Play This (Not That), to Put Your Baby to Sleep

There are plenty of playlists out there for putting your baby to sleep, but what about good, old fashioned albums? If you still hold onto the Album as the epitome of creative output for musical artists, here are a few of our favorites for your kids’ bedtime:


Play: “ Passenger,” by Lisa Hannigan
Not: “Nighthawks at the Diner” by Tom Waits


“Children’s” Music
Play: “Return to Pooh Corner,” by Kenny Loggins
Play: Anything by Rockabye Baby (The Radiohead and Eminem albums are great!)
Not: “Lullaby Magic,” by Joanie Bartels
Loggins surprisingly manages to make his creative take on these simple children’s songs not-cheesy. And Rockabye Baby has filled the void left by the Raffis of the world. Bartels’ album is just out of date. Time to update that collection, mom (or pop).


Play: “Violin Lullabies,” by Rachel Barton Pine
Not: “Le Sacre du Printemps” (The Rite of Spring), by Igor Stravinsky
Many thanks to my friend, Stacy Garrop, for this recommendation. Barton Pine, a Chicago-born violinist, debuted with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 10. She was famously in a horrific train accident, after which the international music community rallied around her, raising incredible amounts of money at benefit concerts all around the world. Barton Pine currently tours worldwide, performing everything from baroque chamber music to heavy metal. She recorded the album when her baby was born.
Legend has it that there were riots in Paris at the first performance of Stravinsky’s seminal work. Whether it was the music or the dancing that caused unrest in the audience, you don’t want to risk your baby having the same reaction.


New Age
Play: “Summer,” by George Winston
Not: “Live at the Acropolis,” by Yanni
It may not be your thing, but open your mind to the possibility of New Age music. Winston is particularly accessible, with influences like The Doors, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Earl Hines and Donald Lambert.


Play: “O Holy Night,” by Luciano Pavarotti
Play: “Christmas Portrait,” by The Carpenters
Not: “Christmas in the Heart,” by Bob Dylan
Both the Pavarotti album and the Carpenters one are rife with incredible singing and great arrangements of classic Christmas songs. As for the Dylan, his is a nice collection of songs, but the singing on this album is some of the worst ever recorded for Christmas time.


Play: “The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me,” by Jane Monheit
Play: “In The Wee, Small Hours of the Morning,” by Frank Sinatra
Not: “Sleeping Beauty,” by Sun Ra
Monheit’s music is beautiful and relaxing. Sun Ra’s is a precursor to the jarring opening credits sequence for the hit Showtime series, “Homeland.”


Ambient Sound
Play: “Ambient 1 / Music for Airports,” by Brian Eno
Not: Cheap White Noise Machines
Forget cheap sound machines and play your baby some real music. Drawing early inspiration from John Tilbury, Cornelius Cardew, John Cage, LaMonte Young, Terry Riley and Steve Reich, Eno went on to collaborate throughout his career with artists like Cluster, David Bowie, Talking Heads and U2. Designed to calm air passengers against fears of flying and the threat of crashes, this album should have no trouble calming your finicky baby.


Avoid at All Cost:
Frank Zappa
- Ben Jones