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Posts Tagged kid songs

Music for small ears, Part III

It took me a while, but I’m back to talk about the third section: Cool Kid Songs.  In case you couldn’t tell by this category’s name, it’s also my favorite of the groups.

I have to have a quick aside first, if you don’t mind.  One of our kids’ music cds has a version of “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song).”  I’ve heard that song more times than I can say over the course of my life, and yet I just really listened to it for the first time last week.  I know it might sound stupid, but I turned to my lovely wife and asked, “So they’re picking bananas at night?”  “What?”  “They go home when daylight arrives,” I said.  “I guess so then,” she replied while nodding.  I always thought of it at a happy “sing in the sun” type of song celebrating the day (o).  Instead, I guess it’s more of a “I’m tired of picking these fucking bananas all night so hurry up and tally me banana so I can get some rest” song.  Tally me banana, indeed.

Ok, back to the Cool Kid Songs.  A few years before we had children, a guy I worked with made me a copy of a cd called “For The Kids.”  Even being childless at the time, we listened to the cd and really liked a lot of it.  It had artists we dug, including Cake, Guster, and Barenaked Ladies, not to mention songs by Sarah McLachlan, Darius Rucker from Hootie and the Blowfish, Sixpence None the Richer, and the lead singer of Five For Fighting (with an incredibly catchy song called “The Hoppity Song”).  The songs were a mix of known kid songs, Muppet songs, and ones I didn’t know.  In short, it was great.

As a dad, I appreciated these songs much more.  Instead of hearing kids (or fake kids) telling me that they’re happy and they know it for a tenth time, I could choose to rock out to groups I like with songs they’d like.  The same is true with the “Curious George” soundtrack by Jack Johnson.  If you like Jack Johnson’s music, it’s just like getting a new cd of his with the added benefit of your kids probably liking it too. 

When we found out that the Barenaked Ladies had an entire album of kid songs called “Snacktime!,” we got it the very next day.  It’s awesome.  They sing about food, frogs, pirates, likes and dislikes, trees, allergies, and erasers.  Some of the songs could’ve easily been put on their non-kid albums and I wouldn’t have thought twice about them.  And just in case it wasn’t already completely up my alley, they have a song at the end called “Crazy ABCs” in which “a is for aisle,” “g is for gnarly,” “t is for tsunami,” etc.  My favorite is after saying “q is for qat,” Ed tells us that it’s a perfect Scrabble word because it’s a Q word that doesn’t require a U after it.  I laughed especially hard at that since my friend Lisa and I had just been playing “qat” against each other in our Scrabble-type game and enjoying its U-lessness.  “Aren’t your kids a little young for that?” you might wonder.  Well, yeah, but that’s not the point.  The songs are entertaining, and since they make me sing along and dance around for them, they’re exponentially more entertaining to them too. Win-win, baby, win-win.

One more thing to add before I wrap up this month-long series: lullabies.  How can lullabies be cool?  How about if they’re lullaby versions of Beatles songs?  What about U2 songs?  What if I told you that there are lullaby versions of Green Day and Metallica songs?  Pretty damn cool, no? 

So while we still listen to all three categories of songs in a given day, this one is obviously my favorite.  In fact, I think I’d devote a whole chapter to it in the book I’ll probably never write.  It would be about how to maintain your spousal relationship and the primary aspects of your personality after you have kids.  I was thinking of calling it, “How to Have Sex with Children,” but something tells me that might not go over well.  I guess not all wordplay is automatically good wordplay.  Shucks.  I guess I’ll have to give that some more thought.

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Music for small ears

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As I look through my posts so far on this website, I feel like I’ve written more about music than anything else.  If I had to guess, I’d say the second most common theme might be my kids.  Therefore, it was only a matter of time before I wrote a post about the music to which my kids are listening.  I think I can break it all down into three categories: Classic Kid Songs, Songs That Might Be Classics But I Didn’t Know, and Cool Kid Songs. 

When it comes to Classic Kid Songs, I find that I hear them a little differently than I did as a kid.  Much like with my Lyrical Breakdown posts, there are new meanings or angles in virtually all of them.  For example, I said to my lovely wife a couple of days ago, “Ya know, I’d be pretty pissed off if I were that doctor.”  “What doctor?” she asked (and rightfully so).  “The one who keeps telling that mom that the monkeys shouldn’t be allowed to jump on the bed anymore.  He needs to transfer that client to another physician because she clearly isn’t listening.  Oh look, another head wound from letting your monkeys do exactly what I told you not to let them do five f’n times already.”  She gave me a look that I’m pretty sure meant, “I love/am concerned that you think like that.” 

Along the same lines, I have no idea how someone plays Knick-Knack.  Maybe I missed that day at recess, but it seems to be a pretty versatile game.  It can apparently be played on a shoe, on a knee, with some sticks, etc.  Ok, buckle in for a second because I’m about to blow the door off this one – I just looked at the lyrics on Wikipedia, and I’m more disturbed than ever.  In the order of least-to-most problematic:

3.  There are 20 frickin’ verses to this song?  That was overly ambitious (as evidenced by the horrible rhymes of “thirteen” with “curtain” and “fourteen” with “autumn”).  Let’s try to forget those ever happened.

2. In verse number seven, the old man plays Knick-Knack “up in heaven” or “on the way to heaven,” depending on how you know it.  Either way, has the main character been dead the entire time a la “The Sixth Sense” and we never realized it?  Who’s this creepy kid playing games with a deceased old man for twenty verses?

1. Oh boy, the creepiness goes both ways it appears.  Looking at the lyrics, “This Old Man” should probably be called “This Pervy Ghost.”  I still don’t know what Knick-Knack is, but the old/dead man plays it on the narrator’s thumb (or tongue, as a scarier alternate lyric says), his shoe, and his knee to start the song.  The pedophile’s getting more daring going up to the knee, wouldn’t you say?  Well, in verse five, there’s an alternate lyric of playing this “game” on the speaker’s thigh.  And in verse nine, he’s on the kid’s spine.  I’m just glad that there are no numbers that rhyme with “uvula” or “anus,” because I’m pretty sure the old man would skip to those numbers as quickly as possible.

Crap, I had no intention of spending that long on one particular song.  To summarize, I don’t really get or like that song anymore.  But do you know who loves that song?  The dog.  That dog gets a bone every single verse (before the old man mysteriously “rolls” home – is he an obese pedophile ghost?).  Good dog, now go learn how to report your owner to the authorities. 

I’m going to stop here for now.  I went a little overboard, so I’ll save the second and third categories for a later date.   If I ruined “This Old Man” for you, I don’t apologize in the slightest.  But if I got it stuck in your head for the rest of the day, I do feel a little sorry about that.

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