Grown-Up Bands Craft Kid Songs Artists typically known for their careers in adult-oriented musical genres occasionally venture into writing songs geared toward kids. Children's-music blogger Stefan Shepherd previews a few new notable releases from They Might Be Giants, The Nields and others that parents and children can both enjoy.

Grown-Up Bands Craft Kid Songs

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From time to time, we check in on what's new in the world of kids' music with blogger Stefan Shepherd of And today, we'll spin some recent releases from artists who made their names with music for grownups beginning with a rock group, They Might Be Giants. They started out in the 1980s and endeared themselves to adult fans with playful songs including "Birdhouse in Your Soul."

(Soundbite of song "Birdhouse in Your Soul")

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: (Singing) Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch, Who watches over you? Make a little birdhouse in your soul, Not to put too fine a point on it. Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet, Make a little birdhouse in your soul...

BLOCK: Well, that quirky sensibility from They Might Be Giants has also earned them legions of fans in the four-feet-and-under crowd. And blogger Stefan Shepherd steered us to their latest CD for kids, songs about numbers. It's called "Here Come The 1-2-3s."

Mr. STEFAN SHEPHERD (Blogger, When they first started recording music for kids, I think a lot of people thought well, Duh! That made sense. Because a lot of their songs, I think, were kid-friendly before. And so, a lot of the songs on this album, I think would sound perfectly integrated into their albums that they record for adults.

BLOCK: And they moved from "Here Come the ABCs," now "Here Come the 1-2-3s," starting with zero, going up to infinity and somewhere in between. We have the song, "Seven."

(Soundbite of song "Seven")

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: (Singing) Oh, there's the doorbell, Let's see who's out there. Oh, it's a seven. Hello, seven, Won't you come in, seven? Make yourself at home. Hey...

BLOCK: And along with the CD, there's a DVD, and sevens start proliferating like crazy. Tell me about the song, Stefan. What do you like about them?

Mr. SHEPHERD: It's got this surreal aspect to it in which the sevens overrun this household and demand more cake, and it's got these wonderful deadpan kids' voices who are playing the roles of seven.

(Soundbite of song "Seven")

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: (Singing) Now, who would like some cake?

Unidentified Child #1: I would like some cake.

Unidentified Child #2: Me, too.

BLOCK: I don't know what it says, but I have two CDs in front of me that both have songs about the number eight. One of them is They Might Be Giants' "Figure Eight." But then, there's a song from The Board of Education called "Eight Is a Number."

(Soundbite of song "Eight Is a Number")

THE BOARD OF EDUCATION: (Singing) In a world of danger, there is only one number that you need. In the ancient taro, it means strength. It stands for wealth in Chinese...

Mr. SHEPHERD: The Board of Education is a side project of a band out of Seattle, called Central Services. And they're an indie-pop band. And one of the bands' songwriters was actually an elementary school science teacher in a former life, so that sort of smart, indie-pop sensibility and educational bent sort of got married into this new project.

(Soundbite of song "Eight Is a Number")

THE BOARD OF EDUCATION: (Singing) Eight is a number, legs on a spider. V8 has eight vegetables. The time that all movies start should be eight, Because seven is too early, and nine is too late. Eight is the number of the month of August. Eight-eight is the birthday of Smokey the Bear. Eight-eight-eight means your call is free...

Mr. SHEPHERD: This album really is designed more for the kids who are eight, nine, and ten years old. It's definitely not an album for your three-year-old. They might bop along because it's got some catchy melodies, but they're not writing for your three-year-old.

(Soundbite of song "Eight Is a Number")

THE BOARD OF EDUCATION: (Singing) The number called eight...

BLOCK: You also called our attention to a two-CD release from a duo, sisters, called The Nields. I know they've done their own folk thing before, and now they have a kids' career as well. One CD, "Rock All Day," the other "Rock All Night."

Mr. SHEPHERD: Yeah. I believe Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters might have gotten there first with the whole one disc being up-tempo and the second disc being mellower.

BLOCK: The Foo Fighters are not covering "Muffin Man," last I checked.

Mr. SHEPHERD: No, no. Not that I'm aware of. I do, however, really like The Nields' version of "Muffin Man" which adds a whole neighborhood to Drury Lane.

(Soundbite of song "The Muffin Man")

Ms. KATRYNA NIELDS and Ms. NERISSA NIELDS: (Singing) Do you know the waffle woman, The waffle woman, The waffle woman? Do you know the waffle woman, Who lives on Drury Lane?

BLOCK: So, one CD, "Rock All Day," more up-tempo, things to get you moving. And then "Rock All Night," songs to wind down. A lot of them traditional songs.

Mr. SHEPHERD: Mostly traditional. There are a couple of original songs on there. One of the songs I really like on here is one of my all-time favorite songs, which is "Wild Mountain Time."

(Soundbite of song "Wild Mountain Thyme")

THE NIELDS: (Singing) And we'll all go together to pull wild mountain thyme, All around the blooming heather. Will you go, lassie, go?

BLOCK: Parents of a certain age might remember the voice that's chiming in here. This is their father, John Nields, who was chief counsel for the House committee investigating Iran-contra in the 1980s.

Mr. SHEPHERD: Yes, their father taught them many of these songs as they were growing up. And so, I think a large part of the impetus for recording this album was because they wanted to recapture the joy they had in listening to their dad sing songs and singing with their dad as they were growing up.

(Soundbite of song "Wild Mountain Thyme")

THE NIELDS: (Singing) And we'll all go together to pull wild mountain thyme.

BLOCK: Well, Stefan, good to talk to you again. Thanks a lot.

Mr. SHEPHERD: You're very welcome, Melissa. Thanks.

(Soundbite of song "Wild Mountain Thyme")

THE NIELDS: (Singing) All around the blooming heather. Will you go, lassie, go?

BLOCK: Stefan Shepherd blogs about kids' music at You're listening to All Things Considered.

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