Top 50 Baby Music Albums
Humans are hardwired to love music. It holds a place in us that almost nothing else can reach. As anyone who has seen a grin of delight spread across a listening baby's face knows, there's just something simple and profound about our relationship with sound. And while it's true that the littlest babies don't much care what's playing, as time goes on, they start to listen, move, and sing along (suddenly making half our old music collection off limits for the next 16 years). Luckily we live in a fertile time for kids' music, with rereleases of classic recordings, scores of talented newcomers making charming records, and seemingly every third rocker from the '90s inspired to settle down and create great children's music of their own. Read More ↓
For Babble's first Top 50 Baby Music Albums, we chose recordings that could grow up with babies rather than becoming obsolete as soon as the babies are old enough to crawl away from the stereo. This also meant we stretched the definition of "baby" into the toddler years. Since you may be hearing some of these songs fifty, a hundred, a thousand times, we chose with parental sanity in mind and included a category for the best albums for adults that also work for babies. With music so intimately wrapped up with our emotional lives, we're sure to have made choices you'll disagree with, so feel free to nominate any gems we missed. -Colin Murphy
21 / 50
A Life of Song | Ella Jenkins
A Life of Song’s Rankings
Ella Jenkins has been singing and educating about children’s music since the 1950s. On this 2011 release, her 29th for the Smithsonian Folkways label, she leads groups from two Chicago elementary schools through well-known traditionals and spirituals as well as songs from her own childhood on Chicago’s South Side. She performs some of the songs on her own with a guitar accompaniment and on others leads the children in call-and-response singing or gently cues them with the next verse. Jenkins’ clear and patient instruction makes it easy for little ones to follow along, and her obvious love of what she’s teaching will make them actually want to.
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