Solving the Road Trip Music Debate

Music is a bit of a touchy and passionate subject in our house; never more so than when we take a road trip. Let’s just say our tastes as a family run across a wide spectrum of genres and decibel levels. Mike and I don’t always see eye to eye on what we should be listening.

To give you a glimpse of the ongoing music debate here is a recent conversation Mike (the daddy) and Dek (the almost 3 year old) had while we made dinner one night.

What’s your Favorite band Dek? Is it Muse?
     Ummm…nope. I don’t think so.
Is it Katatonia?
    Ummm…yeah!

Welcome to my home.

We don’t argue over which Yo Gabba Gabba song we should listen to next, or which Disney soundtrack is the best. Not that there is anything wrong with them. I love the old Disney films; the Princess and the Frog soundtrack is regular background music in my life. I just don’t want it to be the only thing I listen to until the kids are in junior high. We try to keep things eclectic around here.

This doesn’t mean we listen to whatever we want. There are a few ground rules when it comes to music for our kids.

  1. No foul language. This is an obvious rule and one we both agree on.
  2. No growling at my kid. Mike has some heavy taste in music. He can share his love of music with the kids, but no songs that growl at them. Seems like a fair compromise.
  3. No boy bands. No teenybopper pop. No auto tune. We want our boys to know good music.

That’s it. Our top 3 rules when it comes to music selection. This doesn’t really narrow down the selection all that much.

Even with our rules in place Mike’s rather angry and melancholy taste conflicts with my need for something with a good beat. I like to sing along too. I don’t want to listen to something that will depress me and have us driving off a cliff an hour into our trip. Yet this music soothes Mike. It puts him in his happy place.

After 12 years together we have found common ground through a few genres and bands that make everyone happy. (Well except Ty. He seems to be a country fan. Don’t ask me where he got that one).

So what are we into? Old school hip hop, punk, grunge, alternative, classical (Mike is a huge classical music fan. Who would have guessed?!), blue grass, folk, some industrial and progressive metal, and many more obscure genres that are hard to categorize. Check out the play list below for a few more specific examples of our ping ponging musical tastes on the road.

Even with a wide rang of music to choose from we still don’t always agree what should be on as we coast down the highway to our next adventure. Sometimes we just have to defer to the driver, although personally, I think I should just get ultimate say.

Tips for keeping a happy car

  1. Whoever is driving gets first choice so they can stay awake.
  2. Passengers get veto power.
  3. Throw a bone to the kids now and then and play something they like.
  4. When in doubt, audio books can usually make everyone happy, or at least put the kids to sleep.
  5. Have a MP3 player handy with headphones.

Mike just informed me that the new Katatonia is coming out at the end of the month. Yippee! (Did you hear the sarcasm in that one?)

How do you negotiate the great musical debate?

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written by Keryn Means

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9 comments

  1. Oh we have a similar taste in music! I was a grungey/riot grrrl/goth teen. When I was four month pregnant I “took” Reuben to a music festival to see Muse and Rise Against. Hehe.

    Now, he’s mostly into hip hop! He loves getting the iPhone out, choosing a tune and break-dancing. And, of course, The Wiggles.

    • I knew I liked you for a reason Bethaney ;-) So jealous you got to see Muse! They are playing in London just before we arrive. So bummed. I got really into Muse while pregnant with Dek. Oddly enough he loves really heavy rap now. Wonder what Muse does to these boys in the womb that they love hip hop and rap? Weird.

  2. I love Muse too! We saw them in concert when they came to SLC a couple of years ago.

    We have a large and eclectic mix of alternative, pop, rock, oldies, classic country, R&B and more on our “family” iPod. Sometimes we play “pick the song” on road trips, where each member of the family takes turns picking a song. The passenger parent is the DJ. Everyone gets a little of what they want to hear and it helps pass the time. I’m sure the kids will get their own mp3 players eventually, and then do their best to ignore us, but I hope we can keep “pick the song” going for a few more years.

    • Allison I love the “pick a song” tip! We might need to wait another year or two since the only song Dek requests is the firefly song from The Princess and the Frog and my brain might not be able to handle that every 4th song ;-) but it is definitely something we will be doing in the future.

  3. Nice post about music and kids, Keryn! This has been a point of difficulty for me ever since I had my daughter. I absolutely love music and listen to many genres, but finding something that I feel good about my daughter also hearing has been interesting. For the first little bit after she was born, I played mostly classical and music from Putumayo Kids (French Playground and Latin Playground are favorites now). But I soon tired of that so we’ve been introducing lots of reggae and R&B, Santana, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Blues Traveler, and other “appropriate” music. My extensive hip hop/rap collection will have to wait many years, so I just use headphones during naps for those ;-)

    Looooovve your playlist!

    • Oh trust me, every time we found a song to add to the playlist we would listen and go “nope, curse word in that. Just one! Why did they have to sneak in one!” Let’s just say that as hard as I try, The Roots just can’t make the cut and are relegated to headphones listening too. Sad, but we have to draw the line for the kids I guess :-)

  4. Oh gosh, this is a familiar issue at our house! My partner and I both used to be big into the music scene before we met (pretty much spent every weekend going to various music gigs) however his “scene” was hip hop, and mine was grunge/alt/rock.

    My ears just can’t seem to handle hip hop, especially the weird Aussie rapping style that he seems to like so much! I’ve tried to like it for his sake, I really have, but I can’t do it.

    Luckily we both know who’s boss around here, and he isn’t too fussed with the alternative rock that I enjoy. I let him have his moments of listening to what he wants, while thinking about other things to distract myself! But then I’ve gotten him into some of my favourites so we can listen to that with no complaints :)

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