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
24 / 50
Selections from the album Leave Your Sleep’s Rankings
The former 10,000 Maniacs singer’s trajectory into the children’s realm is a little different from that of many of her musical colleagues in that what she’s trying to do here is certainly something unusual. For Leave Your Sleep, her first album since 2003, she set some 26 children’s poems to her own musical compositions, adapting texts from nursery rhymes and lullabies as well as renowned writers like E. E. Cummings, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Ogden Nash. The music reflects similarly diverse sourcing in folk traditions across the world, but is very well-played in every case.
This is a concept album first, meant to explore childhood rather than to be something made for children, and it’s one of the most interesting things going on lately with respect to music for children. But like many conceptual pieces, it is rather long and not everything works, so a shorter (by ten songs) set of “selections” from the double-disc album was released at the same time. As this edited version is more manageable and more immediately appealing to younger kids, this is the one we’ve linked to. But if you want to get your toddler warmed up to eventually do battle with Joyce and Proust, go ahead and get the full version. Above all, though, you have to be able to deal with a lot of Merchant’s voice to make this listenable at all – if not, this record will be sheer torture no matter how much you like the idea.
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