This weekend, I came across a company called Rockabye Baby. They create lullabys based on popular music so you can indoctrinate your child with your favorite tunes before he can even speak.
Not entirely sure I’m on board with stripping these artists of many of the qualities that make them relevant in the first place – which is what is necessary in order to make most popular music compatible with infants, but whatever. It’s a decent idea – nothing warms my heart like the thought of my son growing up to like the same music, movies, books and other assorted pop culture that I waste so much time obsessing over – but there’s just something questionable about the execution here, not the least of which is the fact that it doesn’t seem like the people at Rockabye spent too much time considering the lyrical content of some of their selections.
Of course, that’s because there are no lyrics . Words are too stimulating for your baby’s mush brain! What there is is an overabundance of xylophone, which – along with the “no lyrics” thing – serves to neuter the music. Such dilution is clearly – and understandably – the goal, especially when it comes to aggressive music from bands like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, AC/DC and Nirvana. All of whom have lullabized versions of their music on the Rockabye website.
Some of this music makes perfect sense for infants: the Beatles have a lot of songs that hardly need any rejiggering at all in order to be appropriate for a baby, and half of Coldplay’s output puts even ME to sleep. But others? Hmmm…
I don’t have a huge problem with the concept here. The focus is on melody, and it’s a fun way for a parent to introduce some of good music to their kid and avoid the Wiggles or Raffi or Jack Johnson and all that other insipid baby-aimed horseshit. But it’s got to be a little strange to walk into the nursery and hear a xylophone playing a soothing rendition of a song about heroin addiction. Right?
I’m not going to pretend I won’t consider buying one or two of these albums. And I see via a poll on their site that a baby-friendly rendition of “Free Will”, a song about the evils of organized religion by the humorless intellectuals of the Canadian power-trio Rush, isn’t too far off. That little ditty is sure to delight your budding atheistic nerd of a child.
All that said, the idea of using a poll to select the next album they infantilize is great, and I’m thinking of sending in a few suggestions of my own to Rockabye, as they clearly value consumer input. I have some valid questions, too.