Guest Post: Jesse’s Top 10 Parenthood Songs

by Ashley on August 11, 2011

I’ve asked a few friends and fellow-bloggers to guest post while I am getting acquainted with Hudson–though I know I’ll enjoy sharing updates and photos from time to time. Jesse and I have been friends since college and I’ve always trusted his opinion when it comes to music. These days, I look forward to his round-ups of the year’s best music (along with regular, pithy reviews) on Quickcrit for filling gaps in my collection. When Hudson was born, Jesse (a father himself to nearly one-year-old Miles) sent me a couple songs as congratulations and I was so excited when he agreed to share more parenthood songs with all of you…

There are plenty of songs written for or about parents, but there aren’t a lot a great songs about being a parent. Likely, because being a parent and a professional musician isn’t often compatible, though obviously it’s not impossible (Check out this great Paste article on musical moms).

Oh, there is a ton of music marketed to parents, from the dulcet elevator muzak of the Rockabye Baby!  series to the sugar-frosted Kidz Bop series; however, neither of those are particularly enjoyable for parents. So far, if it has a good beat, my son couldn’t care less about the lyrics, so I might as well put on songs I actually enjoy. During our early morning rock n’ roll breakfast ritual, I make coffee while Miles dances along in his high chair to garage rock or southern soul. He especially likes the new Features and the Black Joe Lewis mixtape. Coincidentally, so do I.

The best parenthood songs are the ones that transcend the subject matter and can be enjoyed by non-parents, future parents, and parents alike. Although I appreciate the classics, like John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy” or Cat Stevens’ “Father And Son,” my personal favorites are all more recent.

These are my top 10 parenthood songs:

The Ark – “Father Of A Son”

A defiant anthem from the perspective of a gay man planning to be an amazing dad.

Andrea Echeverri – “A Eme O”

A mother’s celebration of her own metamorphosis through her newborn daughter.

Colin Meloy – “Wonder”

A new dad awestruck at the “weird and wonderful” process.

The Weepies – “Be My Thrill”

This one is actually about her partner, but enough of the lyrics could be about an infant. “And I miss all of the joy you kill/But I love you still/Be my thrill” rang true for the first few weeks (months) of parenthood.

I’m From Barcelona – “Can See Miles”

Another song not actually about kids, but my selective hearing has made it about my son, Miles.

Animal Collective – “My Girls”

An all around great song for praising the simple family life. Also good for dancing with a toddler.

Billy Bragg & Wilco – “Hoodoo Voodoo”

This one captures the playful nonsense overtaking the living room.

Loudon Wainwright III – “Daughter”

Nostalgic reflection with a shot of dry humor.

Badly Drawn Boy – “A Minor Incident”

Beautiful melancholy sentiment pulled from a surprisingly good Hugh Grant movie.

Drive-By Truckers – “Outfit”

In true Trucker form, the song offers funny, tender, and sound advice.

[top image via]

Thanks, Jesse! Any songs you would add to such a list?


Teryn August 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm

This is great! I am definitely going to buy a few of these to add to the rotation at my house. Although I mostly do play music that I love for my kids, I have fallen for a bunch of the children’s music that They Might Be Giants puts out, especially the album “Here Comes Science.”
Anyway, great post!

John August 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Great list, and thanks for the grooveshark… that song daughter is great.

Jesse August 11, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Good call. I haven’t heard their kids albums yet, but I bet kids would like some of their regular songs too. I might have to go unearth my copy of Flood, if only to see if Miles approves of “Birdhouse In Your Soul.”

Ashley August 11, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Pulp’s “A Little Soul” is the one that keeps coming to mind for me… def for parents more than for little ones (though it’s on the sad side)…
Oh–and Talking Heads’ “Stay Up Late” might be on my list.

On a side note, I just heard that Belle & Sebastian came out with a kid’s album.

Jesse August 11, 2011 at 11:34 pm

I really like the chorus to a “A Little Soul.” Not sure how I missed that one since I am pretty sure Ian and Larson played This Is Hardcore to death.

Michelle August 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I love Wonder by Colin Meloy! Another good one is Long Haired Child by Devondra Bernhardt

Amy August 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm

After I had my first son, (and again when I had my second son) I “heard” the lyrics to love songs in such a different way! These are some that make me tear up when I think of my boys…

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” – Roberta Flack
“No One’s Gonna Love You” – Band of Horses
“For Once in My Life” – Stevie Wonder (great duet with Tony Bennett too)
“To Make You Feel My Love” – Bob Dylan (love Adele’s version too…)
“Swept Away” – The Avett Brothers
“God Only Knows” – The Beach Boys

I could go on and on, but these are my favorites. Good luck and congrats on that sweet baby boy!

Ashley August 29, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Thank you, Amy! Doesn’t falling in love always make things different? 🙂

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