Kids music for a summer road trip.
July 2, 2012 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Kids music for a summer road trip.

We need new CDs for a summer road trip with two boys under 7. The They Might Be Giants kids albums were previous trip hits. The Terrible Twos worked well. For the Kids (1-3) also were well received.

It doesn't have to be "kids" music if it's catchy, maybe quirky, and age-appropriate.
posted by elmonobonobo to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I used to looove Raffi when I was a kid
posted by Quincy at 1:06 PM on July 2, 2012

I refuse to play kids music in my car. As a result my kids (aged 1 - 6) have developed a taste for Chuck Berry, the Rolling Stones and a wide variety of others. I think most kids enjoy the Beatles too.
posted by wabbittwax at 1:14 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Are you looking for albums or are you up to the task of burning a mix CD/making an mp3 playlist?

When I was that age, here's what I loved:

The Beatles, especially their sillier stuff like Yellow Submarine, When I'm Sixty-Four, O-Bla-Di-O-Bla-Da.

Anything 50's/60's girl group and Motown. Along the same lines, all that bubblegum pop like the Archies, the Monkees, etc.

Classic rock with easily misheard lyrics, from 'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy to There's A Bathroom On The Right. All my best childhood memories seem to involve hours on road trips in deep contemplation of the lyrics to "Ramblin' Man" (thought it had something to do with Ed McMahon?) and "Blinded By The Light" (it couldn't really be "snapped up like a douche," could it???). Oooh, and no road trip is complete without the Pompatous Of Love.

Other ideas:

Story songs

Songs about or which make mention of the place(s) you're going.

Songs with their names in them, or by artists who share their names.

"American Pie" - another one I've spent hours contemplating over the years, also easy to learn the chorus to for sing-alongs.

Show tunes and the soundtracks to movie musicals.

Stuff you really love, regardless of their interest. There are so many songs and artists I grew up HATING because my parents made me listen to them in the car, but which I now love because they make me nostalgic for my childhood.
posted by Sara C. at 1:16 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Justin Roberts is my favorite, especially his more melancholy songs.

Mr. Ray is fun and upbeat.

Farmer Jason for a bit of country flair

and if you want some funny music and storytelling you can't go wrong with Bill Harley.

And if your kids like pirates, I would recommend Captain Bogg and Salty
posted by vespabelle at 1:17 PM on July 2, 2012

Beethoven's Wig! I borrowed it from the library recently on the extremely enthusiastic recommendation of another patron, about yay high to yours, and it is a blast. It's "zany" lyrics set to classical hits.

Eyeball Skeleton's album My Pal God is excellent.
posted by carsonb at 1:17 PM on July 2, 2012

We like Steve Songs, which is the PBS guy. The songs are good musically, and also kids like the stuff. (I can sing quite a few from memory, TBH.)

He's the Anti-Wiggles.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:25 PM on July 2, 2012

Well, me and Shorty usually just listen to music now, not "kid music".
(He's really into The Specials and Slim Cessna, now. Weird kid.)

One artist I always recommend is Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.
He calls it "kid-hop" and makes it with his family. He's an Asheville artist.
The message is, invariably, positive.
He has some pedigree in underground hip-hop, from what I gather.
It's definitely something that doesn't bug the hell out of me, unlike most kid music, TMBG excepted. So, that bodes well for ya.
posted by Seamus at 1:28 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by royalsong at 1:29 PM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

When I was a kid, my brother & I listened to the Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash, and the Statler Brothers in the car because that was what my parents listened to. God, did we love Neil Diamond's "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show" -- we even had a series of hand movements that went along with the Alleluias.
posted by jabes at 1:39 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

How about MeFi's own Caspar Babypants?
posted by elizardbits at 1:42 PM on July 2, 2012

I second Captain Bogg and Salty--it's a true tragedy that disney tore them asunder.

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree about Steve Songs. His segments on PBS kids, at least, are downright stepford.
posted by umbú at 1:43 PM on July 2, 2012

Seconding Jabes' recommendations (really, any oldies are great for kids), and also the Raffi suggestion farther up. I also have to recommend Jack Johnson--I think his music is very whimsical and would be kid-friendly (especially the Curious George soundtrack). Paul Simon's "Graceland" might be kind of fun for kids too, and could be something for the adults to enjoy.

I wouldn't discount books on tape/CD either. Some of my best memories from childhood road trips involve an educational tape all about sharks and whales--it was easy to follow and had lots of neat music and sound effects and was just generally awesome and surely shut me and my siblings up for extended periods of time.
posted by lovableiago at 1:44 PM on July 2, 2012

Dan Zanes is great if you like a folkey, old-timey vibe (he does both traditional music and kids music). Good sing-along material.
posted by nanojath at 2:03 PM on July 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

John McCutcheon! As a plus he also writes adult folk music so you can start prepping your kids to learn about political struggles all over the world! My favorite kid music by him has to be Mail Myself to You and Howjadoo. His good adult stuff that I listened to as a kid (and still listen to) is Water From Another Time and Live at Wolf Trap.

Anotehr suggestion is Pete Seeger! As you can tell, my parents loved folk music.
posted by ruhroh at 2:35 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Space Songs and Ballads for the Age of Science are both available from amazon.
posted by zinon at 2:36 PM on July 2, 2012

The Brian Waite Band. We have Musicmaker and my six-year-old loves it.

She also loves Gogol Bordello's Trans-Continental Hustle, which doesn't have any noticeable swearing or such, and Vampire Weekend, so we listen to them a lot.

Sea Songs and Shanties lives in the car, too.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:59 PM on July 2, 2012

Central Services/The Board of Education; they posted a new song here. Amazon used to have samples of the songs on their album, but check youtube for videos.
posted by lilnublet at 3:02 PM on July 2, 2012

The Asylum Street Spankers Mommy Says No! is a personal favorite. While the band has broken up, they have lots of fun adult music (some of it far too adult for kids) and this great one from 2007 that was written for their kids.
posted by Mad_Carew at 4:28 PM on July 2, 2012

I would suggest They Might Be Giants' "Dial-A-Song" - it's a greatest hits collection, of sorts, with songs from their other albums. My kids like most of them, even though they aren't "kid" songs.
posted by tacodave at 4:47 PM on July 2, 2012

I was totally coming in to suggest Dan Zanes Parades And Panoramas from Carl Sandburg's American Songbag.

It's a fantastic album, totally family friendly and SUPER catchy. No kids in this house and I listen to it regularly.
posted by bibliogrrl at 5:39 PM on July 2, 2012

OH! And also, The Bottle Let Me Down (songs for bumpy wagon rides) is also fab kids music that won't drive adults bonkers.

(Asylum Street Spanker's version of I'm My Own Grandpa is hillarriiouusss)
posted by bibliogrrl at 5:41 PM on July 2, 2012

David Grisman and Jerry Garcia's "Not for Kids Only" is fun, kid-friendly and musically interesting. as a bonus, it will not make you insane.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:49 PM on July 2, 2012

Tom Chapin! My siblings and I are well into our 20s/30s (oh god), and we...still sometimes listen to these tapes (oh god again) in the car when we're all together. Also popular when we were youngins: The Mamas and the Papas, Peter Paul and Mary, The Beatles, Billy Joel and the soundtracks to many, many Broadway shows. YMMV in terms of how much you enjoy musicals, but plenty of them are tame enough for the elementary-school set.

Also, my favorite thing when I was that age was listening to songs my parents genuinely liked and wanted to sing along to, too. I was astonished when I saw someone else drum on their steering wheel because I thought my dad had invented that way-cool move. Seeing your parents (or any grown-up, honestly) rock out — at least before, oh, age 12 — is one of the best parts of a roadtrip.
posted by Charity Garfein at 6:09 PM on July 2, 2012

See You On The Moon.

It's a brilliant sing-a-long album. My kids loved it for car trips when they were about that age.
posted by veedubya at 12:07 PM on July 3, 2012

Enthusiastic second for John McCutcheon...his third family album is "Family Garden", also a fan favorite in the ole mini-van.
posted by Ginesthoi at 3:36 PM on July 3, 2012

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