Beck for Baby

It’s a popular practice to play music for your baby while it’s still in utero (although I don’t know how popular actually playing Nirvana’s In Utero might be). Steph and I have purchased a cheap pair of headphones that are flexible enough to stretch out and cling to her belly, and we occasionally entertain the kid with some tunes. Previously, it’s been mostly Steph’s music. He’s reportedly reacted well to common baby music, but also to Madeleine Peyroux, so I figure there’s hope for his tastes yet.

To that end, I chose to play him some Beck tonight. Some “experts” who have “doctorate degrees” and have studied child development and psychology for “decades” will tell you that rock music, or whatever it is that Beck plays, is “too complex” for a baby to understand. I would point out that actually understanding Beck’s music is a step in the wrong direction for those who want to appreciate his work, but I digress. I carefully avoided Analog Odyssey (you may choose to do the same) and chose three songs that I wanted my boy to hear, and we stretched the headphones out and plugged him in for a mini-concert, sans-puppets.

The first (which, regrettably, is not on iTunes) was “He’s a Mighty Good Leader”, from Beck’s early album One Foot in the Grave. I thought it would be hard to start him off with anything simpler than this without removing rhythm and notes altogether. The song almost removes the rhythm by itself. He seemed to like it.

The second song I picked is one of my personal Beck favorites, although no one would probably guess it: “Ramshackle”, off the smash hit Odelay. The plodding calm of that song catches me every time. It’s just gorgeous. I want to be there with Beck, strumming my guitar, tapping my foot, lazily droning that chorus. Stuck together, one and all.

Steph requested something more upbeat for the last one. I figured that something a bit more pure, tonally speaking, might be an interesting contrast, so I pulled out “Bad Cartridge” [E-Pro] from his GameBoy Variations EP. Steph was initially concerned that it would be too much for his little ears, but considering the fact that this particular EP is too much for the ears of most of humanity, I trusted that the genes would sort it out. I mean, I at least want him to know what video games used to sound like, don’t I? Don’t I have that responsibility?! Yes. Yes I do.

5 thoughts on “Beck for Baby

  1. Nicole and I have been Netflixing *Undeclared*, an uneven but sometimes quite funny show about freshmen in college, created by the now-famous Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen. There’s a great scene on the second disc (which is much better than the first), where a guy decides to tell his parents that he has become a music major by performing in the talent show. His song is modeled on his hero, Beck. To see him try and pull a Beck left me laughing well after the episode ended. I know you’d appreciate it.

  2. With Nintendo in mind, you should play him the ocarina of time, or the ballad of Hyrule forest. Some fantastic orchestral Zelda is good for young ears. At least, it makes me smile picturing his first real dancing a year or two from now to an epic Nintendo ballad:) Just think of the 10 year old Talent show he’ll put on for you and Steph, Mario style.

  3. I just want to point out that this entire baby-music phenomenon sprung from a single study that showed that mozart made people perform better on a particular type of IQ test. Unfortunately, this study was done on teenagers, and the effects of the music lasted, get this, 15 minutes. There were *no* long-term effects, and *no* similar study has been performed on babies.

    But hey, your baby will probably enjoy the music, so go ahead. Just don’t expect it to make him any smarter.

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