Shawn Bean, a dude I mentioned in Episode 003 of our podcast, is a fathers and writer for Parenting.com. He’s also had it with “that happy train song” – and who can blame him? Kid’s music is – ahem – not all that interesting to adults.
(EDIT – my buddy Jeff Bogle, owner of Out With the Kids has informed me that generalizing and saying that kid’s music is “not all that interesting to adults” isn’t cool or true. He’s right. I’m referring to the typical cartoon-character-sung classics that you’ll see on your “favorite” educational shows. I don’t mean the real singer-songwriter stuff that Jeff routinely reviews. Jeff points out that “it’s an antiquated viewpoint. It’s also trite. The genre is ripe with quality.” Sorry Jeff, and sorry internet for being a trite and antiquated liar. It’s kind of my “thing.”)
Bean’s got a list of some good suggestions for music you can offer to your little beasts – stuff that won’t make you want to eat your own face. The best recommendation – strangely enough, the Vitamin String Quartet’s “VSQ Performs Lady Gaga” album, a more classical take on the odd-fashion-minded starlet. You still remember the lyrics, but your kid is spared from them.
Read Bean’s list at Parenting.com, but I’m going to take it a step further after the jump and recommend some other albums for you and the spawn.
Shawn Bean was onto a good thing recommending Vitamin String Quartet. But did you know that there’s a plethora of String Quartet versions of modern artists? There are even compilations, like the VSQ’s “Strung Out” series. Also, check out Apocalyptica’s tribute to Metallica, “Apocalyptica Plays Metallica By Four Cellos“. Not that Metallica is too bad on lyrics, but hey, if you’re going the string route, give it a shot.
For the hip hop and jazz lover, check out the Hidden Beach Recordings albums. Their “Unwrapped” series takes popular hip hop songs and jazzifies them. No more of the hip hop industry’s favorite gangster-gaffling, female-degrading, white-powder-moving lyrics. You’ll enjoy songs from such artists as Dr. Dre, Wu Tang Clan, Little Wayne, Tupac Shakur, The Fugees, Black Sheep, Soulja Boy, Snoop Dogg and Ludacris – but without all the bad words. As a long-time listener of hip hop music, it’s tough to go cold turkey when the kid’s in the car with me, so putting on the Hidden Beach stuff really helps ease the loss of that genre of music in the car. Plus, it might just get your kid turned onto jazz and playing an instrument, which is awesome.
Also relevant: the instrumental version of Dr. Dre’s “Chronic 2001″ album. Just make sure to whisper the lyrics to yourself, not shout them out while pantomiming guns in your hands. That’ll just confuse your kiddo.
For the electronic music lover, you’ve been mostly in-the-clear anyway as long as you stuck with radio-friendly stuff. But if you need suggestions, I’ve found that Daft Punk albums are intriguing to kids because of the frequent use of vocoding and autotune. Plus, if you show your kid a picture of the French duo that makes up Daft Punk, their head will melt. For another direction, Fatboy Slim‘s always been a great success, and save for a couple songs, pretty obscenity-free.
I think between Shawn Bean and I, we’ve given you a good handful of options. Don’t tolerate “that happy train song” – meet your kids in the middle! And coincidentally, while we’re on-topic, check out the Kid’s Music section of Out With The Kids if you’re interested in reading about some great-not-grating kid’s music.
Got any other favorites that you can repurpose for your kids? Let us know!