Tuesday, March 14, 2006

rethinking children's songs

I have read a number of posts around the blogsphere lately about good children’s music and I have a number of favorites myself. But instead, I thought I would share an album worth hating song by song. In my book, a slight few of the songs are fine and worth listening to but the sappy sweet versions of even those are hardly bearable. The rest are downright bad and some of the lyrics are truly frightening. You might say that given the title it couldn’t have been good so why am I even bothering? Jason brought it home from the library with a stack of other music and I let it play too long before I realized its creepiness. I don’t think it helps that I hadn’t heard most of these until now and this is my attempt to exorcise it from my psyche.

Walt Disney Records: Children's Favorite Songs, Vol. 3 : 23 Classic Tunes by various artists

2. Shoo, Fly, Don't Bother Me- “Shoo, fly, don’t bother me for I belong to somebody.” WTF is that about?

3. Oh Dear, What Can The Matter Be?- Basically, Johnny promised to bring whomever is singing the song a bunch of dumb crap (including “a trinket to please me”) from the fair and he’s been gone a long time. Oh dear!

5. Hush, Little Baby- So the daddy is going to fulfill the child’s every material wish and if that fails, at least she’ll be “the prettiest girl in town.” And we all know how important that is.

6. Did You Ever See A Lassie?- Uh, nope. Don’t think so.

7. Grandfather's Clock- The grandfather gets a clock on the day he was born and it stops ticking on the day he dies. They keep singing “Tick, tock, tick, tock. His life seconds numbering. Tick, tock, tick, tock. It stopped short, never to go again,
when the old man died.” Over and over again. It freaks me out.

8. Clementine- Clementine is the daughter of a miner and she drowns and he is so sad he kills himself so he can be with her. It includes this little gem, “There grow roses, ‘mongst the posies
 fertilized by Clementine.” Again, freaks me the fuck out.

9. Michael, Row The Boat Ashore- Apparently this was a rowing song sung by black slaves, which was interesting to research a bit. This version happens to have a freaky little girls high-pitched voice in it that’s creepy like the song of kids voices they used to play in graveyard/alien kid scenes in “the x files.”

10. Alouette- Funny French. A jaunty little song from children to a bird about all the ways in which they are going to pluck it.

11. With Apologies To Mother Goose- Ok, fairly entertaining, probably the best thing on there (and that’s not saying much).

Ok, I’m starting to bore myself and probably my one reader so I am going to skip the rest of these and finish with the one most insane “children’s song” of all times, #14.

14. Billy Boy- This one really gets me. It a call and response sort of thing between a dude and some young girls. He has been to see/seek a wife and they ask him questions about how pretty is she and can she bake a cherry pie. Of course she could and apparently she has ringlets in her hair and a dimple in her chin. The clincher is that after ever line he says, “she’s a young thing and cannot leave her mother.” Uh, yuck. You don’t ever really figure out how old she is and there’s some number nonsense at the end that may mean she’s not that young but still I find the whole thing the yuck!


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