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
20 / 50
Meltdown | Justin Roberts
Justin Roberts may be one of those artists you have to see live to truly understand the appeal he has to his fans. Along with his backing band, the Not Ready for Naptime Players, Roberts relentlessly plies the kids’ stage circuit, inciting near riots of freak-out dancing in the crowds of toddlers he pulls in. Whatever it is – the well-deployed audience participation, the giant-shoed trumpet player/percussionist – little kids seriously respond to what Roberts and his band are putting out there. With a live act like this, it’s not surprising that Roberts is one of the best-selling children’s artists out there.
On Meltdown the music is a smooth-edged, peppy guitar pop, with deftly applied vocals and brass and keyboard accents. Roberts’ songs are almost all sung from a kid’s point of view (except for one from a koala’s), exploring a range of situations and feelings, from imaginary play to sibling rivalry to needing glasses. He does throw in some musical winks and nods for the adults listening along, but for the most part this is purely kids’ stuff. Though the initial appeal will be for the movement it’s sure to inspire, the insightful lyrics will stand up to ongoing listening and exploration as kids get older.
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