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?
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