Beyond Old Macdonald: Rock stars turned parents and their wonderfully listenable children’s albums


Music that doesn't dumb down your baby

Photo yoinked from the Babypants music website without permission.

Oh he might sway to row, row, row your boat, but my son gets right down to Caspar Babypants.

Bodhi not only has good taste in music, but he dances differently to different types and sings along like a champ. I can already see that music is a passion of his (like so many children), and I don’t want my child growing up in a world of rote tunes.

The world of music is bigger than any of us can ever get a handle on. Old favorites are great, but while we use song to redirect attention I don’t have Barney playing in my living room and never will.

There is a difference between good music and good kids music: annunciation. You will be able to understand all of the lyrics in children’s music as one of the purposes is to encourage literacy. Also, 99% of the time the content will be appropriate and not filled with sexual innuendo like so much of today’s music (kids these days!).

Here is a little taste of some indie, country, rap, world music and punk rock stars turned parent and then turned children’s music artist.

Rock star children albums

  • Jack Johnson has given us the epic and wonderful for all ears album, Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George.
  • Caspar Babypants is the former singer for the Presidents of the United States of America. He is my favorite artist (children or no) and has dozens of very listenable and highly danceable children’s songs. USA Today calls his work: sweet, simple and incredibly smart minimalistic music for your mini-me.
  • Barenaked Ladies, a multi-platnium Canadian band released the children’s album “Snack Time”–upbeat, silly pop music.
  • They Might Be Giants: I think they are a bit of an acquired taste, but hubby loves them. The albums Here come the 1, 2, 3s and Here Comes Science focus on a specific learning deliverables. Tracks include Science is Real and The Element Song—they are to be enjoyed by all ages, particularly useful for older children interested in science.
  • DJ Lance Rock‘s had an earlier career in the indie band The Raymakers and is now the star of Yo Gabba Gabba! This TV Show has lots of albums for the pre-school and early school ages. Their Music is…Awesome CD collection includes singles from The Roots, Devo, Chromeo and Biz Markie.
  • Jason Ringenberg of Jason and the Scorchers, writes under the artist name Farmer Jason and has released a bunch of albums about nature and farming with many cameos from other rock and punk artists.
  • Ziggy Marley’s reggae-weighted album Family Time features a bunch of cameos from artists such as Willie Nelson, Paul Simon and Jack Johnson.
  • Snatam Kaur is a well….not a rock star, but she is loved by many. This popular kirtan artist (devotional Indian music) is a favourite of mine. She created a children’s album after having her daughter.

Delivery systems

Spotify is a Swedish streaming music service with millions of paying members, but you can use the service for free with the very occasional ad. Pretty much any music you can think of you can find on Spotify. You can also design a “station” based on a song or band opening up a world of music to your tastes. It’s great for figuring out the playability of kids music and you can rest assured that the artists get paid for music played.

Production companies: places to search for new music

  • The production company, New Sound Music, recently acquired RounderKids, an alternative children’s music production company. Much they have to offer is more mainstream, but some nice bands to be found within the label.
  • Another production company, Palm Kids, houses over 100 indie children’s labels as well as a new store for cool toys and games.

Learning more

Zoogobble children’s music blog:

  • Scroll through children’s videos (Bodhi loves this)
  • Reviews of albums
  • Listen of tracks and download free songs

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