Thursday, October 16, 2014

Best songs for little ears (with big opinions)

For the last year or so, every car ride taken with Piper starts with two little demanding words: "MY MUSIC!" It's typically quickly followed with the nicer version (usually/always prompted by us...): "We listen to my music please?" And so we oblige, and crank up "ToDleR Jamzzzz" (ok. Just a kids themed Pandora station.

How did we get here? I ask myself.

Before I had kids....well actually....before I had a 2.5 year old, I sat firmly on my high horse of parental control. I didn't see any reason that having kids meant succumbing to kiddie music. A friend of mine told me every car ride with her family was met with the demand for "Julia Music"! What in the world is Julia music? I inquired. Duh. It's what their 3 yr old, Julia, calls kids songs. I scoffed, thinking (and probably saying, because I have no sense of when to keep my mouth shut) Well that will never be me. We listen to what we want. Piper doesn't have to even know about kids music. She'll just learn to love what we love. Kids shouldn't run the show, you just have to be smart about what you expose them to...

Um. Wrong.

We try to play "good" (our opinion anyway) music for the kids....But toddlers are smarter than I imagined. Somehow they know. They just intrinsically know about kids music. Piper heard it at school, or on a show, or at church...And she knows the difference between these little ditties, and the stuff we tried to raise her on. We've tried to expand her tastes, and take turns with radio controls, but
she knows what she wants. And she wants peppy, catchy, and made just for her (regardless if it makes my ears bleed). And I don't mean to paint myself as some musical purist, or a hipster tastemaker...I pretty much jam on some top 40 and various other guilty pleasures. But even to my pop-lovin' ears, kids music can be pretty painful. (And don't get me started on recordings of actual kids singing. I know it's supposed to be precious and irresistible...But I just can't tolerate it. I mean...unless it's this adorableness.)

So all that to say...We're on the hunt for some tolerable music geared towards kids. And thankfully...we've found some stuff we can work with...or even enjoy. And just in case you've found yourself in the same rockin' boat  mini-van, I thought I'd share some of our favorites: 

We started a toddler station on Pandora...Every song isn't a guaranteed winner, and it's still fairly repetitive, but we're working on it, and it's getting better. From a few song seeds, we've discovered all the above albums, and have at least a short list of our favs: 

Give a Little Bit by Renee & Jeremy
So hipster. So good.

A Place in the Choir by Terri Hendrix
Like riding Splash Mountain in heaven. Love.

Willoughby Wallaby Woo by Raffi
Raffi is like the Elvis/Beatles/Jesus of children's folk songs. Plus the song has names that rhyme with Dustin and Fin, so we're all in.

Three Little Ducks by Julie Frost
We teasingly mock how she oversings on this one, but she's still so obviously talented, and the style isn't refreshingly not cheesy.

This Little Light of Mine by Elizabeth Michell
Such a beautiful version of a classic. Love her voice.

Goodnight by Laurie Berkner
If you have kids, you know about Laurie Berkner. Fact. (or it is now...) Her stuff is a little cliche at times, but this song is just the sweetest, and has become part of our bedtime routine (with Piper yelling out other animal suggestions for new verses...anything to postpone actual sleeping). 

If All of the Raindrops by Laura Doherty
This song just makes me happy. So very happy. 

All I Want is You by The Vespers
Also so hipster. Also so good.

Shortnin' Bread by Caspar Babypants
A million kids songs. All with adorable album cover art. 

So that's what I know...But really I want to hear from you! What should we be listening to? What artists have you discovered who bridge the toddler/adult music gap? Do you have tips on getting your kids to listen to non-terrible stuff?

P.s. Check out my actual favorite kid's album, or read about how I'm so not a lyrical genius.
Oh- and we're working on another station specifically for lullabyes, which you can listen to here. It's pretty much 98% songs by The Piano Guys, and I'm ok with that.
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1 comment :

  1. ooh this is so fun! but you're missing Jewel. Her kids music is super good. It always comes up on Pandora. And They Might be Giants Here Comes the ABCs and 123s.