Music for kids isn’t often made with the enjoyment of grown-ups in mind.
Lullabies, in particular, are designed for a pretty specific purpose — to wind down little ones and get them to sleep. But the L.A.-based label, Rockabye Baby, throws another consideration into the mix: is this a tune that a music-loving mom or dad could get a kick out of?
Using xylophones, wood blocks and other acoustic instruments, Rockabye Baby producers Andrew Bissell, Steven Boone and Leo Flynn transform songs by artists like The Beatles, David Bowie, Rihanna and Eminem into baby-friendly lullabies.
Rockabye Baby is the brainchild of Lisa Roth. She's the vice president and creative director of CMH Label Group and the executive producer of Rockabye Baby.
"I was shopping for a baby shower gift for a friend who loved music and I didn't see anything out there that I was excited to give," Roth says. "I thought to myself, I think we can do something about this."
The label's first three releases were lullaby renditions of Radiohead, Coldplay and Metallica:
Artists like Metallica, Tool and Black Sabbath, maybe not surprisingly, are some of the most challenging for the producers to translate into lullabies.
"The most difficult aspect of the production process," Roth explains, "is taking an artist who doesn't have a lot of melody in their music, or [who uses] a lot of minor chords," which can sound a little scary or unsettling, and turning them into a soothing, cute lullaby.
Roth says a song like Beyonce's "Hold Up," which contains a pretty melody, is an example of the opposite. With that one,"we weren't pulling as many tricks out of our sleeves":
One of Roth's favorites is the lullaby version of James Brown's "Get Up Offa That Thing." Roth says, "there's something about that one that makes me laugh every time I hear it." Some of the fun factor also comes from the use of cute little sound effects like frogs croaking or whistles blowing (gently):
But apart from just entertaining babies and their parents, Roth also sees another value to the Rockabye Baby catalog of songs.
"Very often I think new parents feel like they have to put aspects of their previous lives temporarily on the back burner," Roth says. "I like to think that Rockabye Baby provides an element of that previous life that's now baby-approved."