October 16, 2007 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Please suggest can't-fail-lullabies to play for my bouncin' baby boy.

So far, these work:

Assemblage 23 - Lullaby
Dixie Chicks - Lullaby
U2 - MLK
Cat Power - Colors and the Kids

but, while he is perfectly happy to listen to them over and over and over again, I am going quietly insane. Please help me keep my sanity by suggesting more songs that

a) will put him to sleep.
b) don't suck

This is oriented towards playing mp3s, not actually singing myself.
posted by signal to Grab Bag (33 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Mississippi John Hurt - just about anything, really.
Hüsker Dü - Warehouse Songs and Stories
posted by breezeway at 9:25 AM on October 16, 2007

"When You Dream" on Stunt by the Barenaked Ladies.

"Shipwreck Coast" by the Lucksmiths.
posted by atayah at 9:27 AM on October 16, 2007

Some time ago, I made a CD of 'sleepytime' music based on stuff we had laying around that would, er, put small kids (and sometimes adults) to sleep. I don't recall the exact track list, but it contained slower tracks from Deep Forest's first album, and one-offs from Anuna and Bell/Meyer's Short Trip Home CD, and the third volume ("Lullabies") of the Celtic Twilight collection.
posted by jquinby at 9:27 AM on October 16, 2007

My daughter has listened to the same lullaby album for over 12 years, nearly every night. Works like a charm.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:29 AM on October 16, 2007

My kids were always out cold by track 3 of Coldplay's "Parachutes".
posted by padraigin at 9:30 AM on October 16, 2007

Phillip Glass - Glassworks (only rendition I can find free online)
Claude Debussy - Clair de Lune
Aphex Twin - Avril 14
Deep Forest - Sweet Lullabye
Pink Martini - Lullabye (a reprisal of Sympathique)
posted by phrontist at 9:43 AM on October 16, 2007

Check these out.
posted by hermitosis at 9:54 AM on October 16, 2007

May I suggest Rockabye Baby? (Previous MeFi post.)
posted by onlyconnect at 9:55 AM on October 16, 2007

posted by onlyconnect at 9:56 AM on October 16, 2007

I tend to like generally depressing, but calm-sounding songs that speak of love-lost, so:

Blackbird (I've heard it by Kaye - I can email you the lyrics if you want, but not the melody)
Come Rain or Come Shine - Alison Eastwood*
This Time the Dream's on Me - Alison Krauss*
I Wanna Be Around - Tony Bennett
Autumn Leaves - Paula Cole*
All Your Way - Morphine
Breeze off the River - Patrick Cole (this one's from the Full Monty theatre soundtrack, but it's wonderful)
Josephine - Brandi Carlisle
There's Nothing in This World - The Kinks

Also, see this previous question, which has some upbeat, but lullaby type songs, like Moonshadow.

*The first time I heard these songs was on the soundtrack for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I'm sure there are other versions of these songs by more talented artists, but these are the versions I have stored in iTunes.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 10:02 AM on October 16, 2007

A lot of Boards of Canada's music borders on the trippy/disturbing, especially from their first two albums, but some of the songs on The Campfire Headphase are very relaxing and peaceful. I recommend tracks 3, 4, and 15. Plus, it's just an awesome album which you should listen to anyway. :)

Also on the list of awesome albums which you should listen to anyway: Nick Drake's Pink Moon. Every song is a classic in my opinion, and it's a very peaceful album.

Some individual songs:

DJ Shadow - Midnight In A Perfect World
Boards of Canada - Roygbiv
Boards of Canada - Under the Coke Sign
Nick Drake - Time Has Told Me
Led Zeppelin - Bron-Yr-Aur
The Rum Diary - Untitled
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 10:08 AM on October 16, 2007

My daughters seemed to be particularly fond of Leon Redbone.
posted by lpsguy at 10:09 AM on October 16, 2007

FWIW, when I was growing up my brothers and I listened to three records every night to put us to sleep: Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, Ballads of the Green Berets by Sgt. Barry Sadler, and The Best of Jim Reeves.

I do not recommend this trio for easy slumber.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:15 AM on October 16, 2007

The Curious George soundtrack (mostly by Jack Johnson) has some fairly mellow songs. Whether they suck or not depends on your taste I suppose. Beats a sharp stick

Or you could try Soothing Sounds for Baby. I think its worth it for the cover alone.
posted by ian1977 at 10:18 AM on October 16, 2007

You know, I personally, and my kids secondly loved, loved I tell you, the American Lullaby which is a collection of folk songs (country and bluegrass) or folksie lullabies. Our favorites are Hobo's lullaby and Cowgirl's lullaby. Other than that we use a lot of Bach and other german or italian baroque in low volume, such as Goldberg variations (I mean there were meant to be lullabies, right?) etc. Also you maybe able to find a lot of different ethnic lullabies, particularly if your kid is in contact with other cultures.
posted by carmina at 10:18 AM on October 16, 2007

edit - Beats a sharp stick in the eye. Or anywhere I suppose.
posted by ian1977 at 10:18 AM on October 16, 2007

When we're someplace overnight and have forgotten lullabye CDs but not the iPod, Norah Jones' first album seems to do the trick. (Ms. Jones, in fact, is known as "Vacation Lady" at our house.)
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:30 AM on October 16, 2007

In the interest of full disclosure, I know these guys, so grain of salt and all that. But this album is an excellent double-disc, one with fun playtime songs and the other with good lulllaby songs. My wife sings "I See the Moon" everytime she puts our little one down. It's a great album -- I listen to the playtime songs in my car even when I don't have the kid. I also recommend "Cady's Lullaby," "Little Cowboy's Lullaby," and "Do Nothing At All" as winners. You can buy individual mp3s off their website, if you prefer.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:44 AM on October 16, 2007

Tears are in Your Eyes -- Yo La Tengo
posted by proj at 11:00 AM on October 16, 2007

If I ever have kids of my own, one of the primary lullabies will be the Beatles' "Goodnight."
posted by kimota at 11:01 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

btw, there are a few Amazon reviews if you doubt my objectivity.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:01 AM on October 16, 2007

When my brother was small, the only song that would consistently put him to sleep was Day Trip to Bangor by Fiddler's Dram. Whether this song sucks depends on your tolerance for 70s folk music.
posted by penguinliz at 11:06 AM on October 16, 2007

Elizabeth Mitchell's You Are My Little Bird is in my son's CD player and he falls asleep to it every night.

It's the best.
posted by peep at 12:56 PM on October 16, 2007

cat stevens - moonshadow
posted by kidsleepy at 1:01 PM on October 16, 2007

"Atlantic" by Eddie from Ohio
posted by bassjump at 1:29 PM on October 16, 2007

A CD of Beethoven piano sonatas.
Blue Six - Beautiful Tomorrow.

I used to sing Paul Simon to my daughter - sang, didn't play. St. Judy's Comet was obviously written as a lullaby but it didn't work. She liked Was a Sunny Day better.
posted by yclipse at 2:07 PM on October 16, 2007

. . . plus, of all things, Ravishing Ruby by Tom T. Hall.
posted by yclipse at 2:08 PM on October 16, 2007

Here are some from my kids' lullaby album:

Sweet Lullaby - Deep Forest
Russian Lullaby - Jerry Garcia & David Grisman
Be Still My Child - Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Hobo's Lullaby - Emmylou Harris
When You Wish Upon a Star - Leon Redbone
When She Loved Me - Sarah McLachlan
Sleep Baby Sleep - Sweet Honey in the Rock
No Surprises - Radiohead
Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby - Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss, & Gillian Welch
posted by Addlepated at 6:29 PM on October 16, 2007

My second would fall asleep to Portishead, particularly Wandering Star.
posted by Andrhia at 8:09 PM on October 16, 2007

Insomniac Trance - Lisa Loeb/Brian Eno.
posted by media_itoku at 8:12 PM on October 16, 2007

Faithless - Don't Leave
VAST - You
VAST - Flames
Radiohead - Exit Music for a Film (piano version)
O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack - Allison Krauss - As I Went Down to the River to Pray
Shiny Toy Guns - I Promise You Walls
Azure Ray - Safe and Sound
-Raining in Athens
-actually, there are a lot of Azure Ray songs that I find lullaby-ish. Take your pick.
Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Ben Folds - Golden Slumbers
Bjork - All Is Full of Love
Bob Dylan - Most of the Time
Burt Bacharach - What The World Needs Now is Love (a version without the fast bit at the end)
A choral rendition of "Set Me As a Seal"
Kurt Bestor - Prayer of the Children
Jay Unger - Ashokan's Farewell (you know, from Ken Burns' Civil War)
Also from the Civil War soundtrack, Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard - Now We Are Free (from the Gladiator soundtrack)
Oystein Sevag - White Wings
Judy Garland - Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Kermit the Frog - The Rainbow Connection
a choral rendition of "Shenandoah" - I love my version by the MoTab.
some choral renditions of "Amazing Grace" are fabulous lullabies (try the one by the Boys' Choir of Harlem)
Loreena McKennitt - Dante's Prayer

... that's all I can think of/find for the moment. YMMV, all that.
posted by po at 2:09 AM on October 17, 2007

Slow, soft songs never worked for my kids. They'd get all antsy and fidgety if I played lullabies of any kind. My son preferred humming (from us). It didn't matter what it was, we just had to hum. My daughter zonked out regularly to The Who starting at about 7 weeks until she was about 10 months old. She's now 7 1/2 and she's definitely a rocker.
posted by cooker girl at 6:56 AM on October 17, 2007

I made a mix about a year ago for a friend for this very purpose - songs to sing or sing along to your baby as they're going to sleep. Here's the playlist:

Sailor - Hem
Birds - Neil Young
The Wind - Cat Stevens
Sundays - Lucinda Williams
The Fox in the Snow - Belle & Sebastian
Time Has Told Me - Nick Drake
Off To Sea Once More - Jerry Garcia & David Grisman
Grassey,Grass Grass - Woody Guthrie
Pale Blue Eyes - The Velvet Underground
Exit Stage Right - Badly Drawn Boy
I Still Miss Someone - Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson
Salty Dog - Cat Power
Birds And Ships - Billy Bragg and Wilco
God Only Knows - The Beach Boys
Woody - Hayden
My Father's Waltz - Hem
Down To The River To Pray - Alison Krauss
Oh Susanna - The Be Good Tanyas
Which Will - Lucinda Williams
Walk Away - Ben Harper
Didn't Leave Nobody But The Baby - Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch
Blackbird - The Beatles
Roses - The Magnetic Fields
Lord, Blow The Moon Out Please - Hem
posted by jtajta at 7:06 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

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