Kids Like Music, too!

7 04 2010

I once saw Kimya Dawson perform in Anacortes, Washington on the day she was due to deliver her first child. She gestured to her medicine-ball-sized belly and warned the audience that it might be a short set. She played her jangly anti-folk with as much fire and raunch as ever, and gave birth to her daughter Panda Delilah a week later.

You may  know Kimya Dawson from her Billboard-topping work on the Juno soundtrack (Remember this? Aww. I wish I was a pregnant teenager). However, she has been around in the Pacific Northwest music scene pretty much forever, starting with her band The Moldy Peaces. Along with weird folk harpist Joanna Newsom (who more just sounds like a child), Dawson’s music tends to fall into a love-her-or-hate-her dynamic. If you think it sounds a little like children’s music, you may now feel vindicated. Dawson has released a CD of children’s music on K Records, called Alphabutt.

The album is catchy and filled with jokes, without being too cutesy. It’s a hard line to straddle with kids’ music. Dawson does great, maintaining her trademark straight-talk approach with lyrics like “I is for eyeball / J is for jammies /K is for kid fart /L is for loud and long farts.” Another highlight is “We’re All Animals” about body hair.

On the other end of the indie spectrum, Sandra Boynton, author of over forty kids books, has put out a CD of childen’s versions of songs from the ’50s. Highlights: title track, sung by Steve Lawrence (side note: does his hit song “Go Away Little Girl” creep anyone else out?), a pretty bizarre “Speed Turtle” by Brian Wilson, and songs by Neil Sedaka, Gerry & The Pacemakers, and B.B. King. If you’re a fan of doo-wop, clap-alongs and harmonies, this could be your go-to sing-along CD for those long drives.

Finally, Putumayo presents Rhythm & Blues. Because parents are people too. And when you’ve listened to so many songs about animals and the alphabet that you find yourself singing “roll ovvvver, roll ovvvvver” to yourself in the grocery line-up, it’s time to get some new music.

– Mayana C. Slobodian

To get Kimya Dawson & Friends’ Alphabutt, Sandra Boynton’s Blue Moo, Putumayo presents Rhythm & Blues and the Kerplunks’ Walk On, email me (Subject: Kids music) and tell me your toddler’s favourite song.
Congratulations to reader Kate, who writes:
My daughter says, “Mary Poppins songs.” And my son’s favorite song is “Chim Chiminey.” At least that’s what my daughter says…

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