Monday, June 3, 2013

lullaby mix

Monday, June 3, 2013

Almost from the moment he was born, my A has been exposed to the music that I adore.  He was literally birthed while "Clocks" was playing right next to my hospital bed. I will confess that I totally wanted to be one of those "cool" parents who only played hip indie tunes, historical classics, or simply my favorite songs.  Music meant for kids would play in our house, for sure, but it wouldn't be what A grew to love.  He would have diverse musical tastes! Soothed to sleep by Coldplay! Dance enthusiastically to the Contours "Do You Love Me"! Beg me to play "Taper Jean Girl" over and over, no matter how inappropriate.  Like many, many, pre-parental ideals, this has not exactly proved to be the musical environment around here.  There is a lot of Raffi happening, people, a lot of it at the ungodly, non-Raffi friendly hour of 6 am.  We get lots of requests for "Elmo's Song", even though A has never seen an episode of Sesame Street.  Slightly more tolerable are the audiobooks I've downloaded, though I'm pretty sure I never want to see Tikki Tikki Tembo again.

What I have thus far been able to control, however, is what I like to call the "lullaby mix."  A version of this playlist has been playing during A's naps since he was about three months old.  There have been a few cuts that didn't quite fit and a few additions, and now, it's just about perfect.  I thought it might be nice to have a record of it on this little blog of mine.

Sea of Love (Remastered), Cat Power, Juno Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.  One of the best moments in Juno comes in the scene just after the baby has been born.  It's quite obvious throughout the movie and at its conclusion that there is no question in Juno's mind that giving the baby up for adoption is the right and best thing for her to do.  To gloss over that and imply that it's not an incredibly tough decision would have been easy, but instead the viewers are witness to a short, perfect little moment wherein Juno quietly cries over her lost baby, comforted all the while by Paulie, the geeky, cross-country-running father of the baby.  Sea of Love is the song that plays during the scene, and it's always stuck with me.  

You Belong to Me, Carla Bruni, comme si de rein n'était. A pleasing cover of an old classic, appropriately slow and quiet for the nursery setting.  

You Got What I Need, Joshua Radin, The Rock and the Tide. You could probably pick any Joshua Radin song and insert it into a playlist suitably soothing for a baby.  He just has that kind of sound.  This particular title is a find from Grey's Anatomy, that spring of all that's emotional and heart-tugging in music.  

Hold You in My Arms, Ray La Montagne, Trouble. This was the song that played in my head before my little A was born.  I still love to hear it while I'm snuggling with him.  

Lullaby, The Dixie Chicks, Taking the Long Way.  The aptly named song is an incredibly sweet ode from a mama to her baby.  

The source of some excellent Alexi Murdoch songs, including both of the titles on my playlist.  

All My Days, Alexi Murdoch, Time without Consequence. Easily my favorite, and one of the few that have remained on the playlist since the very beginning.  I love the lyrics, particularly this line: "Now I see clearly, it's you I'm looking for, all my days..." 

Strawberry Swing, Coldplay, Viva la Vida.  I'm fairly confident that this selection is the perfect representative Coldplay song for a lullaby mix.  You might think the rhythm is a bit much for a sleeping baby, but the opposite is true.  It's an ideal song for rocking (a baby to sleep, that is).  

Dead Man's Will, Iron and Mine, Friday Night Lights Original Television Soundtrack.  Don't be thrown by the sombre title-the song is a beautiful treasure.  My lullaby mix could probably just contain it and "All My Days" on repeat and it would be perfectly suitable.  

Cocoon, Jack Johnson, On and On.  An oldie, but a goodie.  Like Joshua Radin, Jack Johnson has a singularly identifiable "sound" that can be heard in almost all of his songs, particularly the slow ones. He's definitely more diverse than Radin, but it's not exactly hard to pick his songs out of a lineup, if you know what I mean.  That is not to take away from his talent, however, and this mournful tune is one of his best.  

Devoted to You, Linda Ronstadt, Dedicated to the One I Love.  When A was a newborn, we used to listen to this whole album on repeat.  It's much more traditional than the other songs on this list as far as lullabies go, even though the majority of the songs are covers-"In My Room" and "Dedicated to the One I Love" are gems in their own right.  I'm going to make an extremely embarrassing confession right now which will illuminate why "Devoted to You" is my favorite from the album.  Most of my loyal few were teenagers in the 90's, so the names Kelly, Dylan, and Brenda shouldn't be unfamiliar to you.  I happen to vividly recall a certain episode of 90210, the beloved show that even intrigued guys with its melodramatic plots, when fratty Steve was dating high-maintenance Claire, who was performing in a campus talent show.  She wanted to sing "Devoted to You" because it's the song her long-lost (of course) mother always sang to her, and almost lost her nerve. Of course, gallant Steve (for those who don't remember, he was rather gallant when he had a decent girlfriend-remember Celeste?) came through and kept her from choking.  Anyway, ever since then, I've loved that song.  You can bet I'll never tell little A why it's on his playlist.  

Pink Moon, Nick Drake, Pink Moon (Remastered).  Possibly the best part of the baby shower thrown for me by my dazzlingly creative and thoughtful sister-in-law H was the party favor, a mix of tunes for sleepy time, each ensconced in a handmade light blue paper sleeve handprinted with the title and tastefully decorated with a Martha Stewart flair.  There are no conventional lullabies on the list-all of the songs are carefully selected, moody tunes, with artists as diverse as the Cowboy Junkies and Nina Simone.  I could have picked any of the songs to go on my own lullaby list, but this Nick Drake tune, which reminds me with nostalgic pleasure of The Shins, fits in best.  It's hard to believe it's such an old song.  

Raven, Jewel, Lullaby.  Believe it or not, my SH was the one who stumbled upon Jewel's collection of lullabies. Lullaby collections are kind of like Christmas cd's in the musical world-many famous artists have one.  Speaking of which, I don't know why Mariah Carey, the voice behind the BEST Christmas album, hasn't jumped on the lullaby bandwagon.  You KNOW she sings to Roc and Roe!  Despite the plethora of albums out there, they aren't all great (and this fact also applies to Christmas albums).  Jewel's lullabies are an exception, however, and are noteworthy because some of them, like this one, are original songs.  

Life on Earth, Band of Horses, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.  Why yes, I did include a tune from a Twilight soundtrack on my baby's lullaby mix.  Say what you will about the movies, the soundtracks are top-notch.  This song is particularly melodic and peaceful, despite its rather dark lyrics. No need to pay attention to those, though! 

Orange Sky, Alexi Murdoch, Time without Consequence.  Quite a few of Alexi Murdoch's songs have appeared on my list from time to time, but this is the one that garnered a permanent spot.  It might also be his most well-known, having been sampled in various films and shows, and is super long, but so dreamy and sweet.  

You Are My Sunshine (Pt. 2), Elizabeth Mitchell, You Are My Sunshine.  Elizabeth Mitchell has a solid reputation as a children's artist, and her more upbeat songs are great.  For my money though, I'll listen to this version of the old favorite any day over something more peppy.  I also adore "Crawdad", but it just doesn't seem right for sleeping.  

Let it be Me, Ray La Montagne, Gossip in the Grain. My brother loved this song, and I've always found it soothing.  It's a nice end to my playlist. 

Strawberry Swing artwork, courtesy

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