Are "Folsom Prison Blues" and Jane's Addiction's "Summertime Rolls" Appropriate Lullabys for Children?

Categories: Miles-tones
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Despite our collective knowledge of many arcane forms of music here at Rocks Off, we have noticed that we are remarkably deficient when it comes to lullabies. This deficiency which has been compounded by our complete and utter refusal to succumb to the twisted evil that is most children's music as we've set forth on the journey of parenthood.

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Children's music? Really? Whoever determined that kids, and by virtue of proximity, adults, should be subjected to the likes of Raffi and "It's a Small World" is either a sadist or drumming up future business for the mental-health industry. But, unfortunately, this music is like sugar to a child, leaving them wanting evermore once encountered. So we've adopted an avoidance strategy.

We still want to be good parents, which clearly involves ensuring the little ones are soothed at bedtime, so the primary enabler of this strategy is an arsenal of good songs that we can sing to them at night. If we're feeling like uber-diligent parents, we may even draw upon a section of this arsenal that includes cautionary tales, capturing a "three-fer": bedtime ritual, musical education and moral lesson.

Top of the list? Jane's Addiction, "Summertime Rolls": "Fell into a sea of grass and disappeared among the shady blades." Come on, how perfect is that? You may want to refrain from mentioning the band's full name until much later in life, however.

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Next? Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence." For something a bit more upbeat, you can always choose "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy)," but there's some serious truth being dropped in "Sound of Silence" which can help school a kid about independent thought while still easing them to sleep. Just watch out with that one, because when they start questioning authority, it's you they'll question first.

Then we come to "Hello, I Love You" by The Doors. It's like a full linear story set to music, which can satisfyingly replace the 823rd reading of Goodnight Moon, plus it has the word "love" in it. Children love love.

Following on the Doors' heels is "Summertime," preferably by Billie Holiday, although the "by whom" is kind of moot since you're doing the singing. It's soothing, languorous and well within range for even the most vocally challenged of us.

And then we have Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues." It's definitely on the cautionary-tale side of things, but we know every damn word and, besides, kids love trains.

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Although this list goes on forever, and we'd love for you to add to it, we'll select a final for today, one of the all time greats, "The Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie. That piece of vinyl was one of the first objects in existence we ever loved, and, damn it, we refuse to relegate it to the diabolical world of children's music. You still watch the movie sometimes, right? Well, so sue us, we still listen to that album.

Ultimately, we guess some things just transcend genre. Maybe some will think poorly of our choices, but parenthood is about creativity and adaptation, and in our view, this journey is much too long for intolerable tunes.


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