If you are a regular reader around here, then you know that I have on my iPod a playlist called the “Latest 25 Mix,” containing the last 25 songs to catch my ear. It is a rotating list, so when a new songs comes onto it, it means another song is bumped off, and so on and so forth until I eventually have a totally new list. It works well, except that it suddenly began to get out of hand.
Since I started receiving kids’ music to review, I have heard so much great stuff, that I started to fill up my mix with kids’ stuff that I was getting into, and it was getting to the point that there wasn’t going to be anything left on that mix but music aimed directly at my children. Now I have to say that this only confirms the strength of these bands, that a grown man could fill a playlist of these songs and count them as his favorites when they are clearly kid-oriented. But still, I decided that they needed their own space.
Now, because kids’ songs tend to be shorter, and because my children are capable of singing something over and over again without getting tired of it for a far longer period than I, I decided to give this list 35 slots, instead of the original 25, and so here, without further ado, is the very first installment of the “Latest 35 Mix For Kids.”
1-4: Laura Veirs – Tumble Bee
I did not get this album for free. Well, okay, I did, but it was a gift from a friend, and we have enjoyed it for years. If I was going to make a list of our favorite kids’ songs, this is where I was going to start. The whole album is great, full of real, authentic, folk songs for children, and here are my kids’ favorites.
1) King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O – With a title like that, is it any wonder they love it? An upbeat, shake-your-body story of an animal wedding, with a much happier ending than that froggy who went a-courtin’.
2) The Fox – We have loved the Tom Glazer version of this song since, well, since before my kids were even born! This version more than holds its own.
3) Jump Down Spin Around – I feel like Anna Kendrick could do a kickass cups routine to this song. But until she does, we will all be jumping and spinning to this fun tune.
4) Why Oh Why – I’ve already written a whole post about this song. Go read it and then come back here for more fun songs you should be listening to.
5-6: Caspar Babypants – Hot Dog!
Bear is the one who is responsible for this entry. We also did not get this album for free, because Bear bought it using my credit card so he could hear the Stompy the Bear song over and over again. But there are plenty of other good songs on the album too. (“No therez not.” – Bear)
5) Stompy the Bear – Bear’s favorite song, currently.
6) All That I Have Got – A cool, breezy reggae tune about not needing much except the sky, a tree, or a hole in the ground.
7-8: Chris Dorman & Friends – Always There
This album is by a friend of mine, and I was part of the Kickstarter project that funded it, so I got my album as soon as it came out, which was not soon enough. You probably haven’t heard any of this stuff yet. You probably want to. Check it out here.
7) Wandering Wanda – The whole album is worth it just for this one song, in my opinion. But if you want the full effect, you should probably go hear him do it live. The buildup of the rain and the energy in the room is something to experience.
8) Honey Bee – What a fun cute, catchy little song. This one you will be humming unexpectedly for days. Complete with buzzing!
9-12: Keith Munslow – Various albums
I’ve written more than once about the awesome Keith Munslow, who I discovered via prize package (and who drew this fantastic picture of my son!), so I won’t repeat myself. But here are a few of our favorites.
9) I Love the Beach (from “Can’t Sit Still”) – My kids both sing along to this every time it comes on, at least when they are not in laughing hysterics or trying to successfully sing the “fast part” about what parents bring to the beach.
10) Are You Gonna Eat That? (from “Homemade Fun”) – The other day, Edward came up to us and said that he had had a weird dream. We asked what his dream was about, and he just sang this song. Apparently the whole dream had just been this song, playing in his head. An audio-only dream. Weird. Powerful. You had better listen to it.
11) Tiny Destroyer (from “Tiny Destroyer”) – The song that inspired the contest that got us into Keith’s music. Well deserving of that accolade, this sharp march will have you looking around for the destruction that is surely coming your way.
12) Dad is Takin’ a Nap (from “Tiny Destroyer”) – This one went onto my grown-up playlist too. Can you guess why I love it so much?
13-18: Big Block Singsong – Greatest Hits
This is where I got into trouble. I have already written about Big Block Singsong, and then when I started trying to add my favorites to my existing list, I realized that a new list was in order. There are too many good ones.
13) Happy – I already told you, this is pretty much my favorite song ever. This one’s going on my grown-up list.
14) Brave – This one is Ruby’s favorite. I did try to pick the kids’ favorite tracks over my own favorites where they differed. This is a list for them after all. Sort of.
15) Princess – I’m not going to post links to all of the songs on this list. You don’t have time for that. But you have time for this one. Take the 2 minutes to watch this video. Phenomenal.
16) Octopus – This is another song my children cannot get through without severe giggling fits. It’s on the list! Because I love to watch my kids giggle.
17) Owl – Peek, peek, peek-a-boo. A boo boo boobiddy boo! ‘Nuff said.
18) Monkey – It’s gonna be a two banana kind of day. True story.
19-21: Play Date – We All Shine
I did get this album for free, and I’m glad I did. This is what happens when punk legends decide to write music that their kids can enjoy. Basically, we all win. The only thing I might complain about is that the heavy use of distortion can sometimes make the lyrics hard to understand, or lost in the sound. Not for me, because I’m used to listening to this style of music, but for my kids. If you heard the word “distortion” and freaked out, don’t. When I say heavy, I mean for a children’s album. And now that we’ve heard it several times, the kids love it. Ruby cracks up when the healthy eating PSAs come on, because she thinks they can’t decide what to sing about, or that somehow their songs are magically being changed. “Now it’s about broccoli!” “NOW it’s about bananas!” Cue the giggles. The album releases July 24th, and you definitely need to check it out.
19) Ninja Pajamas – This is the standout track on the album. If there’s one thing my kids love, it’s staying in their pajamas all day, especially when their pajamas make them look like something cool, like Batman (who I believe is technically a ninja, if not in name). Finally there is a song that captures their favorite state of play.
20) L-O-V-E You – We all sing along with this one. The first song from the album that really got stuck in my own personal head, it’s a happy and comforting tune of love and family, which you really can’t enough of.
21) Stevie the Fox – This is the second Fox-related track on the list (third if you count “Owl,” which does feature a fox), and we love foxes. This is the opening track of the album, and it is a strong start, drawing you into what will be a very enjoyable 42 minutes. This is one Play Date you don’t want to ban.
22-25: The Laurie Berkner Band – Themed Digital Albums
I’ve written about Laurie Berkner already, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep telling you about her music, which should be on all of your playlists.
22) Pig on Her Head – This is, by far, our favorite one, for reasons which you should have already read about previously. If you didn’t, I’ll wait here and give you the chance to catch up.
23) Choc-o-lot in My Poc-o-lot – Is it Shakespeare? Is it Dr. Seuss? Or is it Laurie Berkner? Either way, it is fun, rhyming, silly, made-up joyfulness.
24) I Feel Crazy so I Jump in the Soup – Some more wackiness for you, this time with motions!
25) Rocketship Run – Ruby learned this one in preschool, and it has been a favorite for a long time. Now it’s back in the rotation once again, and we’re all singing along.
26-31: Recess Monkey – Hot Air
If you want to read my Recess Monkey review, click here. If you want to read which songs we like the best, do not click anything and just keep reading.
26) Paper Airplane – A song about a paper airplane so big, you can ride in it. Sounds pretty sweet.
27) Penguinese – I dare you to stop singing this one. Penguin perfection.
28) Hand Me Downs – There is some funkalicious jive happening in this tune about a kid who only gets to wear hand me downs. Get your groove on.
29) Get Your Ticket – The best part of this song is when I sing “Get Your chicKEN! Get your chicKEN!” and my kids yell “DADDY! THAT’S NOT HOW IT GOES!”
30) Oh, Lando – This is just brilliant. Han sings an upbeat tale of friendship. At least until he winds up encased in Carbonite.
31) Hot Air – This is the tune that plays over and over again on the DVD menu, and as such it has become ingrained in all of our brains. And that’s not a bad thing. This breeze of a tune can wind its way through my head anytime.
32-35: The Bazillions – On the Bright Side
If R.E.M. married The Barenaked Ladies and had a baby, and then decided to make music for that baby, you would suddenly have in your hands a copy of an album by The Bazillions. Their latest album, releasing on July 17th (and which I am legally required to disclose to you that I downloaded for free), is a collection of fun and educational tunes for the child who is beyond learning that the cow goes moo, but isn’t quite ready for full-on teenage angst. From songs about the water cycle, to contractions, you will learn something while having fun, which is clearly the best way to learn anything.
32) Super Hero Rock Band – I really want a painting of what this song describes. Hulk on drums, Spider-Man DJ-ing in the background, Superman playing bass, Wonder Woman singing, and Batman rocking out on a Fender guitar. Can someone please paint this and send it to me? And feel free to add in others to fill it out. Maybe Wolverine playing keyboard with his claws? Aquaman on the triangle?
33) My Teacher’s an Alien – The most BNL-ish song on the album (which is probably why I love it so much), this tale of excessive homework and eyes in the backs of heads leads to only one conclusion: the teacher is not human.
34) Outside – The most R.E.M.-ish song on the album (which is probably why I love it so much), this tale of playing outside is perfect for kicking off the summer.
35) Favorite Book – Ruby was complaining that she didn’t have her own theme song from among all of the songs on this list. Edward had “Tiny Destroyer.” I had “Dad is Takin’ a Nap.” What did she have? Well, she just needed a song about reading. To me, this song will always be my daughter.
So there they are, 35 of my kids’ latest favorite songs. I hope you will find something you enjoy from this. Because of the longer nature of this list, and because I will want to continue to highlight new kindie music more frequently, I am going to update this list a little differently. Rather than waiting for the list to fully turn over before posting a new one, I will let you know, album by album, song by song, when I add things to it. Maybe I’ll do two at a time, maybe even three, but I will not wait 35 songs before letting you know what we’re listening to these days. I hope this format works. If you like it, or like any of these songs, or have other songs you think we ought to be listening to, as always please leave a comment. Thanks, and have a terrific Tenor Tuesday!