Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Children's Music That Adults Can Stand

With two young children, I spend a lot of time in the car listening to XM Kids, channel 116. (There is another children's station called Radio Disney, but they seem to basically play edited pop songs.) A lot of what is broadcast is the usual silliness, but occasionally my ear perks up to a song that seems to have a little more going for it than the rest.

As a sort of public service for other parents looking for music that is appropriate for kids but isn't the same old treacle, below are some album recommendations (often based on hearing only one song) of some children's music that I found myself humming later on in the day, and even admiring.

  • Asylum Street Spankers: "You Only Love Me for My Lunch Box" (from the CD Mommy Says No! — children's music on eclectic instruments, with a lyrical wink to the adults).
  • Barenaked Ladies (aka "BNL"): "Crazy ABCs" (from the CD Snack Time — the alphabet song for the Extraordinarily Literate crowd).
  • Michael Bublé: "Spider-Man Theme" (available as an MP3 download).
  • Steve Goodie: "Harry's Wand" (from the CD Pottered Meat — music from Fountains of Wayne's "Stacy's Mom" with lyrics summarizing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).
  • Jessica Harper: "Stay Three" (from the CD Hey, Picasso* — a great all-around CD; here's my full review).
  • Peter Himmelman: "Feet" (from the CD My Green Kite — the beat is seat-swayingly good, and it's educational, too!).
  • Jack Johnson and Friends: "Upside Down" (from the CD Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George* — another great all-around CD with appearances from Ben Harper and Matt Costa, and a cover of a White Stripes song).
  • Mr. Saxophone: "Welcome to the Jungle Gym" (from the CD Songs from the Treehouse — music from Guns N Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" combined with funny lyrics about the playground).
  • Justin Roberts: "Pop Fly" (from the CD Pop Fly — an infectious chorus, and it really captures what it's like in the outfield).
  • Secret Agent 23 Skidoo: "Luck" (from the CD Easy — brilliant musicianship, thoughtful and intelligent lyrics, and a banjo on a rap song!).
  • The Sippy Cups: "Dear Prudence" (from the CD Give Peas a Chance — with covers from the Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Ramones, and others, how can you go wrong?).
Albums with a * are highly recommended because — so far, at least — they stand up to repeated listens.

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