Pick music for my 10 year-old son's iPod!
March 24, 2013 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Please name one song, or album, that I should put on my 10 year-old son's iPod.

My 10 year old son has a new iPod. Right now it has exactly one song on it (Hello, Goodbye, which he loves). He's asked me to put some music on it for him, but I thought instead of inflicting my own taste (which I'll do anyway) I'd throw it open to the hive mind.

Name one song or album I should put on it. I'll compile a list, and report back his reactions at some point.

Data points: he's got no particular taste in music (except he learned to sing Southern Man when he was four, which was odd) but he does really like things he can sing along to and/or dance crazily to. He does like the Beatles, and some Neil Young/Buffalo Springield, and I think he had Bulls on Parade as an earworm at some point. But I really want to introduce him to stuff that will be the beginning of a journey somewhere.

He does love things that are a bit abstruse or that aren't things you'd expect kids of his age to 'get'. He also likes to know stuff about the music, why it's important or interesting, for example.
posted by unSane to Society & Culture (74 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Good Day Sunshine by The Beatles.
posted by reenum at 4:18 PM on March 24, 2013

posted by tardigrade at 4:19 PM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Two ideas - "20 Golden Greats" by The Hollies, fantastic compilation album to one of the contemporary bands to the Beatles, and "Sorry For Partyin'" by Bowling for Soup (because my ten year old can't get enough of it).
posted by ewan at 4:20 PM on March 24, 2013

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots might be a little heavy for 10, but it's gorgeous, a lot of it is singable, and it has robots!
posted by Nomyte at 4:20 PM on March 24, 2013 [5 favorites]

Any Bob Marley, mon.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:21 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Monkey vs. Robot
posted by Mothlight at 4:22 PM on March 24, 2013

Talking Heads - Speaking in Tongues
posted by hydrophonic at 4:23 PM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

I love Tom Chapin's music. He has great songs about nature, funny songs about parents, school, kid's stuff. He was a staple for my brothers and sisters and I growing up. It's appropriate for kids 5-12 I'd say. I remember one song, Bleak House, was a favorite of ours. Cousins was another favorite. Love that song.
posted by timpanogos at 4:23 PM on March 24, 2013

Back in Black - AC/DC
posted by mynameisluka at 4:23 PM on March 24, 2013

Sympathy for the Devil, by the Rolling Stones
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:25 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Put some Buck Owens on there! "Act Naturally" or "Streets of Bakersfield" were always favorites of mine.

Also, if he likes Neil Young, you could throw all of Decade on his player. That's a pretty good sampling. As a kid, I always loved "Cinnamon Girl" and "Mr. Soul".
posted by nohaybanda at 4:27 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, and for "dance crazily," you want Fatboy Slim, Weapon of Choice. Good enough for Christopher Walken, good enough for him.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:28 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

When I was 10 my favorite song was Radio Ga Ga by Queen.
posted by phunniemee at 4:31 PM on March 24, 2013

Graceland, by Paul Simon (the whole album, not just the title track)
posted by jeudi at 4:31 PM on March 24, 2013 [7 favorites]

My 8 year old is pretty in love with The Black Keys Brothers. (He prefers the iTunes session, released the same year, to the actual album, though.)
posted by youandiandaflame at 4:32 PM on March 24, 2013

Sloop John B. by The Beach Boys.
posted by cazoo at 4:33 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Based on the "dance crazy to it " part I have to recommend Gangnam Style. Last week I watched an entire elementary school go BERZERK when that started playing.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:36 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

What about the Beach Boys - Pet Sounds?
posted by lakersfan1222 at 4:37 PM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Baggy Trousers, by Madness - because it's accessible, and should lead to learning all about 2nd wave ska, which leads on to loads of awesomeness.
posted by pompomtom at 4:37 PM on March 24, 2013

The Beatles, Revolver
posted by loveyallaround at 4:38 PM on March 24, 2013

Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits

Prince's Greatest Hits

(there are a number of choices for actual albums for both. The point is: get some MJ and Prince in his step!)

The Clash – London Calling
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:40 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Saga Begins, by Weird Al.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 4:41 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down by The Band
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:48 PM on March 24, 2013

Beastie Boys - Intergalactic
posted by hydrophonic at 4:49 PM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think Chuck Berry has pretty universal appeal. You could pick any compilation of his and be fine, but "The Great Twenty-Eight" is one of the best ones out there.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:50 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also came for The Talking Heads.

I think I liked The Squirrel Nut Zippers around that age, which is pretty dancey. Funnily enough, now I'm a fan of Andrew Bird, former/honorary member.

I also liked the Go-Gos, Janet Jackson (maybe a little questionable, can't really remember) and "She Drives Me Crazy" by the Fine Young Cannibals around that age... Parents' tastes.
posted by jorlyfish at 4:53 PM on March 24, 2013

And wouldn't it be fair to say that pretty much everybody needs a copy of "Dark Side of the Moon"?
posted by wabbittwax at 4:54 PM on March 24, 2013

One more possibility might be one of those Dr Demento compilations.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:55 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Aquabats - Myths, Legends, and Adventures Vol. 2. Or Charge!
posted by ChuraChura at 4:56 PM on March 24, 2013

Oh, and when I was 10 we were listening to Queen. Whatever album Bohemian Rhapsody was on. That still cool for 10-year-olds?
posted by loveyallaround at 4:58 PM on March 24, 2013

My 10 year old suggests Pepper by the Butthole Surfers.
posted by Redstart at 5:00 PM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

My 8-year old loves Kaskade...especially Lessons In Love
posted by lakersfan1222 at 5:03 PM on March 24, 2013

Believe it or not, the curious George soundtrack is a big hit with all the kids, as long as the don't see the art and think its for little kids. My 10 year old loves miles Davis and cab Calloway, journey, Beatles, they might be giants and the ramones. He also likes a lot of classical, usually really large powerful orchestration. He's just now discovering hip hop, and loves the sound of gangnam style. He's not big in to my punk stuff or my prog stuff, but likes old metal. Point being, give him some of everything. :)
posted by dejah420 at 5:07 PM on March 24, 2013

What, no Motown? Motown.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 5:14 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Danse Macabre.
posted by alms at 5:21 PM on March 24, 2013

They Might Be Giants! Their best of compilation Dial-A-Song is a pretty great start. My favorite TMBG songs when I was a kid were Istanbul (Not Constantinople), Particle Man, Birdhouse In Your Soul, Doctor Worm, and Why Does the Sun Shine (which has an updated version since we now know that "the sun is a miasma of incandescent plasma" rather than a "mass of incandescent gas.").
posted by yasaman at 5:23 PM on March 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

The album of triple j's 'Hottest 100 of all time', could be worth a look.

And Joni Mitchell, 'Big Yellow Taxi'
posted by kjs4 at 5:24 PM on March 24, 2013

KISS - Destroyer
posted by peagood at 5:26 PM on March 24, 2013

Jackie Wilson - "Higher and Higher"
Van Morrison - "Bright Side of the Road"
posted by ersatzkat at 5:29 PM on March 24, 2013

March of the Sinister Ducks.
posted by musofire at 5:38 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Never Mind the Bollocks by the Sex Pistols.

Seconding Chuck Berry.

Elmore James.

The Stones' Exile on Main Street.
posted by scratch at 5:44 PM on March 24, 2013

The entirety of "Flood" by "They Might Be Giants".
posted by pazazygeek at 5:52 PM on March 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

When you are 10, it's time to go epic

The Beatles - Abbey Road and Revolver
Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
The Feelies - Crazy Rhythms
Sonic Youth - Goo
Hüsker Dü - Zen Arcade
U2 - Wide Awake In America (live album)
Crosby Still Nash and Young - Deja Vu
Pink Floyd - The Wall
posted by bobdow at 6:00 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Big Chill soundtrack was one of my favorites at that age.
posted by gnutron at 6:13 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are all excellent suggestions and I would like more!

NB I think I'm going to add some Meatloaf to this list.
posted by unSane at 6:15 PM on March 24, 2013

I asked this a few years back.
posted by Leon at 6:26 PM on March 24, 2013

Manu Chao- Bongo Bong
posted by kimdog at 6:26 PM on March 24, 2013

I'm breaking ranks.

John Williams, Star Wars theme.
Aaron Copland's Hoe Down, from Rodeo.
Bach's Brandenburg 3rd Concerte, 1st movement Allegro.
Stravinski's Firebird Suite, Inferno Dance.
Holst, the Planets, Mars.

That's a good start into accessible symphonic music of a variety of eras and styles.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:32 PM on March 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Where is the humor?

What no They Might Be Giants? Ok sorry didnt see pazazygeek's suggestion.
Jonathon Coulton - pretty much anything.
Jill Sobule - some of her stuff is pretty adult, review first
posted by elendil71 at 6:34 PM on March 24, 2013

My twelve year old loves Mika's Elle Me Dit very much right now, and has liked his other stuff for a while.

Also, I have to nth Weird Al Yankovic...she's not up on Trapped in the Closet, but she loves Trapped in the Drive Thru anyway.
posted by gnomeloaf at 6:45 PM on March 24, 2013

Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes
Jump in the Line - Harry Belafonte
Iko Iko - Dixie Cups
Foot Stompin' - the Flares
posted by Leezie at 6:46 PM on March 24, 2013

Island in the Sun, Weezer
posted by lakersfan1222 at 7:04 PM on March 24, 2013

My pops listened to a lot of jazz so: Thelonious Monk. Solo Monk would be my choice for pure undiluted Monk.
posted by Lorin at 7:14 PM on March 24, 2013

Grease came out the year I was 10.

The B-52s
The kinks
Otis redding
posted by brujita at 7:23 PM on March 24, 2013

Dead Milkmen, Bucky Fellini

Arlo Guthrie - a Best Of seems like a good way to check him out. And I can't imagine Arlo without his father, Woody.
posted by batmonkey at 8:06 PM on March 24, 2013

All right, if other people are naming more than one, here are some others my 10 year old loves:

Blackbird - Beatles
You Ain't Going Nowhere - Bob Dylan
Green Shirt - Elvis Costello
Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
Going Back to Georgia - Nanci Griffith with Adam Duritz
Mother's Little Helper - Rolling Stones
Undertow - Suzanne Vega
Tennessee Stud - Johnny Cash
posted by Redstart at 8:25 PM on March 24, 2013

Song 2 by Blur.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:37 PM on March 24, 2013

American Pie by Don McLean, my kiddo loved it at about 10 -- easy to sing along to with very imaginative lyrics.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 9:39 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Tom Chapin for sure, especially Billy the Squid. What made my 10 year old pick up a guitar and try to play was Odds Bodkin story recordings especially The Odyssey and Giants Cauldron. The music is gorgeous 12 string guitar - never heard anything quite like it. He also had Alice's Restaurant memorized at that age.
posted by LiverOdor at 10:14 PM on March 24, 2013

The Ramones. He absolutely cannot be allowed to grow up without knowing The Ramones.
Also, ABBA's Greatest Hits. And some Stevie Ray Vaughn.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:33 AM on March 25, 2013

B52s "Rock Lobster"
posted by cellura p at 2:36 AM on March 25, 2013

The Go! Team - Thunder Lightning Strike
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:09 AM on March 25, 2013

Response by poster: Please stick to one song, folks, otherwise it gets unmanageable and defeats the point.
posted by unSane at 4:18 AM on March 25, 2013

Even though a 10 year old is wafting toward adulthood, I would put in a few songs that allow him to reach back and touch childhood. For me as a kid these weren't kid's songs but songs that had a kid-like quality, songs like Pete Seeger's 'Little Boxes'. The kind of song that he would say he doesn't listen to but in reality plays more than the others.
posted by InkaLomax at 4:46 AM on March 25, 2013

Today I learned that I have the musical tastes of a ten-year-old boy.

How about Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder?
posted by dywypi at 7:19 AM on March 25, 2013

My Generation by The Who
posted by ODiV at 7:41 AM on March 25, 2013

My almost 10yo son recently requested Take on Me by A-Ha to be added to his iPod. Not sure where he picked it up from, but asked for it by humming the keyboard riff
posted by Mahogne at 9:40 AM on March 25, 2013

Please please please add Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan.
posted by jabes at 9:44 AM on March 25, 2013

Multiplication Rock! Or any Schoolhouse Rock, but Multiplication Rock is the best. Unfortunately it's ludicrously overpriced, even used.

The song "The Shappey Way" is by a fan of the radio show Cabin Pressure and written from the POV of one of the characters, but you don't have to know anything about the show to appreciate the song. And it's lovely to sing along with: "And you, you ask me how I'm always happy / But I don't know how not to be / Because my life is brilliant, and so are you / And if you ever fail to see it, I will gladly point it out to you…"
posted by Lexica at 7:06 PM on March 25, 2013

My kids loved Trout Fishing in America, especially the album My World.
posted by islandeady at 10:36 PM on March 25, 2013

The Specials' version of "Pressure Drop".
posted by cellimachine at 10:23 AM on March 27, 2013

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