for our son, and i do all the old tx country classics my mom listened to, plus a heavy dose of sam cooke and co. i'm sure one day all of this will be super uncool to him, but at least we're having fun with it now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paulo x3 is another awful one. Sounds like you are more than making up for it otherwise, though. Keep it up!

      Delete
  20. My kids like all kinds of music. They really enjoy the bouncy kiddie stuff, but the also listen to Pop music, older stuff like the Beatles and Dylan and Pink Floyd, and they also like the more eclectic stuff we have stuffed into our on-line library.

    One thing that I do think is important is that we remember that they are still learning about different sounds, and the many levels of music (especially today), doesn't let them always recognize the pieces of that. That's why I like a mix - some for the simplicity, some for my sanity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree 100%. Diversity is the key. That's why I'll be presenting a diverse mix every week on Rockin' Fridays. Please check back weekly for updates!

      Delete
  21. I don't believe in "kid's" music. They don't need dumb-ed down versions. It's a marketing racket. However, I did have a slew of it when my kids were little, so I get it. Love this feature it is a great idea. You may like this: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/neilmccormick/100061407/do-we-really-need-childrens-music-theyll-be-fine-with-david-bowie/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great article, Kimberly! Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  22. While my daughters love Fresh Beat Band & Laurie Berkner, they also love the Foo, U2, and of course Pearl Jam...mainly because they have no choice.
    Werewolves of London is such a fun song. Warren Zevon's last song, Keep Me in Your Heart makes me sob every time I hear it. Great artist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zevon was a very underrated artist who was taken way too young. Kudos for keeping things mixed.

      Delete
  23. Kids' music is awful. AWFUL! If I ever have kids, I'm doing it the way you do it...except maybe I'll choose the radio, non-explicit version of all my favorite booty shakin songs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't even know what a "booty shakin song" is, so I'm pretty sure I don't have any in my repertoire.

      Delete
  24. I compromise. They listen to my music and I listen to theirs. My 8 y/o happens to be a big Elvis fan right now. There's only so much "Love Me Tender" I can take. Dan Zane, though? That hair is too much. I know it doesn't affect his voice, but WOW.

    ReplyDelete