I am all for introducing my own music to my kids, and how. After those early months of their father screaming into my pregnant belly, “don’t listen to mommy’s Journey! I’ll rescue you soon!” the circle is complete: last week Thalia performed Don’t Stop Believin‘ at her Glee club final performance.
She knew every word.
She didn’t sing “I smell her wine and cheese perfume” like I used to.
And she was amazed I knew such a cool song.
It’s funny to look back at those toddler days, when parents debated about the potential effects of cognitive development if your kids listened to say, The Who instead of Mozart. It was also a time when we believed that plopping a kid in front of a video backed by classical music would make them Einsteins.
Interestingly, Wired just created a video on the very topic of Todder Music. And while I agree with the overall takeaway–any tunes at all will get your kids excited about music in the long run–I find it fascinating that a mainstream publication is still associating kids’ music with The Wiggles and Elmo, and other tunes that drive the front seat crazy.
The Wiggles hit their peak in 2004. MOVE ON, PEOPLE.
Through Christina’s incredible curation of kids’ music on Cool Mom Picks and a chance to get to know a lot of the “Kindie” artists myself, I promise there is more. And it is good.
I’ve become a devotee to the kind of stuff you hear on Sirius XM Kids Place Live, which is like family music that you can listen to without wanting to stick a chisel into your eardrums and whack it with a ball-peen hammer. And let me assure you, I never thought I’d be That Mom. I was wayyy too cool for that. I thought that they would immediately take to Bowie, the Talking Heads, maybe a little Bananarama if they were feeling perky. But while I’m stupidly proud when my daughter can identify a U2 or a Bob Dylan song in a store (note: what was once our “cool” music is now oldies crap on store PA systems) it doesn’t always work that way with kids.
They like songs about themes they can understand. Heck, they like songs with words they can understand at all.
No offense, Eddie Vedder.
So we get in the car and bop along to the world music of Dan Zanes (who remembers when he was in a Bud commercial with the Del Fuegos?);we get silly to They Might Be Giants–both the kids’ and the adult stuff; we sing along easily with Justin Roberts and the Okee Dokee Brothers; we rap like pathetic, rhythm-less white folk along with Secret Agent 23 Skidoo; we laugh through the songs of Caspar Babypants (AKA Chris Ballew of the Presidents of the United States of America); and we settle down with Elizabeth Mitchell or Frances England on quiet, rainy car rides up to my mom’s house on the weekends.
Thalia meeting Chris Ballew. She knows him as “the guy who sings Googly Eyes!”
You have probably not heard of most of these artists. And yet, they are good. I don’t hide the CD covers in my glove compartment. And yes, I enjoy them. Even if they’re singing about googly eyes or birthday party meltdowns, or learning to ride bicycles, or singing all the countries around the world in alphabetical order.
It’s not that I won’t sneak in a Bowie tune (they know him as the guy from Labyrinth at this point), or try to indoctrinate them with the Smiths the second they’re ready to bow to Morrissey’s mastery in the brooding crooner department. It’s just that I’ve made my peace with the fact that kids are allowed to have their own music too.
After all, adults get songs written about the things we care about (mostly teenage boys and dance parties, if you listen to Top 40 these days), so why shouldn’t kids be able to care about the lyrics in their own songs?
Let’s be honest, I screamed every lyric to Suffragette City in high school and still had no idea what I was singing about. Except “Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am”–I got that just fine.
So okay, I hand back my hipster credentials.
My indie cred is gone, and I prepare as we speak to have my Brooklyn residency revoked.
I consider that my kids may not be worthy of the Pavement shirts their dad gave them, especially when we’re jumping on the bed together, singing their Glee repertoire of One Direction and Olly Murs.
I am hoping the Avril Lavigne song gives me a few points back, but it’s hardly enough to make up for the nights we jump on the bed together shrieking YOU DON’T KNOW YOU’RE BEAU-TI-FULLLLL…and collapsing in a heap at the end.
It’s okay. Because I like it too.
Mostly what I like though, is that we get to experience it together.
Just please don’t tell my high school friends, the ones with the black hair and the military jackets and and the anarchy A scrawled on the toe caps of their high-top chucks. They’d totally make me give back my Doc Maartens in the most humiliating way.
Sage auditioning for the Pride Parade opening act with a little “Call Me Maybe”
What kid of music do you listen to with your kids? And do you like it?