A playlist for my children aged 20 months

Next week, the twins will hit the big 2-0. 2-0 months that is.

Over the last week, I’ve been reflecting on those 20 months and how the twins have changed and grown. One of the sweetest developments has been their dancing, which has evolved from static bum-waggling to exuberant twirling around the front room (followed by an inevitable fall and tears).

Though they will largely dance to anything, there are some songs in their short lives which have stood out. Some of them have been the soundtrack to key moments and milestones, others are just great to bop to. It is not all songs I like or necessarily want to play to them; they are a little too young to be subjected Da-da-da’s Smiths records yet. Here is the twins’ playlist at one year and eight months.

1) ‘After Hours’ – The Velvet Underground

just-after-birthThe Velvet Underground are one the greatest bands of all time. Despite being critically acclaimed and hugely influential, too few of my friends (many whom are very into music) own anything by them. What I love about them the most is that their work has barely aged. Whilst much of what contemporaries such as the Beatles recorded sounds old, the Lou Reed/John Cale led group’s output sounds like it could have been released last week.

This beautiful little song, which is almost a lullaby, is one of the first songs I sang to the twins during their first few nights in hospital.


2) ‘Step’ – Vampire Weekend 

Cillian is very much a mummy’s boy. If Ma-ma-ma is in the room, Da-da-da barely gets a glance. I played this surreal song to the twins as result of the lyric ‘Everytime I see you in the world, you always step to my girl’, which seemed apt for my wife-monopolising then two month old. It was first piece of music I had seen them react to, both going wide-eyed and attentive when the drum beat kicked in.

3) ‘Uptown Girl’ – Billy Joel 

Whether colic exists is matter doctors debate. For a good period in Autumn 2015 though, Saoirse would scream and cry for an hour between 5pm and 7pm. The only way to calm her down was to take her into a darkened room, hold her upright and rock her and sing to her. One night, having ran through my usual repertoire of Neil Young records, ‘American Pie’ and ‘Hallelujah’, I reached for my pathetically small, wannabe-Hipster vinyl collection and pulled out Billy Joel’s classic hit on 7-inch. The effect was startling. Our little uppity girl calmed down and listened intently. Channelling John Peel, I decided it was such a good single we would play it twice. It worked just as well second time round.


4) ‘All About That Bass’ – Meghan Trainor 

For reasons unknown, this became Cillian’s changing song when he was around six months old. If you sang this and bicycled his legs on the ‘I’m bringing booty back’ bits he would happily let you change him without complaint. Sometimes as parent you just have to not question things.

5) ‘The Hokey Pokey’ – Baby TV

Not to be confused with popular children’s song ‘The Hokey Cokey’, Baby TV’s ‘Hokey Pokey’ is totally different. Honest.

This video was first one to precipitate the aforementioned bum-dancing. Baby TV is a mind-numbing chore to watch, but this short video still makes me smile.

6) ‘Flux’ – Bloc Party 

This is more like it. A song from university days, ‘Flux’ used to remind me of watching MTV in shared houses with dirty living rooms and even worse kitchens. Now it reminds me of the twins eating.

When Cillian and Saoirse first started weening, every spoon and bite was a battle. To distract them from the horror of solid food, we tried playing them music whilst they ate. Why this song came to my head I do not know, but it worked. Both bum-danced their way through every bit of mushed vegetable we gave them. (Incidentally, this song has one of the best videos of all time and is well worth checking out even if you are not a fan of indie-rock.)


7) ‘Go Jetters Theme’ – Banks and Wag 

If you have not seen CBeebies’ Go Jetters, stop reading this article, make your way to any device with iPlayer and watch it now. One of the few genuinely enjoyable kids TV shows out there, the adventures of Ubercorn and co are funny, interesting and beautifully animated. However, none of this would have mattered if it was not for the show’s funky disco soundtrack. The twins love this song to the point where they howl when it comes on.

8) ‘Shake If Off’ – Taylor Swift 

I am not a fan of Taylor, but came to listen to this song due to this very funny article. Since then, I’ve come to appreciate it and the twins love it. I particularly like to sing it with altered lyrics when one of them refuses to eat their dinner (‘[Twin eating] is gonna play, play, play, play, play/[Twin refusing food] is gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate/Daddy’s just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake/ I shake it off, I shake it off’)

9) ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’ – Beyoncé 

By the time the twins reached one, I wanted to encourage them to add some basic dance routines to their performances. What better than Beyoncé’s anthemic tribute to singledom? To be fair, the twins found the body popping a bit difficult, but Saoirse does the ‘put a ring on it’ hand gesture really cutely.

Incidentally, I once saw the late Stephen Gately perform this live. He was really good.


10) Thus Spake Zarathustra’ – Richard Strauss

Best known for its appearance in 2001 Space Odyssey, this was supposed to be the song Da-da-da and Ma-ma-ma entered their wedding reception to (in the style of Ric Flair). To my eternal regret, a sound malfunction prevented that happening. However, Strauss’ stirring piece has since become a regular feature of the twins games. Want to entertain them in the car by having a teddy pop out from behind the front seat? There is no better piece of music to build tension. Revealing one of them in a game of twin peekaboo? What could be better?


What songs best sum up your children? Which records that you love would you want to pass on to them?

DIY Daddy Blog



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