Thursday, January 24, 2008

Choosing My Daughter's iPod Playlist

So, since my mom decided to give my five-year-old daughter Marley her very own iPod Shuffle for Christmas, I was faced with the challenge of choosing which songs from my music library I want my five-year-old daughter listening to.

This, by the way, is no small challenge. I'll admit that not all of the music I own is appropriate for someone her age, so I have to be careful to not pick songs that would contain something wrong for her age (no Sublime, RATM, or 311). Furthermore, some songs are beyond any hope of redemption--meaning that I really shouldn't own them, but can't quite bring myself to remove them from my collection (most of my gangsta rap). And then there's the biggest issue for me: influencing her future tastes in music. My parents gave me my love of The Beatles, the Eagles, CCR, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, and Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young. The first three I mentioned are still three of my top four favorite artists.

So, how to determine what's okay and what's not? I did it on a song by song basis. It took me about 3 hours. Seeing as how I named her after Bob Marley, I felt that I could put almost any Bob Marley song on the iPod (as she already digs any reggae music that I've played for her, this was easy). I gave her all the great ones from Legend, but then I put on some of my favorites "Concrete Jungle," "Burnin' and Lootin'," and "One Drop." Some of those songs are about social injustice and strife. Nothing wrong in a child realizing that not everything in the world is peachy keen everywhere. I try and explain to Marley why sometimes people do evil things that we hear about on the news. She is no dummy. Who better to teach her via song than Robert Nesta? I don't think she's quite ready to let Zack de la Rocha and Tom Morrell teach her. So reggae is generally safe. She's also got some Toots and the Maytals "54-46 Was My Number" and "Pressure Drop," a little Burning Spear, some Steel Pulse, and even some Sinead O'Connor. I even gave her Marley's "War" to listen to, so that when she's older, the mantra "Until the color of a man's skin/is of no more significance/than the color of his eyes/Me say, War!" will make sense to her.

I gave her songs by the following groups (not all are listed):

Arrested Development, Cake, Fastball, Collective Soul, Barenakes Ladies, CSNY, ELO, Fatboy Slim, Ace of Base, Edwn McCain, DNA featuring Suzanne Vega, Allison Krause, Weezer, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Queen, They Might Be Giants, R.E.M., Wyclef Jean, and every Disney Song we own.

It was really fun. She likes Weezer's "Keep Fishin,'" CCR's "Lookin' Out My Backdoor," and "What Time Is It?" from the High School Musical soundtrack.

I love my kid. Hopefully I can get her to like all the other stuff I like. I just hope she avoids some bands that I can't stand. Lucky for her, her dad and her paternal grandfather have (had) excellent tastes in rock-and-roll. And, if she inherits her maternal grandfather's love of country music, well, I guess that's alright too (as long as I don't have to hear it).

However, I did leave off Peter Tosh's "Legalize It."

My favorite music (for the record):

1. The Beatles
2. Bob Marley and the Wailers
3. The Eagles
4. CCR
5. Collective Soul
6. Maná
7. Weezer
8. Jack Johnson
9. Barenaked Ladies
10. Pearl Jam
10. The White Stripes
10. Toots and the Maytals
10. 311
10. Sublime
10. CSNY
10. Tom Petty

I, a high high, a high high, Dig a Pony, well you can celebrate anything you want/yes, you can celebrate anything you want.

I do.


chattypatra said...

May I suggest some tropical music other than reggae? (Not that I have anything against it.)

How about all of Juan Luis Guerra's oeuvre? Shakira's ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones? is one of the best records ever made. Really.

Also, Rubber Ducky is a must for a 5 year old. Heck, I still love it!

If you want her to learn her boleros, she needs to listen to Luis Miguel singing them. It's never too early for romance. Ha!

I'll think of more later.

P.S: Don't you like Elvis?

chattypatra said...

P.P.S: How come you don't leave comments on my blog? I think you might like the pictures in my latest post. Check them out.

Amanda said...

just put some classical music on there and then you don't have to worry about the lyrics! marley is creative enough that she can just make up her own! :)

Norman said...

Mac, you are the man who introduced me to Led Zeppelin (II), and they aren't on here? For shame.
BTW have you seen this:

Erin said...

How about some kids songs? She might like that! haha. She won't be little for too long.

Mac said...


and every Disney Song we own.

That's fully one-third of her playlist. She has plenty of kid's songs. Perhaps too many, given that we own all the Disney's Greatest Hits CDs.


I put Nathan Milstein playing "Bach's Sonatas for Unaccompanied Violin" on there.


Sometimes I forget to.

swampbaby said...

I don't even have an iPod...