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
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You Are My Little Bird | Elizabeth Mitchell
You Are My Little Bird’s Rankings
Elizabeth Mitchell’s warm, gentle voice makes me long to be a child again just so I could grow up listening to her. Even if you don’t own any of her albums yet, you’ve certainly heard her voice if you’ve spent any time listening to children’s music made in the last few years – she’s had recent guest spots on recordings by Dan Zanes, Ziggy Marley, and Dean Jones, as well as on several compilations.
It’s hard to choose a single album of hers to recommend most highly, so here I’ll follow the lead of the Smithsonian Institution, which thought her so self-evidently classic that it signed her to its storied Folkways label as one of the first contemporary artists in years. Completing a trilogy with her earlier self-released efforts, You Are My Sunshine and You Are My Flower, the 2006 album You Are My Little Bird was her first for the label, and it is one of the most beautiful recordings ever, for children or anybody else. There are traditional folk tunes, there are original songs, there’s a Velvet Underground cover, and it all feels like a friend with a voice like warm honey is sitting playing them just for you. Nothing cutesy is going on (even on a couple of tunes that feature kids’ voices singing along) and there’s no effort to hit particularly “childish” notes with words or music – just 17 good songs, purely and simply presented.
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