Now that we’re listening to my old iPod and CDs again, our morning commute fare has turned away from popular hits to the obscure and hip. Although I often lament the insufferability of hipsters, I confess I share musical taste with them (us? agh! identity crisis) and my kids are getting their dose of B-sides and 90s indie college rock early and often. Here are their favorite hipster tunes, to which they rock out in their temporary tattoos and toddler stretch skinny jeans*. (My friend R. from Small Things Grow will recognize a few of these from a digital mixtape she shared with me before Robin was even born.)
“Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” by The Flaming Lips
They wouldn’t be hipster Oklahoman offspring if they didn’t have a favorite song by the Lips. I have yet to get into Soft Bulletin with them, but that’s more of a summer album? I think Buggin’ will be a fave in about six months. For now, they just get extremely excited during the line about taking lots of vitamins, and Robin can sing backup to this. It warms the cockles of a jaded mama’s heart. When I was pregnant with Robin and just emerging from intense morning sickness, I used to play this album and talk to my little companion. It was part of our very early, in utero bonding when I was feeling very tender and unsure of myself. For that reason, I love this.
“Little Black Submarines” by The Black Keys
Never satisfied by the “popular” cut from a a critically acclaimed album by a blues-rock band made up entirely of white dudes, this is Robin’s preferred track from an overall fucking awesome album that I played to death last winter. She’s preoccupied by the dark imagery (“A broken heart is blind? Mom, what does that even mean? Mom, why is he trying to call his friend?”) and loves the part that transitions from brooding acoustics to incendiary bridge. Which is cool. (Ugh, just noticed that the radio cut of this track is extremely hacked up and totally sucky. BUY THE ALBUM. ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTE!)
“Alligator” by Tegan and Sara
This is a Holly pick. She will walk around singing “over you, over you” all day long. Pretty much every T&S song is catchy and listenable, but this one gets bonus cute kid points.
“Young Folks” by Peter, Bjorn & John
I always type that Peter, Bjorn and Mary. They love the whistling!! And the bongos.
“Girl” by Beck
This may have to do with the fact that I listened to this nearly non-stop in the first few hours after Holly was born. I’m not sure why but I remember that it was just her and me snuggling on the couch while Brian and Robin took a nap and I waited for my Mom to arrive that afternoon. I was so very enthralled by my girl. Anyway, my first exposure to this song was a version that appeared on 8-bit mix, Game Boy Variations, which is also very cool, but we love the bouncy mariachi in this song, and the girls love to mumble their own mondegreens of the chorus (sun-eyed girl? cyanide girl?).
“Pretty Ballerina” by the Left Banke
Come on, it has the word ballerina in it like fifty times. No brainer. No hipster mixtape is complete without at least one British Invasion cut, preferably a lovelorn, orchestral ballad that features the line “I asked for her to dance and then she obliged me.”
“I Hate Camera” by The Bird and the Bee
This has a sort of generally sparkly sound to it with lots of bah-bah-bahs, and Holly really likes the constant repetition of “Don’t take my picture!” This is a child who screams “STOP LOOKING AT MY FACE!!” when she is upset or embarrassed, so there’s a connection.
“Deceptacon” by Le Tigre
Thank god they love an angry punk feminist rant against a boring, stupid (hipster) man. I am happy to put this on repeat and need to buy more Le Tigre.
“All I Need” by Radiohead
Radiohead is kind of responsible for my marriage, and you could argue should form the soundtrack to every event in my life since 2001. It’s a backdrop to everything from my courtship to my wedding, to writing my stillborn comps, to the lullaby CD we play every night for the girls. We’ve played a lot of songs for the girls and this one is Robin’s favorite (maybe tied with “No Surprises” but that one feels too [sn]obvious). Why?? Why does she love this practically infrasound, low-key and frankly creepy song that also manages to be kind of hot? Damn youuuu Thom York. I also love this song. Really, just put on In Rainbows From the Basement (which is available in its entirety on youtube) and listen to it for the next fucking month. You’re welcome.
“Let’s Get Out of this Country” by Camera Obscura
I dare you not to love this breezy, melodic song by a Scottish band with the word obscure basically in the name of it.
What hip stuff should I be downloading now?
* My kids will actually not wear jeans. They usually rock out in leggings and dresses and sparkly ballet flats. But not jackets. Never ever jackets. They don’t have glasses yet, either.