No One Puts Baby in the Corner

I guess this past winter was a particularly busy  time for people to get their baby making grooves on, because three couples I know have had babies in the past two weeks. And I have more still expecting.

All of this comes at a great time because I was recently inflicted with some baby fever recently, and while I love all these babies coming around, I must say that after an hour or so caring for one of them, I was done. Much to my husband’s relief.

ANYWAY…so in honor of all dem babies, I’m going to do their parents a favor and make a Top Ten List of the Best Songs to Play for Babies Without Losing Your Mind.

Because guess what folks…if they’re never introduced to Barney and His Never-Never Land Reject Friends then they can’t get attached to a soundtrack guaranteed to make you postal.

Don’t tell me I’ve never given you anything…

10. “Accidentally in Love,” [Counting Crows] Accidentally in Love.

This song was pulled for one of the Shrek movie soundtracks and I actually think it’s terrific – even if I think the Counting Crows are usually anything but.  This is the perfect bounce around the house song…I’d recommend this for when they’re closer to 6 months old, when they’re on the verge of crawling and need a beat to get motivated.

9. “Baby Mine,” [Bette Midler] Beaches Motion Picture Soundtrack.

Before you all go off on a gag fest, here me out: the Divine M sings a killer version of this song. Trust me, it’ll soothe your baby’s raw nerves and even yours until you can get your hands on the vino. It was originally part of Disney’s “Dumbo” movie, and I still get teary-eyed when I hear it.

8. “Birds and Ships,” [Billy Bragg & Wilco] Mermaid Avenue.

Children’s songs and Bragg & Wilco aren’t two things you’d usually put together. Sorta like pickles and ice cream.  But in the right frame of mind, it works. And this one’s no exception.

7. “Thanks a Lot,” [Raffi] Baby Beluga.

I promise to steer you clear of more traditional children’s music entertainers, but Raffi is an exception – especially this song. It’s just beautiful, and could be sung in any self-respecting folksy coffee-house. We’ll let it go that his last name is Cavoukian. Yep, you heard me right. Different spelling…hopefully different family.

6. “Smile Smile Smile,” [Dan Zanes] Night Time!

Nooooo, it’s not the devil coming for your children’s souls. It’s Dan Zanes, former Del Fuegos band member and yeah, believe it or not, he’s got a whole other career going singing to your kids. Since he actually started in grown-up music, I am still reluctant to call him a children’s entertainer, but that’s what he is these days. And no worries people…he can’t stand the sing songy, infantile bullshit either. And it shows 🙂

5. “The Very First Day,” [Ron Sexsmith] For the Kids Too.

Anyone who has been reading this site for a while knows I love Ron Sexsmith. So when I found this record, I was beyond thrilled to have my love for our girls’ future musical aesthetic marry so well with one of my favorites.  This – like many on this list – tends to be on the mellower side…but I’m thinking of the newborns, and not the toddlers so much. There could be a whole other list for those…

4. “Walking on Sunshine,” [Katrina and the Waves] Anthology.

I couldn’t stand this song when it came out back in the 80s, but even the babies love this upbeat diddy – and it sorta grows on you after a while. And yeah, I’ll admit…Jack Black giving it props in the movie “High Fidelity” helped turn it around for me. Yes, I AM that impressionable.

3. “Catch the Moon,” [Lisa Loeb & Elizabeth Mitchell] Catch the Moon.


Why are there two pictures of Lisa Loeb here? Because Ms. Bitch has a SERIOUS girl crush on the cat-eyed creature known as the Jewess Goddess of My Heart. Not only is she hot and wicked smart and clever, but Ms. Lisa’s also kind and down-to-earth (how do I know? (1) No restraining order on me yet 😉 and (2) I watched every episode of Vh1’s #1 Single, gleaming for any hope that she’d make the jump with me to the other side of Etheridge-Lang Land. No such luck.

Oh and to only make her an even more Semitic Sultry Slice of Loveliness, she loves kids and writes excellent music for them. Catch the Moon is only one of many that are fabulous.

New Parents Alert: Don’t be surprised if your infant only responds to lilty voices such as Lisa and Elizabeth’s. Studies have shown they respond to the higher and lighter frequencies over more sonorous selections such as…

2. “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” [Louis Armstrong] Classics for Children.

Why Louis’ version over everyone else? Because he’s Louis Armstrong, that’s why. Admittedly a sentimetal choice for me, as is the last one…

1. “You are My Sunshine,” [Elizabeth Mitchell] You are My Sunshine.

My mother sang this one to me when I was little, and now I sing it to my girls.  They get out of the bath, still all sudzy from the bubbles and I wrap them tightly with a towel and scoop them up on my lap. And then we sing. It’s one of the most paradoxal songs ever written – both uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. A classic that will last forever.


2 responses to “No One Puts Baby in the Corner

  1. In two months when our daughter is born my wife and I plan to skip all the Wiggles stuff and try to get her into 60’s bubblegum pop and 80s dance music instead.

    If anything, I think you list is still a little patronizing to the kiddos. It doesn’t have to be made for kids to be enjoyed by kids. How about Jeff Buckly at bed-time or the Ramones at play time?

    What infant wouldn’t want to be sung to sleep by Regina Spektor lullabies?

  2. Good suggestions…but I beg to defer that music made for children has to automatically be considered patronizing – or lesser than by definition.

    What I love about this list is that these musicians show how music for kids doesn’t have to be infantile in order to be enjoyed by everyone. They’re trying to re-define the genre.

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