Music for kids / music for children

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What music is good for kids? What music is made specifically FOR kids, and isn't heinous shite that would irritate an adult to death?

We have the 3 CDs of Soothing Sounds For Babies by Raymond Scott, minimal proto-ambient electronic music from the 60s, developed to stimulate, calm, and aid mental development of babies. Only listened to the first disc so far but it's ace, and sounds a lot like really early Aphex Twin.

My friend Rob bought us No! by They Might Be Giants, which is their first 'family' album, and contains songs about robots and such, and is great fun.

What other kids music is good?

What non-kids music is good for kids? From experience, toddlers seem to love Caribou. Yo La Tengo's more soporific moments were great birthing music.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 3 December 2014 10:05 (four years ago) Permalink

thinking about the songs my kids really loved listening to, most of them had actions that we would do along with the music eg:

kraftwerk - the robots (everyone acts like a robot)
black sabbath - iron man (dad gets turned to steel, tries to capture the children, then crushes them to death [not really])
van halen - jump (go on, have a guess)
penguin cafe orchestra - beanfields (everyone balances a ball on their feet and waddles round the kitchen table pretending to be a penguin manoeuvring an egg)

sosmix klopp (NickB), Wednesday, 3 December 2014 10:23 (four years ago) Permalink

James Kochalka Superstar - CAUTION NEEDED TO TAKE OUT ALL THE RUDE SONGS, but Carrot Boy The Beautiful was a big hit when mine were little, ditto all the songs about monkeys.

the bowels are not what they seem (aldo), Wednesday, 3 December 2014 10:27 (four years ago) Permalink

There's a thing called Songs for the Young At Heart put together by two of Tindersticks which is pretty good, a mix of songs and stories. Will Oldham's version of "Puff the Magic Dragon" is lovely as is Cerys Matthews' take on "White Horses".

Saint Etienne did an EP of songs for children that came with their Tales from Turnpike House album which is supposed to be good but I haven't heard it.

rising stones cross (anagram), Wednesday, 3 December 2014 10:33 (four years ago) Permalink

Kids, or babies?

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 3 December 2014 12:27 (four years ago) Permalink

Kids seem to like repetition, and seem to hate when they can't understand words. So metal, fast rap ... My kids can't take it. But slow stuff like Run Dmc works. Also funny stuff, like weird all. Esp the polka medleys of stuff they know from the radio.

My younger one hates "scary" music, which means she gongs experimental stuff and most jazz.

Almost everyone loves reggae.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 3 December 2014 12:32 (four years ago) Permalink

Well Nora's 15 days old at the moment, but I'm projecting into the future a bit here.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 3 December 2014 13:06 (four years ago) Permalink

This is good; electronic music mainly from Germany early to mid 2000s. It's mainly cute sounding pieces by DJs and people that do, or went on to do, more dance-orientated work.

No idea if children actually like it though!

mmmm, Wednesday, 3 December 2014 13:29 (four years ago) Permalink

My daughter has somehow gotten on this kids-music-only kick lately, hoping it's a very brief phase. Like she just won't tolerate mommy and daddy's music, only wants her sesame street songs or the little mermaid soundtrack.

18th Century Celebrity WS of Shame (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 3 December 2014 14:53 (four years ago) Permalink

My four and six year old have never been into the nursery rhyme/kids tv show shit thankfully. Their current faves would probably align quite nicely with the ilxor hivemind as it includes lots of Taylor Swift, Tove Lo, Haim, Tegan & Sara etc but they also like lots of the other stuff we play that they can sing along to like Fleetwood Mac, SFA, Phoenix and seventies Disco.

groovypanda, Wednesday, 3 December 2014 15:20 (four years ago) Permalink

For really beautiful nighttime/lullaby music, check out "Until the Light of Morning" by Essie Jain. Probably the only children's album I'd listen to without a child around. I put my first son to bed with that many many times during his first two years.

We started him in the Music Together program when he was about six months old and he still loves the series of CDs you get with those classes - a mix of old standards and newer stuff. I used to sing "All the Pretty Little Horses" to him which at the time I only knew from a Current 93 album and which creeped the hell out of my wife, and I was delighted when it turned up on a Music Together disc.

I'm not remotely a Grateful Dead fan, but now that he's a bit older we both like Jerry Garcia and David Grisman's "Not for Kids Only."

Been listening to Donovan a lot lately on weekend mornings which he seems to be into.

Those kid-music-only phases are brutal, particularly on road trips. I don't mind Raffi usually, but eight hours of him from NY to Cleveland was too much.

early rejecter, Wednesday, 3 December 2014 15:59 (four years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

Most ILX compilation ever:

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 29 June 2015 10:42 (three years ago) Permalink

The Frozen soundtrack still gets a lot of traction around these parts, as I'm sure it does for many other families with young children (especially girls).

I just discovered a song called "Nature Anthem" by Grandaddy which my daughter's class danced to at their end-of-year play and it was fabulous.

anthony braxton diamond geezer (anagram), Monday, 29 June 2015 11:47 (three years ago) Permalink

I discovered last night while making dinner that Ivy likes Jock Jams.

For kids only stuff, I like the Backyardigans a lot. Ivy's third word was "treasure" because of a Backyardigans song where they repeat the word "treasure" approximately 1,000,000 times. Ivy's not quite at an age where she's expressing musical preferences beyond grinning and dancing a little when she hears something she likes, which can be anything from Doc McStuffins songs, to me singing Buddy Holly medleys, to the songs some of her toys play, to any kids songs with hand motions (Head Shoulders Knees and Toes and Itsy Bitsy Spider are faves), to Jock Jams, apparently. Oh she was really getting into Angel Haze a few days ago, which I wouldn't necessarily recommend as kids' music...

from batman to balloon dog (carl agatha), Monday, 29 June 2015 13:44 (three years ago) Permalink

I've been aware of a number of the entries in the GTFO rolling worst songs threads only because they are apparently among the favorites at the preschool where my girlfriend works.

It's The 1985 Micky Dolenz Toyota Spring Sales Event! (Old Lunch), Monday, 29 June 2015 14:01 (three years ago) Permalink

CCR's Lookin' Out My Back Door, as mentioned by someone in the recent poll rundown

1992 ball boy (Karl Malone), Monday, 29 June 2015 14:03 (three years ago) Permalink

My two year old neice really likes the music of Charles Bradley.

MarkoP, Monday, 29 June 2015 15:19 (three years ago) Permalink

Just from typing the words "Doc McStuffins" I have the theme to that show in my head and I am now fairly convinced there is some nefarious Disney mind control going on here.

PS argggggh get it out get it out

from batman to balloon dog (carl agatha), Monday, 29 June 2015 15:31 (three years ago) Permalink

my son absolutely loses his shit unless we listen to the entirety of Kraftwerk's "Man Machine" once a day

I am now totally sick of that album

Οὖτις, Monday, 29 June 2015 15:36 (three years ago) Permalink

Capar Babypants is great. Lots of good local kids music in Seattle. Recess Monkey, The Not-Its and another one i'm forgetting. Def. check out Caspar though.

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 29 June 2015 16:04 (three years ago) Permalink

J likes "made for kids" music like elizabeth mitchell (who we enjoy too) and the music together series. the music together series i can appreciate since it has a very strange calming affect and is responsible for many naps in the car on long trips but fuck i get really really sick of it quickly

last night J and i listened to some joni mitchell while eating dinner and this morning he wakes up and wants the same thing we had for dinner last night and wants me to "put on that joni mitchell music....J like joni mitchell" i was very happy with all of this

marcos, Monday, 29 June 2015 16:05 (three years ago) Permalink

music together makes my teeth hurt

Οὖτις, Monday, 29 June 2015 16:11 (three years ago) Permalink


marcos, Monday, 29 June 2015 16:15 (three years ago) Permalink

i know how you feel. at the same time it is hard for me to hate something that is basically like musical valium for my toddler

marcos, Monday, 29 June 2015 16:15 (three years ago) Permalink

the sacrifices we make

Οὖτις, Monday, 29 June 2015 16:19 (three years ago) Permalink

honestly I think it's something about the way it's engineered that really bugs me...? like, everything is close-mic'd with absolutely zero space, everything sounds perfectly vacuum sealed but all the instrumentation is acoustic so it has this weird effect of taking "natural" sounds and making them sound like they're being played in an airlock, it's really weird.

Οὖτις, Monday, 29 June 2015 16:22 (three years ago) Permalink

oh totally it is very weird

marcos, Monday, 29 June 2015 16:24 (three years ago) Permalink

plus i really can't handle a few of the singers anymore, they are so annoying

marcos, Monday, 29 June 2015 16:25 (three years ago) Permalink

especially that one dude ("john"??)

marcos, Monday, 29 June 2015 16:25 (three years ago) Permalink

I desperately need musical valium for a toddler. I will see if I can cope with Music Together. Any other musical valium suggestions heartily welcomed.

from batman to balloon dog (carl agatha), Monday, 29 June 2015 16:53 (three years ago) Permalink

Oh god this is terrible.

from batman to balloon dog (carl agatha), Monday, 29 June 2015 16:59 (three years ago) Permalink

It's making me furrow my brow so hard I'm getting a headache.

Ivy will probably love it.

from batman to balloon dog (carl agatha), Monday, 29 June 2015 17:00 (three years ago) Permalink


marcos, Monday, 29 June 2015 17:08 (three years ago) Permalink

I found an album of Byrd motets on Spotify that knocks my kids out in a heartbeat, it's pretty awesome

I Am Curious (Dolezal) (DJP), Monday, 29 June 2015 18:03 (three years ago) Permalink

Can you post a link?

from batman to balloon dog (carl agatha), Monday, 29 June 2015 18:41 (three years ago) Permalink

My daughter spent years 2-3 napping to The Caretaker - Empty Bliss.

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 29 June 2015 20:46 (three years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Here's a playlist I just created to entertain my kids in the car. Their current favorite is that "I'm just going to the store" song by Carly Rae Jepsen.

Store - Carly Rae Jepsen
Three Little Birds - Bob Marley
Yellow Submarine - The Beatles
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go - Wham!
Dancing On My Own - Robyn
Shake It Off - Taylor Swift
ABC - Jackson 5
Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen
Rude - Magic!
Rollercoaster Of Love - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Can't Stop The Feeling - Justin Timberlake
Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing - Stevie Wonder
Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson
Kites Are Fun - The Free Design
Feels - Calvin Harris
Happy - Pharell Williams
Stray Cat Strut - Stray Cats
Our House - Madness
Blank Space - Taylor Swift
Octopus's Garden - The Beatles
Bubbles - The Free Design
2-4-6-8 - Jackson 5
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - I Love Rock'n'roll -
We're Going To Be Friends - White Stripes
I Can't Feel My Face - The Weeknd

enochroot, Sunday, 15 October 2017 19:08 (one year ago) Permalink

I find 80% of that mix terribly annoying which probably makes kt a great mix for kids.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Sunday, 15 October 2017 19:22 (one year ago) Permalink

Having a couple of 5-year-old's has definitely given me a new insight into what really defines pop music: harmonic complexity and melancholy are as unappetizing to them as spicy food and leafy green vegetables. They want to hear stuff with a huge obvious repetitive hook, and I'm realizing why songs like "Shake It Off" are so ubiquitous (they even play that stuff in the kindergarten gym class).

If anyone has any ideas to expand our repertoire, post them here -- I searched ILM for ideas, and this thread was all I turned up.

enochroot, Sunday, 15 October 2017 20:37 (one year ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...

My kids' current top 10:

Charli XCX - Break the Rules
Queen - We Will Rock You
the Baby Shark Dance
Djedjotronic - Kaiko
Kinderen voor kinderen - Fitlala
This Is Halloween from Nightmare Before Christmas
Maria Rita - Cântico brasileiro no. 3: Kamaiurá
Meco - Star Wars (12" version)
Los del Rio - Macarena
Pet Shop Boys - It's a Sin

ArchCarrier, Friday, 12 October 2018 06:38 (eight months ago) Permalink

Nora currently into Caravan of Love, Sinead doing Nothing Compares 2 U, Frozen OST, and anything on 6music she deems “noisy”.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 12 October 2018 06:42 (eight months ago) Permalink

Tolerable music my kids liked growing up - many of Beck’s poppier albums (e.g. Guero), White Stripes esp White Blood Cells and Elephant, Yo Gabba Gabba, and co-sign on TMBG “No!” Lately it’s been Kacey Musgraves and Courtney Barnett so I ain’t complaining, but then they are 12 and 16 now.

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Friday, 12 October 2018 07:01 (eight months ago) Permalink

Oh and B-52’s, Breeders, Kate Bush singles

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Friday, 12 October 2018 07:03 (eight months ago) Permalink

oh and Beatles, duh. The Yellow Submarine Songtrack is friendliest.

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Friday, 12 October 2018 07:08 (eight months ago) Permalink

My 8 and 10 year old have known all the words to There Is A Light That Never Goes Out for a good few years. Proud parenting moment.

Current faves include Panic! At The Disco, Charlie Puth, Shawn Mendes, Ariana, CRJ, Boy Azooga and the GotG soundtracks

groovypanda, Friday, 12 October 2018 07:09 (eight months ago) Permalink

Los del Rio - Macarena

hee hee hee

niels, Friday, 12 October 2018 09:03 (eight months ago) Permalink

I absolutely hated music for kids when I was a kid. I'm sure plenty of children out there feel the same.

pomenitul, Friday, 12 October 2018 09:09 (eight months ago) Permalink

My boy (12 1/2) wanted me to make him a hip-hop playlist the other day. I thought about a kid-friendly playlist for a while, then decided I'd rather sit with him and listen to it and explain the history and context of the language etc. I dunno if it's the right decision.

My daughter (10) likes Ariana and the Mamma Mia soundtrack, mostly.

Have the Rams stopped screaming yet, Lloris? (Chinaski), Friday, 12 October 2018 13:32 (eight months ago) Permalink

There’s a ton of great music made specifically for (young) kids. Caspar Babypants, Laurie Berkner, Charlie Hope, Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael, Samba Salad... these are some big names that come immediately to mind. We have a bunch of mix CDs from a toddler music class with lots of others, if anyone’s interested.

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Friday, 12 October 2018 13:45 (eight months ago) Permalink

Chinaski, that sounds like the rightest decision. Props.

pomenitul, Friday, 12 October 2018 13:48 (eight months ago) Permalink

My 7-year-old's been pulling my old cassette tapes from the basement. The group that's been the biggest hit with him and his 4-year-old brother is Shonen Knife. Which makes sense I suppose.

erasingclouds, Friday, 12 October 2018 15:02 (eight months ago) Permalink

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