For Father’s Day: Jesse’s Top 10 Parenthood Songs

When I was in the hospital having just delivered Hudson, my friend Jesse (a new parent himself at that point, to a nearly one-year old son), sent me a couple of songs as a congratulations. We’ve been friends since college and I’ve always trusted his opinion when it comes to music, so it was a much appreciated gift. In fact, he and his brother and a bunch of their friends still round up their favorite music each year (along with some pithy reviews) on Quickcrit, and I still check in from time to time to round out my collection. 
Soon after he sent those, I asked if he would contribute more recommendations to round out a list for the site I was writing at the time, called Babymine. It seems appropriate to resurrect it for Father’s Day…

There are plenty of songs written for or about parents, but there aren’t a lot a great songs about being a parent. Likely, because being a parent and a professional musician isn’t often compatible, though obviously it’s not impossible (Check out this great Paste article on musical moms).

Oh, there is a ton of music marketed to parents, from the dulcet elevator muzak of the Rockabye Baby!  series to the sugar-frosted Kidz Bop series; however, neither of those are particularly enjoyable for parents. So far, if it has a good beat, my son couldn’t care less about the lyrics, so I might as well put on songs I actually enjoy. During our early morning rock n’ roll breakfast ritual, I make coffee while Miles dances along in his high chair to garage rock or southern soul. He especially likes the new Features and the Black Joe Lewis mixtape. Coincidentally, so do I.

The best parenthood songs are the ones that transcend the subject matter and can be enjoyed by non-parents, future parents, and parents alike. Although I appreciate the classics, like John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy” or Cat Stevens’ “Father And Son,” my personal favorites are all more recent.

These are my top 10…

The Ark – “Father Of A Son”

A defiant anthem from the perspective of a gay man planning to be an amazing dad.

Andrea Echeverri – “A Eme O”

A mother’s celebration of her own metamorphosis through her newborn daughter.

Colin Meloy – “Wonder”

A new dad awestruck at the “weird and wonderful” process.

The Weepies – “Be My Thrill”

This one is actually about her partner, but enough of the lyrics could be about an infant. “And I miss all of the joy you kill/But I love you still/Be my thrill” rang true for the first few weeks (months) of parenthood.

I’m From Barcelona – “Can See Miles”

Another song not actually about kids, but my selective hearing has made it about my son, Miles.

Animal Collective – “My Girls”

An all around great song for praising the simple family life. Also good for dancing with a toddler.

Billy Bragg & Wilco – “Hoodoo Voodoo”

This one captures the playful nonsense overtaking the living room.

Loudon Wainwright III – “Daughter”

Nostalgic reflection with a shot of dry humor.

Badly Drawn Boy – “A Minor Incident”

Beautiful melancholy sentiment pulled from a surprisingly good Hugh Grant movie.

Drive-By Truckers – “Outfit”

In true Trucker form, the song offers funny, tender, and sound advice.

Any songs you would add to such a list?

Happy Father’s Day to three best fathers in my life—Aron, my dad, and my father-in-law! I hope it’s a wonderful weekend for all of you. 

P.S. A few of the reasons we’re so lucky to have Aron, written down on his first Father’s Day. And a Father’s Day Gift Guide from the past that might still prove useful—either as inspiration in-store or with same-day-shipping today.


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