Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Rockabye Baby!

Not too long ago I was scouring Amazon's MP3 section to find some lullaby songs to download to my iPod that we could play in Adam's room at night while he sleeps (the speaker set to which the iPod is connected is an old set of desktop computer speakers that I had stored away; the set includes a cubical subwoofer whose presence may be a first in the history of baby nurseries) I'm amazed right now to think that in another ten years that setup will most likely be as relevant in technological terms as Mother Goose on 8-track.

I did eventually settle on a good CD of largely instrumental versions of classic children's songs and that seems to have worked out well so far. All's well that ends well.

The interesting sidebar to the pursuit of slumber-inducing-or-furthering music is the set of children's music that I was thoroughly amused and impressed with but did not buy.

That would be the Rockabye Baby! set of albums that take many of the most popular rock combos from the 1970s to 1990s that kids of that era (now parents) loved so darn much and converted their songs to toddler-friendly instrumental versions.

Nirvana, Metallica, Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, Pink Floyd - all the most influential bands are there, with their songs safely stripped of any lyrical messages about drugs, insanity, sexual frustration, and their crunching metal riffs and driving drum beats replaced with tinkly piano and xylophone.

I've previewed the albums of all of the bands that I like and have to say I'm really impressed with the production - all of the songs are quite recognizable, just as if they were part of a Sesame Street remix compilation suitable for young'uns. That said, only the Radiohead album in my list would really make a suitable selection for kids asthe songs of bands like Metallica and Tool have too many dark minor chords as their backbone to sound like a soothing nighttime lullaby, even if filtered through instruments normally reserved for Muzak.

If anything, the albums might be a worthwhile purchase for the parents - I could see myself enjoying a more laidback version of my favorite heavier bands as I braved the slow commute to work or while slogging away on a project at work.

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