The Longest Shortest Time

11 Songs You Should Play for Your Children Before They Turn 5

Jacob-guitar-square-3Remember Anne, way back from episode #1? And remember how her son Jacob hated lullabies, but it turned out it was just because music was so stimulating to him that he couldn’t handle hearing it as he was trying to fall asleep?

Well, Jacob is 13 now, and he’s still into music. He plays guitar (Anne says he’s even better than she is!), and even performs sometimes (see left). I asked Jacob to put together a playlist for us, and I was so psyched when he said yes. May I present to you the eleven songs Jacob thinks you should play for your kids before they turn five. Surprisingly, many of the songs on this list are ones I think a lot of us were listening to around Jacob’s age and older. Have a listen; rock out with your kid. See why these songs made Jacob’s list below.

1. Snow (Hey Oh) Red Hot Chili Peppers | 2. Here Comes Your Man The Pixies
I chose these songs for their opening guitar hooks that will inspire kids to groove along with the music—and these hooks are musically much better than those you hear in a typical top 40 pop song. The earlier kids hear quality music, the better.

3. My Name is Jonas Weezer
There’s a sharp contrast in this song between the gentle guitar opener and the more driving sound that follows. Kids will be lured in by the sweet teaser and then rock out.

4. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea Neutral Milk Hotel
It’s time in the playlist for kids to hear a happy little indie jam—with some horns and moody sounds tossed in to surprise their ears.

5. The Man Who Sold the World Nirvana
So, all kids gotta know Nirvana. And this is a Bowie cover. Need I say more?

6. Cherub Rock The Smashing Pumpkins
Snare drums. Guitar groove. Power chords. Solid vocals. I like to think my mom danced around the kitchen with me to music like this.

7. House of Cards Radiohead | 8. Where is My Mind??? Pixies
Kids need to hear this kind of music experimentation before they get too old to be acculturated into thinking it’s weird.

9. Chicago Sufjan Stevens
This song is still experimental but more sweetly melodic. This could be a killer lullaby.

10. Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect The Decmberists
Here’s a 21st century song that borrows from Dylan and the like, connecting good music past and present. Little kids need to feel where music comes from.

11. R U Mine? Arctic Monkeys
I’m ending this playlist with a song that’s really for the parents. Your kids will rock to this music in ten years, and you can be the cool moms and dads who know it.

Got an idea for a Playlist for Parents? Tell us.

Top photo: Richard Frank