Review: Listen Learn and Grow Lullabies - Various Artists

With these Zooglobble reviews, I've focused on, for lack of a better word, "daytime" CDs. They're generally peppy, or a little bit folky, and definitely candidates for, well, the car. You know, you listen to the CD at home. You listen to it on the airplane. You listen to it in the car. If a CD can stand up to that repeated (ab)use, then there is definite merit to the album.

I've not talked about "lullaby" CDs because, by definition, neither parents nor kids should be actively listening to a lot of these CDs. The parents should be out of the room and the kids, well, they should be sleeping. They're probably not, of course, but it's nice to pretend, no? Whatever the case, kids are definitely not begging to "play that song again!" when referring to Brahms' "Lullaby."

But good music is good music, no matter when it's played. And my wife and I heard quite a few of these CDs when (she) nursed or (I) gave a bottle to our daughter.

The first thing you should know about lullabies on CD is that there are many CDs that have "lullaby" or "sleepytime" in the title that have no business being used during nap time or nighttime. Next to the "Mozart effect," it's probably the most-overused phrase in kids' music. (Next thing you know, they'll be advertising how these CDs have Bluetooth technology.) Just because the CD has music by Mozart doesn’t necessarily mean that it'll be calming and soothing during naps or feedings.

Naxos is a "budget classical" label and has a CD entitled Listen Learn and Grow Lullabies. The CD advertises that "each selection [on the CD] has been specifically chosen for its soothing and tranquil qualities," and while that sounds like a bit of marketing hoo-hah, this is a pretty "soothing and tranquil" CD. Because these are pulled from Naxos' other recordings, they avoid the saccharine nature of a lot of kids' CDs. You'll recognize the first couple selections ("Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and the aforementioned "Lullaby") by name and some others by melody, but others will likely be completely new to you. They are, however, almost uniformly pleasing to the ear.

While marketed as a "lullaby" CD, nothing except the cultural knowledge of the first couple songs requires pigeonholing this CD as just for kids. Naxos' huge catalog means that it'll be hit or miss as to whether you can find it in your local music store; they're certainly available online.

If I had to pick just one lullaby CD that I would actually use for a child, Listen Learn and Grow Lullabies would be the one.