Bad Dad

Bad DadBecause Bad Dad was more popular than anticipated (and because he’s a part of my chaos and I feel the need to spread that joy to you, dear readers), I decided to let him come back for another installment.

Bad Dad is a music snob. Let me just put that out there. The girls and I are a little disappointing to him because we’re just as happy to Roar with Katy Perry as we are to belt out some Iron and Wine. This kills him a little inside. To make up for it, he decided to spread his love of music to you–and help teach your kids some lessons in the process.

Again, please address all hate mail to Bad Dad.

I don’t know about you, but we have two daughters, and as such, the music they tend to listen to is horrible, horrible, pop garbage. I was one of those expecting parents that was like “No way is my kid going listen to crap. I’m going to have the coolest toddler on earth, she’s going to sing Grizzly Bear and be all into Pavement and it’s going to rule.”

But you quickly learn that little kids like catchy songs. It doesn’t matter if they’re stupid and putrid with horrible messages about female body image, partying, whatever. So here are 5 fun and catchy songs to try and get your kids into awesome bands and teach them important lessons.

1. Billy Liar – The Decemberists

The Decemberists have gotten bigger of late, but they were still one of the best indie bands of the early 00’s. This song is just a super fun song to sing along to with a nice little chorus of “Won’t you stay here, for a while dear. ‘Till the radio plays something familiar.” However, it also teaches the importance of privacy and personal safety. “Billy Liar’s got his hands in his pockets, staring over at the neighbors – knickers down. He’s got his knickers down.” Yes that line is sung in way that’s fun and bubbly, but it really hammers home the importance of drawing your blinds, or in today’s modern society, perhaps this best translates as a warning not to post nude selfies on the internet. Thanks, Decemberists.

2. If You’re Feeling Sinister – Belle and Sebastian

Belle and Sebastian came around in the mid/late nineties and what a fun little band they are. This particular song comes from their critically acclaimed 1996 album of same name. It’s a pretty song with sweet soft vocals with a quick little chorus ending with a ‘la la la la laaaa.’ How fun for the kids! Plus the lyrics are “But if you are feeling sinister/ Go off and see a minister/ He’ll try in vain to take away the pain of being a hopeless unbeliever.” The rest of the song too, is a pretty nice statement on the fact that there’s no such thing as God. This seems like the perfect way to break the news to your kid – as long as they’re past the no Santa age, etc.

3. No Children – The Mountain Goats

The Mountain Goats broke onto the scene as indie as can be, recording songs at home onto a boom-box. This album was a bit polarizing in that it was first one to have any semblance of polish to it. This song in particular is rollicking and catchy and I think a great way to get your kids to have a little fun if you’re either going through a rough patch or even divorce with your spouse. Some lyrics:

I hope that our few remaining friends
Give up on trying to save us
I hope we come out with a fail-safe plot
To piss off the dumb few that forgave us
I hope the fences we mended
Fall down beneath their own weight
And I hope we hang on past the last exit
I hope it’s already too late
And I hope the junkyard a few blocks from here
Someday burns down
And I hope the rising black smoke carries me far away
And I never come back to this town again in my life
I hope I lie
And tell everyone you were a good wife
And I hope you die
I hope we both die

4. Conversation 16 – The National

The National are a pretty huge band now, having played as an opening act to Barack Obama among other highlights I’m too lazy to look up, but I’ve loved these guys for well over a decade, before it was cool. (Make sure you say stuff like this to your kids, A LOT. This way hopefully you’ll be somewhere with other parents, and maybe a National song will come on, and your kid will say something like, “My dad liked these guys way before they were big” or whatever. It’s the only way other parents will know you’re cool and better than them). Anyway, this song is off their album High Violet. And what kid wouldn’t want to scream this chorus with glee, “I was afraid… I’d eat your brains…’cuz I’m evvvvvvvvil!”? Plus it acts as the perfect segue to have a frank discussion with your kid about the impending zombie apocalypse.

5. Wouldn’t Mama Be Proud – Elliott Smith

Elliott Smith gained a small bit of fame when he was featured heavily in the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting. But his songs have always had a Beatles-esque pop sensibility that make them fun to sing along to. Before he committed suicide I had the distinct pleasure of seeing him a few times in concert  – one of the times both David Bowie and Kate Moss were in attendance (again, say this type of thing to your kid like on repeat. Even if they don’t understand how cool it makes you now… they will). Anyway, this song tells the story of a kind of soul-sucking journey, seemingly about Smith’s battles with both fame and addiction. He would later kill himself by repeatedly stabbing himself in the chest. So after singing the rousing chorus of “Wouldn’t mama be proud!” It would probably be a good time to hug your child, let them know you are indeed proud of them, regardless of career path. And also maybe mention heroin is bad.


Written by Jennifer Garry
Jen is a freelance writer and girl mom from New York. When she's not knee-deep in glittery crafts and girl talk, you can probably find her sprawled across her couch in the middle of a Netflix marathon with dark chocolate smeared on her face. The struggle is real.