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Songs My Kids Like

February 20, 2010

Greetings, ladies and germs, welcome back!  I’d like to take this opportunity to bring you inside the life of your humble blogger on a random Friday night.  Well, the night won’t actually be random, it’s the Friday night previous to the writing of this post.  But anyway, I’m sure you’re all imagining a night filled with live music, alcohol, and partying all night long with good friends and the kinds of lovely honies you can only pick up at the Exit/In in Nashville.   Alas, dear reader, my weekend nights are filled with fun and adventure, but not in the way you might imagine.  Since my wife oftentimes works on Friday and Saturday nights, I get to spend my weekend evenings with my favorite folks in the world (other than her), namely my four children, who are aged 7, 6, 4 and 2. 

This past Friday, the brood found itself on a relatively long trek back from Mamaw and Papaw’s after an impromptu dinner and in a last-ditch effort to keep all of them awake until we got home, Daddy Caleb got to play DJ and spearhead a sing-along like no other that my oldest likes to call “Dance Off”.  This is where we play and sing along to a bunch of the kids’ favorite songs, all the while dancing like mad in our seats.  Because I’m sure that by now you’re dying to know (and because I’d like to distract you from the mental picture of me dancing), I’ll share with you the songs that are guaranteed to bring screams of joy from my illustrious offspring.

We started off the night with what has become the theme song for Dance Off, Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”.  I think it says something about my twisted parenting skills that my oldest son knows every word this song (and Gnarls Barkley’s “Transformer”, which unfortunately didn’t make the playlist last night).  Believe me, nothing gets the party started in the old minivan like this 1983 Grammy-winning opening track to Rocky III, which also doubles as the LSU fight song.  Well, OK, I don’t know if it’s actually the fight song for the Bayou Bengals or not, but shouldn’t it be?  I mean come on, Tennessee’s got “Rocky Top”.

Next on the list was Scottish punksters Los Campesinos’ “You! Me! Dancing!” off of their debut album, Hold On Now, Youngster…  You’re probably aware that Los Campesinos just released a new album on Arts & Crafts called Romance Is Boring.  While in my opinion Romance  is a step up from last year’s We are Beautiful, We are Doomed, the Campesinos crew still hasn’t made an album better than Youngster or a song better than “Dancing!”.  In the words of my 6 year old, “When I hear that song, my feet just move themselves Daddy!”

Following up this tune was Passion Pit’s 2008 masterpiece “Sleepyhead”, which might just be my favorite dance track of all time.  It seems Passion Pit is suffering a Vampire-Weekend-like backlash in the blogosphere right now, but Manners is still a terrific album in my opinion and “Sleepyhead” is, for me at least, their signature song.  Michael Angelakos, if you’re reading this, hold your head high!  You make a vanload of toddlers very, very happy on a regular basis.

Although it might seem a bit cheesy, there’s no better song to get you in a good mood than the Jackson 5’s “ABC”.  From the beginning, I dare you to listen to this song without smiling and singing along.  If my daughter can’t do it, neither can you.  And if you listen to “ABC” on a mixtape, you know what song HAS to come next, right?  You got it, the 3rd Bass classic “Brooklyn Queens” off the classic album Steppin’ To The A.M.   As my grandma oftens says, there ain’t nothin’ that ails ye that MC Serch can’t cure.   No diggity, no doubt.

Following all this craziness, you’d expect us to slow down and take a break, but no!  The minivan never sleeps and neither do we, so we enjoy Sigur Rós’ “Gobbledigook”.  Now I know Sigur Rós isn’t known for the most upbeat songs imaginable, but this opening track on their 2008 release Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust is a whirlwind of sound.  This gem was followed up by “Surprise Hotel” by L.A. band Fool’s Gold, who I just can’t seem to quit mentioning on this blog (I’m secretly hoping they’ll find this on their Google Alert and offer up an interview.  Uh, I guess that’s not much of a secret anymore).  And the magical mystery tour ended with on of my favorite Stevie Wonder songs of all time, “Sir Duke”.  This song is one of the many gems on the final album of Wonder’s amazing early-seventies run of masterpieces, 1976’s Songs in the Key of Life.  Long live Little Stevie.  

Still dancing to the sweet horns of “Sir Duke”, we reached the hacienda and the Dance Off ended.  All the youts were happy and so was daddy as we turned what could have been a pretty boring ride into a musical adventure.  In the immortal words of my four year old:  “Daddy, that trip would have been funner with popcorn.”  Later!

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