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Top 10 Songs Inspired By Babies (That Make Jay-Z's Ode To His Kid Worse Than It Is)

So, Beyonce and Jay-Z had a baby, and true to self-indulgent celebrity form Jay-Z recorded and released a song in honor of that baby before the placenta was even cold. Which might seem odd to you and I if my husband had taken off to a recording studio while I figured out what the hell to do with our brand new squawling offspring, I think that I’d have been more than a little put out* but let’s face it: they’re artists. They’re special. They get these creative urges and they just have to give in to them, you know?

*(That said, I did blog about my son’s birth before I could even stand up in the maternity ward, so. Pot, kettle.)

So it is that songs about how blown one’s mind is by one’s own offspring or even other people’s offspring are not at all uncommon. Sometimes, they’re even good. Jay-Z’s is not good it is, actually, really very bad (it contains the line, “you’re my child with a child from Destiny’s Child.” Really.) but there are quite a few lyrical tributes to babies and children that are very good. Herewith, ten of what I believe to be the very best such tributes (a list that I was tempted to title, Top Ten Songs Inspired By Or Written For Babies Or Children By Preening Grown-Ups, but worried that that was too snarky, because I really do like these songs. ‘Isn’t She Lovely’, these songs are not.)


  • Daughter (Loudon Wainwright) 1 of 11
    Daughter (Loudon Wainwright)
    This song got a lot of exposure when it was included on the soundtrack to the movie Knocked Up, but I totally loved it before that, you guys. Because, seriously, it's just a perfectly lovely song. His ‘Rufus Is A Tit Man', about his son and breastfeeding, is also awesome, but I don't know that I'd put it on a shower playlist. Although maybe I would. That would probably be a cool shower.
  • Just The Two Of Us (Will Smith) 2 of 11
    Just The Two Of Us (Will Smith)
    Okay, so Will Smith didn't actually write this song, so we can't really say that it was inspired by his kid. BUT: the masterful Will Smith does such a crazy-fine job repurposing this song as a parent-to-child serenade, it totally counts.
  • Beautiful Boy (John Lennon) 3 of 11
    Beautiful Boy (John Lennon)
    By John, for his wee Sean. Any of you who have snuggly little boys or snuggly big ones if you play this song while hugging them and kissing their hair your heart MAY burst. So. You've been warned. Proceed with caution.
  • Sweet Baby James (James Taylor) 4 of 11
    Sweet Baby James (James Taylor)
    Again with the heart bursting. Also, ovary bursting. Man, these songs are a hazard.
  • Lullaby For Wyatt (Sheryl Crow) 5 of 11
    Lullaby For Wyatt (Sheryl Crow)
    This song makes me feel like I'm actually less of a mother for not being able to pick up an acoustic guitar and compose odes for my babies. I mean, I COULD pick up a guitar and compose odes to my babies, but they would sound pretty bad, and would therefore be pretty useless as lullabies. So. I will maybe just let Sheryl take this one.
  • Lullaby (The Dixie Chicks) 6 of 11
    Lullaby (The Dixie Chicks)
    More perfect mothers composing perfect lullabies for their babies. I'm going to try to not let this get to me. (Seriously, though, this is a sweet, sweet song. And I don't even like contemporary country music. This song transcends genre bias, which is why it really does deserve its place on this list.)
  • Original Of The Species (U2) 7 of 11
    Original Of The Species (U2)
    Click here to watch
    This song, according to song legend, was written by Bono in honor of The Edge's daughter, and, like, totally made The Edge cry. Which, really, is that surprising? Wouldn't you cry if Bono wrote a song for your kid? I would. I cry at this song, and it's totally not for my kid. So.
  • Gracie (Ben Folds) 8 of 11
    Gracie (Ben Folds)
    I have a serious mom crush on Ben Folds. That is, I have a crush on him, as a mom, in the way that I have a crush on Jennifer Garner as a mom, which is to say, I totally want to go on playdates with him, because, gosh, doesn't he just seem like the most awesome dad? Not least because of this song, which almost makes me wish that I had named one of my kids Gracie, just so that I could play this for them. Jasper would have made a good Gracie, I think.
  • Sail To The Moon (Radiohead) 9 of 11
    Sail To The Moon (Radiohead)
    Okay, so some people think that this song is about politics, which, fair enough - this IS Radiohead that we're talking about. But I much prefer the story that holds that Thom Yorke wrote this for his son, Noah. Because if this isn't the sweetest sort-of political postmodern lullaby out there, I don't know what is.
  • Stay Up Late (Talking Heads) 10 of 11
    Stay Up Late (Talking Heads)
    The Talking Heads, singing truth to power. If I'd written songs about my babies in the early months of their lives, they probably would have been about sleep deprivation, too.
  • Dear Jessie (Madonna) 11 of 11
    Dear Jessie (Madonna)
    Click here to watch
    This wasn't written for or inspired by one of her own children - 'Jessie' was the daughter of one of her collaborators - but still: it's one of the sweetest child-inspired songs, like, ever. And I didn't feel right including 'Papa Don't Preach' here, okay? (And yes, I know that this is #11. I didn't have a choice. One ALWAYS makes room for Madonna.)

 


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