Five Albums You & Your Kids Will Both Love

Don’t suffer through Kidz Bop on repeat. It’s not worth it. Kids can appreciate all kinds of music, including albums by contemporary artists. These five albums get high points for sing-along-ability, clear vocals and solid melodies to keep your kids dancing on the living room rug, singing to themselves or happily driving with you in the car.

1. They Might Be Giants, Here Comes Science

Any of TMBG’s albums could go on this list, bu this particular 2009 album from the kings of all-ages crossover music joy comes in a CD/DVD set and features 19 science-themed songs on topics like the solar system, evolution, rainbows, photosynthesis and basic physics. And it’s all set to TMBG’s signature catchy-yet-unique melodies and variable, upbeat time signatures. The videos are adorable, too.

2. Weezer, Weezer

Okay, some of the ideas in Weezer’s early songs might be a little adult-themed when you examine them post-adolescence, but Rivers Cuomo has a way of obscuring his lyrics enough to make these albums ultimately very kid-friendly. They’ll love the rock-out guitar sections in “Say It Ain’t So” and the weirdo opening arpeggios and “woah-oh-ohs” in “Undone — The Sweater Song” from the self-titled album (1994). Just get ready for another round of the chorus of “Buddy Holly” stuck in your head…and in your kids’ heads…

3. The Muppets, Muppets: The Green Album

In perhaps the greatest collaboration mix known to man, The Muppets have lent their classic songs for interpretation by artists like OK Go, Alkaline Trio, Andrew Bird, and My Morning Jacket. The result is a surprisingly edgy and lovely The Green Album (2011). Highlights include The Fray’s “Mahna Mahna”, a sort of jazzy, clappy version of Animal’s old favorite, and Amy Lee’s ethereal, trippy “Halfway Down the Stairs”.

4. Kimya Dawson, Alphabutt

The talented, sweet-voiced folk singer Kimya Dawson created this 2008 album for kids using a plethora of great instruments including kazoos, kid pianos and her signature acoustic guitar, and a chorus of kids and adults. The title track “Alphabutt” begins “A is for Apple, B is for Butt, C is for Cat, D is for Doo-doo, E is for Elephant-doo”…which gives you an idea of the freewheeling and body-friendly lyrics. But the album is loving, too, with title tracks like “I Love You Sweet Baby” sung from a parent’s perspective on a full, fun day.

5. Billy Jonas, What Kind of Cat Are You?, Happy Accidents

Here is an artist who targets a kid audience, but produces truly sophisticated and enjoyable music. What Kind of Cat Are You? has that happy sound that can verge on sappy, but the beats are great and the lyrics completely original. Happy Accidents is just great music; it stands on its own two feet with clear melodies, an impressive range of instruments, and Jonas’ crisp, expressive voice.

Other musicians your kids might love: The Beach Boys, Green Day, Daft Punk, Del Shannon, Lady Gaga, Gorillaz, Coldplay

Happy listening!