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
15 / 50
The Bottle Let Me Down: Songs for Bumpy
Wagon Rides | Various Artists
The Bottle Let Me Down: Songs for Bumpy Wagon Rides’ Rankings
This smart and swinging compilation showcases 26 songs from artists on Bloodshot Records, a Chicago label perhaps best known as a home for wayward punk rockers with a country music problem. Mixing sandbox standards with countrified traditionals and a number of rootsy, kid-appropriate originals, the disc features alt-country luminaries like Robbie Fulks, Alejandro Escovedo, Kelly Hogan, and Split-Lip Rayfield.
These mostly upbeat numbers will have the little ones clapping and moving in two-step time, although some could also serve well on a naptime playlist. Older kids will find plenty to sing and laugh along with, like Jane Baxter Miller’s “On Top of Spaghetti,” Asylum Street Spankers’ “I Am My Own Grandpa,” or Kelly Hogan’s “Rubber Duckie.” A couple of tunes get into low-level gross-out territory, but nothing beyond winks at bodily functions.
Parents of any musical persuasion looking for a break from declawed children’s pop will appreciate the variety and humor on display in these recordings. Country, bluegrass, and rockabilly fans in particular will dig the top-notch playing and clever takes on old favorites, like Rex Hobart & the Misery Boys’ melancholy version of “It’s Not Easy Being Green” and instrumental arrangements by Jon Rauhouse. Several of the songs (including Escovedo’s “Sad and Dreamy” and Trailer Bride’s album-closing “Lullaby”) are flat-out beautiful for any genre.
Get it from Amazon »