I was one of those armchair parents with all the answers about how to bring up children before I was actually responsible for any. But parenting is more exhausting, exhilarating and unpredictable than anything I have ever done. Nobody really admits how complicated raising kids can be. Nor are we very honest about what childhood is really like for either the kids or the parents, as most accounts are either cloaked in denial or sentimentality. When it comes to music, songs about kids are some of the worst. Happily, the four songs featured here either commit to having fun, being not that serious, or do something unusual.
Toronto’s Zeus kick-starts things with “Kindergarten” (from their 2010 album Say Us) where the narrator appears to be a particularly eloquent five-year-old who doesn’t want to hurt the other kids in school but fears he can’t hold it together in an ‘appropriate behaviour’ sort of way. The song draws you in with its slightly warped narrative, a killer piano riff and some great background vocals. Zeus’ most recent LP, 2014’s Classic Zeus, confirms that our featured song is not an outlier in their catalogue – these guys are delightfully weird. Kindergarten
Fein’s 2014 single “#Grownupz” sneaks up on the listener with some fairly conventional synth-pop build up only to drop a chorus that is highly addictive. While the sentiment is conventional – ‘Daddy I don’t want to grow up’ – the reason is stark: ‘grownups are all sad’. Ouch. The idea and the hook will stay with you.
Both Tiny Animals and Farewell Flight use a kids motif for more typical escapism – to escape the bonds of adulthood for some more allegedly authentic moment: teenhood. Tiny Animals warn “Youth Today” not to lose something important from their youth, though just what it is seems a bit vague. Though this track is from their 2009 album Sweet Sadness, according to their Facebook page the band is putting the finishing touches on a new release right now.Farewell Flight’s “Teenager” is from their most recent LP, 2014’s I Was a Ghost, a straight-up poprock recovery of a lost sense of youthful, adrenaline-fueled excitement.