Children’s Music that Parents Can Stand. . .

. . . assuming those parents like the same kind of music I do.

They Might be Giants

Why Does the Sun Shine?The band has created a couple of albums especially for kids, but my children (and their parents) still prefer Flood for enduring catchiness. Almost all the trivia I know about the sun (93 million miles away, 1 million x earth’s size) comes from Why Does the Sun Shine?, which I assume is a remake of one of those science-can-be-fun songs from my parents’ days. Can there be anything cuter than your child singing “The sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace, where hydrogen turns into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees”?

Flood – this album reminds me of washing dishes and spraying the kitchen floors at the Golden Corral
No! – kids album
Why Does the Sun Shine? – “without its light there’d be no you and me”


Brak Presents The Brak Album Starring Brak – the whole family remembers the first time we heard this album’s sublimest tune, Magic Toenail. It was in the pBrakarking lot of a flooded swimming area at Red Top Mountain. We were listening to Georgia State 88.5FM’s Music for the Pre-pubescent show (so it was between 10 and 11am on a Saturday) while lathering sunscreen on our pasty white kids.

The tune is actually quite pretty but Brak sounds a little like an Adam Sandler character with and extra speech impediment. By the time we heard “It has the cutest cuticles, free of all disease. As toenails go it’s really quite ex-tra-or-di-nary,” we were hooked. Most of the album is great. It may have a mildly corrupting influence on some children with a few “shut up”s and “stupid”s, but it will all be worth it the first time you hear your 3-year-old singing along to “Beef log, beef log, what a treat, a hefty hunk of processed meat.”


Justin RobertsJustin Roberts

I listen to these CDs even when the kids aren’t in the car. The tunes are catchy, but have enough depth to survive multiple (even frequent) listens. Most are sung in first-person as though he’s still a kid
Yellow Bus
Not Naptime


Beethoven's Wig is big Beethoven’s Wig

These albums are excellent for introducing kids (and sometimes parents) to great classical music. Richard Perlmutter has a very distinctive, fun voice, and the lyrics usually end up being a mnemonic for remembering the composer and song title. Hopefully that will help the young’uns out when they take Humanities 101 in college. I must warn you, though, that you’ll never be able to listen to these pieces again without hearing the Beethoven’s Wig version in your mind. Half of the album fetures the songs without words.

1 – The dah-dah-dah-dumb of Beethoven’s 5th becomes “Beethoven’s wig is big”. And the cartoony section of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody #? becomes “Franz Liszt, the famous pianist. . .”
2 – This album’s version of Schubert’s Die Forelle (The Trout Quintet) got me hooked on Schubert in a big way. The tune is frequently stuck in my kids’ heads. The 3-year-old was repetitively chanting “the great composer Schubert” on the plane during a recent trip. Dvorak’s Humoresque is very cleverly done.
3 – Haven’t purchased it yet, but it’s got to be good.

 


Beethoven Lives Upstairs

This one is a bit different from the rest on this page. It leans toward being an audiobook, telling a fictionalized history of Beethoven’s life, narrated by a young boy writing letters to his uncle about the eccentric composer living in his house. Listeners are introduced to several Beethoven compositions, but it’s not really a music CD. Bach is also good.

 


Snoopy’s Beatles

It’s gimmicky, for sure, but my kids love Do You Want to Know a Secret sung by a little girl accompanied by musical instruments you might find in a nursery. The rest of the tunes are instrumental. It’s definitely not an album you’d want to be the only one you brought for a long road trip.

 


A Child’s Celebration of Folk Music

Not for Kids Only

Bedtime with the Beatles

Folk Song Lullabies

Doc Watson Sings Songs for Little Pickers

Favorite Things of 2012

Note: Not all of these things came out in 2012, but that’s when they came into my life (mostly). 

Music

Good Old War Come Back as RainI collect a lot of music. Most of it ends up buried in the pile, to be reheard only if it finds grace with iTunes’ randomizer. Only occasionally do I connect enough with an album to actually listen to it repeatedly as an album. Here are a few from this year:

John Mayer Born and Raised – I didn’t realize I was a John Mayer fan since I have some bias against mainstream music. But then I discovered Walt Grace’s Submarine Test January 1967, which has become the anthem for my middle agedness. Here’s a YouTube clip of me trying to cover this great tune.

Brandi Carlile Bear Creek

Good Old War Come Back As Rain  


Book

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

George Friedman The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century – I bumped into this one at the library. Although I’ve never liked political books, I found out I like geopolitical books.

Laura Hillenbrand Unbroken – Ok, I listened to this audiobook in 2011, but I thought about it more than I did most 2012 reads/listens. I still remember where I was on my daily walk when certain scenes took place. I don’t normally feel much strong emotion when I read but this one had me furious, amazed, anxious, and even overjoyed at times.


Patrick Rothfuss The Name of the Wind – I’m a slow reader. I usually have a pile of books next to my bed, deciding each night which looks interesting. Rarely do I read 100 pages in one sitting. But this book made me break my routine.


YouTube Channel

Tavin Dillard – try Butter. If you don’t find it funny, he’s not for you.


App

Flipboard – connect your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google Reader accounts and flip through a mixture of news and your own social network content.

Audible – Love audiobooks.

Day One – Best journal software I’ve ever tried. I used it every day. On an iPhone you can dictate your entry, add a photo from Camera+ or your iPhone photos. It automatically stores your location and the current weather, if you want.

Kingdom Rush – wonderful tower defense game. I love hearing my 5-year-old yell “For honor and glory!”


Website

Noisetrade – lots of great free music here. Tip the artists you like.

Goodreads – track your books and find new ones to read.


TV Series

Sherlock

The Middle


Podcast

Stuff You Should Know – For when you don’t have time or attention for an audiobook. It’s like an Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader for your ears.

BYU Classic Speeches – There are some real gems in here.


Gadget

Roomba – We got a refurbished one on Woot! and thought we’d kind of like it and it would do an ok job. It’s amazing. Haven’t swept the main floor the old fashioned way in almost a year.


Food

Chocolate Cruesli cereal – because it’s my favorite every year.


Categories coming soon, maybe. . .

Audiobook

Accidental library find

French book

French CD

Comedian

Child

Family vacation

Restaurant

Form of Exercise

Photo

Movie