Music for Babies
November 10, 2004 10:46 AM   Subscribe

Best Baby Music?

I'm actually thinking along two lines here. There's Baby Awake Music and then there's Baby Go to Sleep Music.

What are people's favorites? [MI]

I've been listening to alot of Laurie Berkner ("Shakin' Down the Sugar" is a cool song regardless of genre) and Ralph's World lately but have also gotten back into Harry Chapin and lots and lots of Cat Stevens.

My best Go To Sleep song is by Ismael Lo called Dibi Dibi Rek but I always need more! The kid likes reggae alot and will crash to Eek-A-Mouse's Zum Galli pretty easily too.
posted by fenriq to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I had to babysit a baby and my mom said that whenever it got cranky, to play Minnie Ripperton's "Loving You"... and it worked. I'd have preferred "Gin and Juice" to a constant Winamp loop of "Loving You", but meh.
posted by geoff. at 10:53 AM on November 10, 2004

Archers of Loaf (especially Icky Mettle) and Bloc Party for when baby is awake and feels like dancing.

Classical and ambient for when baby is tired or needs to be tired.

Ralph's World for in the car ...the baby seems to be much more picky while buckled into the car seat.
posted by jasonspaceman at 11:46 AM on November 10, 2004

My favorites are:
"On a Starry Night" which includes the sweet Cuban lullabye Cancion de Cuna by Eliot Fisk and "Latin Lullaby" featuring the playful Drume Negrita (Sleep Little Black Girl) by Bola de Nieve.
posted by azul at 12:25 PM on November 10, 2004

The Most Wonderful Toddlers in the World (aka Scody Nephew #1, age 4, and Scody Nephew #2, age not-quite-2) are both obsessed -- obsessed -- with the Rolling Stones for awake times. (The only part of this that is worrisome is that their mutual favorite song is "Under My Thumb," which they will beg to hear dozens of times in row.)

The upbeat ska-pop goodness of Madness has always driven them crazy with delight as well -- back in Nephew 1's little baby days, their version of "It Must Be Love" could calm him down from crying to smiling in about 30 seconds flat.

As for sleeping? Heh, I'm usually on my way home by that point. (Although I do seem to recall some Mozart-lullabys-for-tinkly-toy-piano CD that was pretty useful back in the baby days, too.)
posted by scody at 12:36 PM on November 10, 2004

My baby loves Comparsa by Deep Forest. Also the "Triplets of Belleville" Soundtrack. My husband also swears industrial puts the baby to sleep.
posted by Shoeburyness at 12:43 PM on November 10, 2004

My son is now 15, but when he was a baby he had a real hard time going to sleep. The only sure way turned out to be slow dancing to Edie Gorme and Trio Los Panchos.
posted by teo at 12:59 PM on November 10, 2004

Godspeed (Sweet Dreams) by the Dixie Chicks is good Baby Go to Sleep Music. Yeah, really.
posted by deborah at 1:34 PM on November 10, 2004

Check out Jason Falkner's awesome "Bedtime With the Beatles" lullaby Beatles versions. Super-great, even for adults.
posted by neustile at 1:55 PM on November 10, 2004

Here's what's on the iPod in our house (with a two year old and a five month old).

As far as "real" kids' music is concerned, only these:
Laurie Berkner
Dan Zanes
They Might Be Giants, of course
Catch The Moon by Lisa Loeb with Elizabeth Mitchell

Otherwise: Sleepy time music is the Cocteau Twins or Coldplay (the latter is guaranteed to knock an infant out in three tracks). Happy time music is hip hop (Outkast is big with us right now, because "poo poo" is such a funny word), reggae, and good old fashioned rock and roll. We also love swing, ska, the Violent Femmes, and Ween.
posted by padraigin at 2:16 PM on November 10, 2004

Also, there's free and legal (as in both, not one or the other) children's songs here. I have yet to try any of the downloads but plan on doing so as I am making a cd of mp3s from all of the children's music we have for longer roadtrips.
posted by jasonspaceman at 2:17 PM on November 10, 2004

The sounds of mommy and daddy having a Passionate Disagreement.
posted by xmutex at 2:20 PM on November 10, 2004

Whatever you played for them while they were in the womb will tend to calm them when they hear it afterward. A friend of mine did this and it was amazing how quickly the baby got happy when he heard the special song.
posted by kindall at 2:24 PM on November 10, 2004

I second the "On a Starry Night" cd. My son's other favorite for going to sleep is "World Music for Little Ears" which you can find at Ellipsis Arts. I recently caught him singing the song "Thula Thula", a Kenyan lullabye from Ntomb'khoma Diamini. It's a beautiful song.

For awake music, Elmopolluza or Sesame Street Platinum.
posted by onhazier at 2:24 PM on November 10, 2004

Your baby may grow up to be wiccan, but Enya will see them fast asleep.
posted by four panels at 2:59 PM on November 10, 2004

Baby Genius. Because baby likes Beethoven.
posted by seanyboy at 4:24 PM on November 10, 2004

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Raffi yet. He is a Canadian singer/composer who writes simple little tunes very suitable for the under-6 crowd. There are fun songs for the bathtub (Six Little Ducks) dancing songs (Brown Girl In The Ring) and silly songs (Bananaphone)

I really enjoyed all his tapes and learned the songs so that when we didn't have the tapes, we could sing the songs by ourselves.

I miss Raffi (my daughter is 11.)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:41 PM on November 10, 2004

I didn't mention Raffi because I hate him.

Sorry. I know so many people who adore him.

I don't know why I love Laurie Berkner so much, and why I hate virtually every other kid-specific artist. I can sing "Pig on Her Head" all day long, but "Baby fucking Beluga" makes my skin crawl.
posted by padraigin at 5:02 PM on November 10, 2004

Also, The Penguin Cafe Orchestra is an odd musical group that is very difficult to describe but it is low-key and highly suitable for the young. My daughter never failed to wiggle rhythmically whenever she heard "Telephone and Rubber Band."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:08 PM on November 10, 2004

I am a firm believer that no kids needs to listen to "kids music" My girls have loved anything with a simple 4/4 beat since birth. I have a bunch of stories, some about my 2 year old being able to sing along with "Folsom Prison Blues" and others about her walking through the kitchen singing "On the Bus" (a replacements song) while I washed dishes. As long as it isn't too racey, she likes the Ramones, the aforementioned 'mats, and some Stones, loves Joni Mitchell (when my wife sings it)

For bedtime, this is her current cd goes on after stories and when the lights go out. I wish I had the energy to annotate, but here is it...

Daniel Lanois - Jolie Louise
Bob Marley - Three Little Birds
Paul Westerberg - We May Be the Ones
Rufus Wainwright - One Man Guy
Dan Bern - Estelle
Willy DeVille - Nightfalls
Martin Tielli - I'll Never Tear You Apart
Billy Bragg and Wilco - Ingrid Bergman
Paul Westerberg - It's A Wonderful Lie
Billy Bragg and Wilco - Hesitating Beauty
Paul Westerberg - Runaway Wind
Rheostatics - Northern Wish
Joni Mitchell - Carey
Daniel Lanois - Sometimes
The Weakerthans - My favorite chords
The Church - Under the Milky Way

She loves it and I recently re-ordered it when the second copy got scratched. She is 3.5 and has figured out how to open the CD player!
posted by Richat at 7:45 PM on November 10, 2004 [1 favorite]

For awake times, when they get a little older (6-8 months+) in my experience (6 for 6 thus far) babies dig the disco. BeeGees, Donna Summer, Sylvester, Chic, Village People, Gloria Gaynor, etc. My 2 year old and I were listening to a disco station earlier today and he had a grand time, dancing around and banging on things in time with the tunes.

At night, I've got a few mix cds that I've put together that my kids really love. They're either a combination of new-agey celticesque stuff like Enya, Clannad and Loreena McKennit or all instrumental, mainly classical, with a lot of harp music which soothes like nobody's business. (Yolanda Kondonassis is a favorite.)
posted by Dreama at 9:16 PM on November 10, 2004

My parents just listened to their own music (60s/70s rock for dad, same era folk and jazz for mom) and I loved it all. I was culturally behind on the music once I got to school, but boy I knew all the words to Tommy. My ten-year-old brother has an undying love for Elton John due to this upbringing.

If you want "kids music" for when they are a little older, I heartily reccomend Tom Chapin (Harry's brother) and our own Mainer Rick Charette. I adored these guys when I was young, and they are still going strong now. I find Rick sings more "traditional" kids music in the same vein as Raffi, but somehow he is waaay less annoying (although strands on every track on this album still waft through my brain occasionally).

Tom has very folksy, very gentle, very funy music. It's got some semi-nerdy hippie themes, as evidenced by Mother Earth, several tracks on Billy The Squid and Moonboat. But it's all really fantastic music. The fact that my parents would put on his stuff without being whined into it by my sister and I probably says the most about him.
posted by nelleish at 10:28 PM on November 10, 2004

All the mums I know have gone Baby Dub .
posted by meech at 5:23 AM on November 11, 2004

Okay, Amazon is screwy because the audio samples are from Billy The Squid and the lesser Zig Zag are switched. Just wanted to point that out.
posted by nelleish at 7:19 AM on November 11, 2004

Jonathon Richman and The Modern Lovers - "Live" seemed to work for my boy. Not quite sure how, but hey, at least he has great taste.
posted by longbaugh at 9:00 AM on November 11, 2004

Thanks for all the great input everyone. I've tried Raffi before but there's just something Barney-ish about him that makes me want to run screaming from the room.

I've already sampled some of the new groups mentioned here and found some that I think will work out just dandily!

And I've got lots more music to check out now too! I thank you all, my wife thanks you all and my boy thanks you all!
posted by fenriq at 11:43 AM on November 11, 2004

I just recently found Lunch Money, indie pop for your tot.

Great stuff.
posted by jasonspaceman at 9:39 AM on November 22, 2004

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