How I Get My Kid to Like Cool Music

One of the cutest things ever is listening to a small child sing. It is precious. It is adorable. But let’s face it: there are only so many times one can hear “The Wheels on the Bus” before they start to feel slightly homicidal.

I made Nellie a Spotify playlist a few weeks ago and loaded it with her favorite Disney songs from Tangled, The Princess and the Frog, The Lion King, and a few other movies. She loved it so much, and it made me feel so happy to see her singing along each morning on the way to daycare.

And then I heard “When Will My Life Begin?” one too many times and wanted to dig my eardrums out with a bobby pin. So I got to thinking: how can I get my child to like cool music – the music I like? I decided I’d give the songs names that would appeal to her. Here are a few of Nellie’s favorite songs from my playlists, along with the “fun names” I gave them:

  1. Little Lion Man A.K.A. “The Lion Song”. Okay, so this might not be the most appropriate song for her to listen to (“I really fucked it up this time, didn’t I my dear?” being one of the lyrics), but it was one of the first songs I introduced her to that wasn’t sung by a chirpy-ass princess.
  2. Wake Up, Little Susie A.K.A “Wake Up Little Kitty”. Nellie is obsessed with cats. OBSESSED. She has this small stuffed cat I brought her from Chicago. One morning, she came to me and said, “Mama, tell this baby kitty to WAKE UP!” I started singing “Wake up, little kitty, wake up!”. Once we got to the car, I turned that song on and sang it like I just had and now it’s her favorite song to sing.
  3. These Boots Are Made For Walking A.K.A “A Song About Boots”. I told her it was a song about boots and started laughing hysterically at how silly that was. It worked.
  4. The Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In A.K.A “The Moon Song”. “When the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter lines with Mars” is the first line. So I told her it was a song about the moon. I also told her that her zodiac sign is Aquarius and that the song was pretty much all about her. Which might be a lie. It’s really about hippies and probably LSD.
  5. Brand New Key A.K.A “The Rollerskate Song” Told her it was a song about rollerskates. I’m not sure she even knows what rollerskates are, but she loves this song. It is kind of awkward, though, because all I can think of when I hear this song is that one scene in Boogie Nights. I’m also relatively sure that “I’ve got a brand new pair of rollerskates, you’ve got a brand new key, I think that we should get together and try them out, you see” isn’t REALLY talking about rollerskates and the key that goes with it. AMIRIGHT?
  6. Radioactive A.K.A “The Toothless Song” This one might be my most creative. Radioactive is a song by Imagine Dragons. Nellie loves “How to Train Your Dragon”, specifically the dragon Toothless. So I told her the song was about Toothless.
    I am a liar. The song isn’t about Toothless at all.
  7. Cocaine Habit This one has no alternate name.  She just started singing it one day. Again, not the most appropriate song but Josh and I love some Old Crow Medicine Show, sooooo…… Plus, you have to admit, there is something funny about hearing a three-year-old sing “sign on the door that says ‘no more dope’!”. Or is that just me? Just me? Awesome.

The downside to this, of course, is that once she fixates on a song she insists on playing it over and over and over. The fact that these songs are ones I enjoy make hearing them on repeat slightly more tolerable than the Disney songs, but I’ve about had it with the Everly Brothers and “Wake Up Little Susie”. LET LITTLE SUSIE SLEEP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. No more Little Susie.

What are your kids’ favorite songs?


Current Music Obsessions {Fall 2012 Edition}

It’s been a while since my last music post. I thought I’d share a few of the songs/artists I’m currently digging as the seasons shift.

Black Prairie, “How Do You Ruin Me?”

I got this song as a free download from my Starbucks app – which, by the way, you need in your life NOW if you don’t have it already – and was incredibly surprised at how much I loved it. The track is called “How Do You Ruin Me”, and it has such a unique and funky sound I just fell in love. Not to mention awesome harmonies.

Fun., “Some Nights”

This next song is one you have probably heard on the radio. Fun. burst into the Top 40 scene with their song “We Are Young”. It was catchy but got on my nerves quickly so I kind of wrote them off until I heard another track of theirs called “Some Nights”. It quickly became one of my guilty pleasures and made its way into my iTunes library, but then a friend of mine sent me a link to this video, which is a cover by the group Walk Off the Earth. I posted their cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” a few months ago and just like it, this cover threatens to be better than the original. The guest singer that’s with them, Julia Nunes? Her voice is like BUTTAH.

Old Crow Medicine Show, “Wagon Wheel”

OCMS is bluegrass/country/folk…. It’s an interesting blend. I caught this track from Pandora and loved it so much, I bought it. I have listened to some more of OCMS’s music and haven’t absolutely loved it, but this track? I love to crank it up and sing along at the top of my lungs.

The Avett Brothers, “Matrimony”

The Avett Brothers is another band that I’m not 100% fangirl on yet. I love some of their tracks, and others just kind of run together in sound for me. I think they’ll end up being a band I pepper into my iTunes for some variety when I pick out the songs I like. This track, Matrimony, is another one I love to blare and jam out to in my car.

Mumford & Sons (EVERYTHING, but really this one is), “Hopeless Wanderer”

Last but not least is Mumford & Sons – a band I’ve mentioned here before. Their newest album, Babel, just came out at the end of September and since it did I have been listening to it pretty much nonstop. The songs on this album give me chills, take me to another place, and generally make me music geek out. I like Babel more than their previous album, Sigh No More, and have a hard time picking out my favorite track. But if I had to choose, it would be this one – Hopeless Wanderer.

Those are some of the tracks that I’m listening to this fall. What are your current music obessions?

Man on Fire – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Happy Monday! I don’t have a lot to say today, so instead, I wanted to share my current favorite song. It’s called Man on Fire, and it’s by one of my current favorite bands, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros from their new album Here. This video and song makes me happy. It makes me want to grab everyone I see and make them dance with me. Enjoy!


A Bushel and a Peck

I come from a family where being musically inclined isn’t an option. You just are. Every single one of my aunts, uncles, and cousins (along with my dad, mom, and brother) are musical. Almost everyone plays an instrument and we all sing. Spontaneously. In 4 part harmony. To say that I was raised around music is an understatement. At family functions we wouldn’t say grace, we would sing it….. In 4 part harmony.

My grandma Nellie – my daughter’s namesake – was hellbent that I would sing harmony, by god. I can remember spending summer afternoons swimming in the pool with her (well. I swam. She floated in an inner tube) and having her teach me the harmonies to countless songs. I can still remember the very first song that I heard the harmony to:

Show me the way to go home, I’m tired and I wanna go to bed.
I had a popsicle ’bout an hour ago and it went right to my head.
Wherever I may roam, on land or sea of foam
You can always hear me singin’ this song. Show me the way to go home.

Yes, I know that shark. Thank you. But when I learned it I was like 5, so popsicle it was. Because teaching a child a drinking song is a little inappropriate. Once I heard the harmony to that song, I could just hear harmony. In high school, I would sing along with someone in harmony and they’d stop and ask me, “how do you do that?” to which I’d respond: “I just do. How do you not?”
I wasn’t trying to be a smarmy little snot, though in retrospect that’s what I was being. It was an honest question. The harmony is always there, and I can always hear it.

I sing Nellie a lot of songs. I sing her “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”, “Senor Don Gato“, and the aforementioned “Show Me the Way to Go Home“. In the way of love songs and lullabies, I’ve been known to croon “Baby Mine” (memorably about 2 weeks postpartum when I was raging with sleep deprivation and hormones, I sobbed so hard while singing her that song her hair was dripping wet from my tears) and “All the Pretty Horses“.

But the song that she has responded to the most – more than any other song I’ve ever sung to her – is one that her great-grandma Nellie taught me. It’s called “Bushel and a Peck” and when I sing it to her she stops and watches me and listens. It stops her tears, it quiets her whines.. It works magic like no other song that I sing her does. It’s so very simple:

I love you, a bushel and a peck.
A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck. A hug around the neck,
And a barrel and a heap. A barrel and a heap, and I’m talkin’ in my sleep about you..
About you!

There are more lyrics but I only sing her that part ‘cuz it’s the only part I remember.

I don’t know what it is about this song that intrigues her so, but I like to think that it’s just part of my musical blood running through her veins.. That a little piece of her great-grandma Nellie lives on inside of her. I think it’s beautiful and fascinating that my little daughter is so interested in the music that her namesake taught to me when I myself was a little girl. The connection makes me smile. I can’t wait to teach her all the songs that my grandma Nellie taught me.. The music lives on and I hope that my baby girl feels it in her soul one day like I do.

P.S. Imaginary internet cookie to anyone who knows why there’s a random picture of a shark in my blog post about my grandmother and harmony.



A Capella Geek

It’s no secret that I love music. It’s also no secret that I have a special place in my heart for a capella music. Not only do I sing in a women’s 4 part a capella barbershop chorus (and quartet), but I absolutely love listening to a capella music. I’m not talking Glee. I actually can’t stand Glee. It’s over-processed and auto-tuned singing and I am just not a big fan.

Music is a huge part of my life, and a huge part of my soul. I wanted to share some of my current favorite a capella obsessions!



Effington – Ben Folds

Rosanna – Exit 245
{Quality’s not great on this one. Check it out on iTunes to get the full effect.}

Fix You – Exit 245

A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square – Manhattan Transfer

Everything the Manhattan Transfer does is absolutely amazing. I’ve been listening to them since I was a kid, and I’ve recently started downloading their music on iTunes and to my delight, Nellie enjoys the upbeat songs they sing a lot!

There is something magical and powerful about people making music with nothing but their voices. I am so happy to be a part of an organization that lets me make beautiful harmony with other women with just my voice.. No piano, no drum, no external instrument of any kind. It’s an amazing feeling.

I hope that you enjoyed the songs I shared! I hate that the YouTube videos are so large, but I couldn’t think of any other way to post these songs!

What is your favorite type of music? Are you an a capella geek like me?

Sunday Music

I don’t have much to say today, so for my daily post I’m going to share with you all some of the songs that I’m really into right now. Some of them are a bit questionable, and if I went back in time and told my Classic-Rock-Or-GTFO 16 year old self that in 10 years I’d be listening to some of these songs, my 16 year old self would punch me in the tit.

Glitter in the Air – Pink
16 year old me would probably approve of this one. Also, I’m dying to sing this at karaoke.

Letting Go (Dutty Love) – Sean Kingston ft. Nicki Minaj
This might be one that 16 year old me would be OK with, but never admit to anyone that I liked it.

Say Hey (I Love You) – Michael Franti & Spearhead
Everytime I play this song I dance to it. It’s physically impossible for me not to dance. I think 16 year old me would have dug this song. They used it in Weeds during a flash mob (which I’m obsessed with seeing in my lifetime, by the way. OBSESSED.)

Check it Out – ft. Nicki Minaj
I’m actually pretty ashamed to admit that I like this song. But I can’t help it. I blast the radio when this comes on. 16 year old me would probably bitchslap me for liking this one. And WTF is up with Nicki Minaj being EVERYWHERE right now?! She’s in like, 4 songs on the radio right now! She came out of nowhere, I swear.

So anyway. Those are the songs I’m really into right now.

How about you? What songs do you love right now?

Cecilia: You’re a Big Whore

The other day while I was at work, the song “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel came on my Pandora radio. Cecilia is one of my favorite songs by the duo and I couldn’t help but dance in my chair and sing along. It’s just so upbeat, and fun!

Now, I have this really odd thing about me where I don’t really hear song lyrics. I mean, I hear them but I don’t really get them right away. I can learn all of the lyrics to a song, sing along to them for days, weeks, even years before I actually comprehend what the song is about. For example, the song Roxanne? Yeah, totally never realized it was about a hooker until I was about 23 years old. Fail.

Back to Cecilia. As I was singing along at work it hit me: Cecilia is a big whore. Paul Simon’s singing about Cecilia, and how she’s breaking his heart and shaking his confidence daily. That’s bad enough. What is Cecilia doing to this poor man that is so heartbreaking? We find out here:

Making love in the afternoon with Cecilia
Up in my bedroom (making love)

So you’re singing along, and  you’re all like “score! Good for you dude, Cecilia sounds hot.”

I got up to wash my face

Then you’re like “Ok, a little weird, who washes their face after sex?” but you still don’t think too much about it. Then, we get to the Big Whore part:

When I come back to bed, someone’s taken my place

Wait, WHAT? Okay so this guy gets freaky with Cecilia, he gets up to wash his face which takes what, all of THREE MINUTES? It’s a GUY, they don’t take all that long to wash their damn face. Okay so dude is gone for maybe FIVE minutes TOPS. You have to take into consideration that he’s probably naked so he’s most likely going to wash his face, pee, and probably shake his junk at himself in the mirror or something because guys like to do that. So he’s gone for five minutes and he comes back and there’s some other dude in bed with Cecilia. WHAT? Could she seriously not wait until Paul Simon like, left, to let someone else in bed with her? Nevermind that, WHERE WAS THIS OTHER GUY HIDING THAT HE COULD GET INTO HER BED IN THE FIVE MINUTES THAT PAUL SIMON WAS GONE?
Then you have to wonder what kind of freak Cecilia is to keep random men hidden in her room so she can just interchange one for the other in between sexual encounters.

Of course you expect Paul Simon to go into a fit of rage over this infidelity but no, he just keeps cheerfully singing about this bitch breaking his heart. If that’s not bad enough, he goes on to sing:

Jubilation, she loves me again,
I fall on the floor and I’m laughing,
Jubilation, she loves me again,
I fall on the floor and I’m laughing

DUDE, SERIOUSLY? She just let another guy into her bed WHILE YOU WERE GONE FOR FIVE MINUTES. This isn’t the kind of woman you wanna keep around! Sounds like maybe Cecilia’s been around town a little bit and god knows what kind of shit she’s carrying around in her ladybits. I’d run my ass outta there, dude.

But whatever, it was the 60s. Maybe that sort of thing was a lot more common back then.

Love Is All You Need

Nellie and mommy have the same favorite band.

(Dear Prudence) won’t you come out to play?

All You Need….

Is Love.

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
It’s easy.

Nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
It’s easy.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

Nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.
It’s easy.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

All you need is love (All together, now!)
All you need is love. (Everybody!)
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need (love is all you need)
(love is all you need) (love is all you need)
(love is all you need) Yesterday (love is all you need)
(love is all you need) (love is all you need)