After reading through some of my older posts, I came to the shocking realization that I never told anyone about my current musical fascination with Rockabye Baby.
What is Rockabye Baby? Quite simply, perfect music for us Gen Xers who are starting to have kids while maintaining a healthy quota of self-referential irony. (and pretty darn perfect for those of us without kids as well.)
More accurately, Rockabye Baby titles are lullaby versions of rock/punk songs from the 70s to the present. Each album centers on a specific band, and about 12 songs are rearranged lullaby fashion (no vocals).
I came across them while searching the library site for Green Day and saw one of the titles was "Lullaby Green Day". After an initial "what the hell is that" reaction, my interest was piqued and I checked it out.
And lo, it was good.
So good, in fact, that I searched the library for other titles. Here is a sample of bands who have allowed BabyRock Records to create lullaby versions of their songs:
AC/DC, Bjork, Coldplay, Black Sabbath, Bob Marley, Coldplay, Led Zepplin, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, No Doubt, Pink FLoyd, Queens of the Stone Age, Radiohead, Beach Boys, Beatles, the Cure, Eagles, Pixies, Ramones, Rolling Stones, Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, and U2. And these are just the ones that are available through the Seattle Public Library.
I played a sample of some of these CDs to a colleague of mine who has very young children and he was really interested. "This is a hell of lot more interesting than the crap I normally have to listen to with my kids!"
Of all the songs/bands I've heard, most work quite well. In the Luneray School of Musical Criticism, that means that the lullaby version is interesting and enjoyable on its own, yet still retains the essential core of the original song. Recognizable, but different. In my humble opinion, of the ones I've heard, the best ones were AC/DC, Green Day, Led Zepplin, and Radiohead. In fact, the Radiohead versions are very good and I think that album stands on its own merits and doesn't need any ironic indulgence. The Nine Inch Nails didn't quite work because Trent Reznor's songs apparently really resist breakdown into tri-instrumental arrangements with a strong melody.
And speaking of irony, it's hard to not enjoy a lullaby version of Metallica's "Enter Sandman"--a song about a child's nightmares. Rockabye Baby indeed.