Friday, December 11, 2009

If I hear Free to Be You and Me one more time . . .

David and I are always on a quest for kid-friendly grown-up music that we can all listen to in the car without anyone of us going mental. If I have to listen to Free to Be You and Me one more time (and I LIKE that soundtrack, nay, even love it) there’s a good chance I will throw myself out the window (I’m not saying it would easy. I’m not as limber and lithe as I once was, but by tarnation, I’ll try). And if David tries to slip in some Drive-By Truckers, the collective shriek that will emanate from the backseat is likely to shatter the windshield. And if I suggest a compromise, say, a positively delightful reading of Heidi on CD – its like Calgon taking me away when I hear the reader’s lovely accent say “Peter” and describe the snowfall on the mountains and the creamy goat milk – well, the groaning and moaning is enough to make even the most optimistic parent get downright disgusted.

So David downloaded “Flood” by They Might Be Giants onto his iPod. Genius!

As we hoped, ”Istanbul” was a revelation to Primo. We listened to it about five times in a row. “Particle Man” was also a hit. In retrospect, we could have skipped “Burn the Playground Down.” It raised a lot of undesirable questions: “What’s this song about?” “Why does he want to burn the playground down?” “Could a person really do that?” But in general, a very good find.

The other music we discovered the kids LOVE and we just can’t get enough of? Bill Withers, guy who sings “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.” You might not guess it, but Withers has a bunch of songs that are great for kids. There is one called “Grandma’s hands” about his grandmother. but what’s better than the song is his intro to it, in which he describes the church his grandma used to go to, where people would get so excited they’d jump into the fire that heated the church and accidentally hit themselves upside the head with drumsticks. Primo still jokes about that drumsticks.

Oh, and Ray Charles! There is no way kids can’t like Ray Charles. Especially “Hit the Road Jack.” Listening to your toddler croon, “What you SAAAAAY?” makes the pain of childbirth and the horror of the terrible twos all worth it.

And then there’s the Beatles. Kids have been listening to the Beatles since I was in labor. Abbey Road. With the Beatles. Sergeant Pepper’s. Rubber Soul. And always and everywhere, the White Album.

Ideas? Suggestions? What great grown-up music do your kids love?