September 1, 2014

One More Cup of Coffee

I am BEYOND thrilled to be participating in...


It's back as a once a month Tuesday, instead of a once a week Tuesday... but still! MORE MIX TAPES!!!!

My Skewed ViewThis month's mix tape theme is the Soundtrack Of Your Summer. This is a bit of a cop out for me, as my summer actually did have a soundtrack. And it actually is a mix tape. And no, it has nothing to do with Guardians of the Galaxy.

Starting at the beginning of last school year, I built a list of songs that my kids loved listening to. In the car, mostly. That way, I'd know what music to put on when somebody suddenly started having a meltdown. There are a few songs that didn't make the official list, because of fairly obvious reason, but once the list was long enough to fill up a CD, I burned it. And it's been playing in our car pretty much on a loop as we traveled all summer.

To give you an idea of how effective this disc is, last weekend we went to a birthday party in the distant 'burbs. RH screamed halfway home, until I remembered to put on the disc. As the first few notes of the first song played, she became instantly silent. And then, in a perfectly calm voice, she announced, "I happy now!"

Here, for your listening pleasure, is the soundtrack of my summer. Enjoy!

The kids fell in love with this song over the course of the year, on days when we drove downtown to pick up M from work. I would sing a few bars of the song as we crossed the bridge over the Chicago River, and eventually they stopped believing me that it was a real song. Well, now they know every single word.

This song is on a mix M and I like to listen to on a semi-regular basis, so the kids fell in love with it during our drive to Minnesota for Christmas last year. As much as they love it, SI refuses to sing along. "The words go too fast."

I put this track on a mix for myself once upon a time, and I LOVE IT. So of course I played it in the car once in a while. Well, SI fell in love with it. She wanted it, on a loop, every time we got in the car. For months. It's still her favorite song. Actually, she just generally loves Bob Dylan covers, her second favorite track being "Forever Young," as performed by Poppa.

The first of several Beatles tracks. Another one I sang as we went about our business around town. I would sing it to RH in order to get her to hold my hand as we crossed the school parking lot. Again, the children didn't believe it was a real song until this mix came into being.

Every morning last year, as we drove to preschool, I'd surf through the local pop stations, looking for what the kids and I called "bouncy songs." These were songs the kids could happily bounce in their seats to, through the whole six minute drive. This was one of their two favorite "bouncy song."

There are several songs that, starting pretty much at birth, RH has responded really well to. The first song (and one that's not featured in this list) is "Monster" by Eminem, featuring Rihanna. That's one that M nixed for being "inappropriate." Whatever. RH also loves her some Men At Work.

I don't think there is was child alive in America in 2014 who didn't memorize at least half of the nonsense words in this song. And unlike most music that falls into the category of "kids songs," this one is actually a brilliantly crafted pop song that doesn't terribly grate on the adults in the vicinity. So it made the list.

Really, the songs RH loves have a common theme. They're high tempo, with a repetitive guitar or bass riff. I have NO complaints about her love of this song. I love this song, too. So RH gets two giant thumbs up from me on her taste in music. (Yes, Eminem included.)

One of the kids' favorite movies is "Yellow Submarine." When I started making the mix, I put every single track from the movie into it, and slowly whittled away the ones they liked least. They love this track, not exactly sure why, but it's delightful and makes everybody happy, and I'll never turn my nose up at The Beatles.

When I was a kid, my dad used to play this on the guitar. And starting when the kids were very small, I'd sing it to them every time it rained. Sometime last year, DD fell in love with it, so the original made its way into the mix.

So in case there was any question that my kids are, in fact, ridiculously awesome. Let's recap. SI's favorite song is a Dylan cover by the Turkish equivalent of Madonna, RH's favorite song is by Stevie Nicks, and DD's favorite song is Peter Gabriel's magnum opus. It comforts me to know that, all other things aside, I'm at least doing SOMETHING right.

This song came on randomly one winter morning, and SI stopped eating to ask me about it. She requested it three days in a row, and it made the list, and then RH fell in love with it. That up tempo, repetitive riff thing again. It's a great song, and these kids have fabulous taste.

Truth be told, we tried and tried and tried to find a download of the Maccabeats' cover of this song, "Candlelight." But this version was also one of our favorite "bouncy songs." And so the kids are perfectly happy with the original. Plus, I dance like a maniac behind the wheel and other moms in other minivans stare with unbridled awe and shame at my killer moves.

No explanation required.

Another of RH's favorite songs. It always cheered her when it came onto the radio, and so it made the list. Bonus? It's one of M's favorite Billy Joel tracks too, so while I'm recovering from belting along to "Let It Go," M picks up the singing slack and sings this like he's about to win the world championship of karaoke. I love that man.

I am thoroughly a child of the 90s, and my children are more than minimally exposed to the great songstresses of the Lilith crowd. This is their favorite Sarah McLachlan track, I'm not sure why. I always had a thing for "Possession." Then again, they ARE four years old, and I imagine a lot of the subtext is going over their heads.

Like I said, it's one of their favorite movies. I would rather have kept "Nowhere Man" on the list, if it were me, but RH really appreciates this song. And hearing her scream, "Yellow Submaween!" over and over again is awfully cute.

Starting back when we used to have our post-breakfast dance parties, the girls and I listened to a lot of swing. This is a favorite of theirs, and has few enough overt sexual innuendo for M to deem it acceptable for the children.

Another song RH fell in love with after it came onto the radio one day. Repetitive high tempo riff... plus, Mommy sings along and rolls down all the window and blasts the music. And who doesn't love that?

Another song I used to sing them myself, now with a mix tape backup. This one is a CLASSIC. I have no idea how many versions of it I'd heard, but until Madeline came around, I'd never thought of it as one I could really sing. I lover her so much.

Yes, you probably recognize this track from previous mix tapes. The girls love it as much as I do, so it got onto their CD.

Another one my father sang to me as a lullaby, and now I sing it to the girls as a lullaby. When I found this version, my heart kind of exploded a little bit. I put it on the list for the girls without their having ever heard it, and now they adore it. Lucky me, they still let me sing in "the bedtime way," when it's time to sleep.

Okay, fine. You're adults. You can deal with it. Here's the bonus track that ran through my head every time this mix played, despite M trying to keep it away from the kids. You're welcome.


  1. Yer killing me! There are so many songs I don't even know what to say! Except yes to everything but Sarah M. Sorry.... But other than that I either have/have on a mix for Isaiah/or want on a mix for Isaiah every one of these songs!
    Just two nights ago I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom with all of my Cake songs on repeat on the iPhone videotaping Isaiah jumping over my head. He kept saying, "Mom, stop singing and pay attention!"
    I am so glad to have you back! I missed your ridiculously long mixes!!!

  2. I didn't know anything of Jose Feliciano's besides Feliz Navidad- thanks for sharing! I grew up knowing "It's raining,it's pouring...", so it's cool to hear it remixed into something else!



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