Playlists For Life: Songs for a 3-Year-Old
Playlists For Life: Songs for a 3-Year-Old
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Playlists For Life: Songs for a 3-Year-Old

Third Bridge Creative's Editorial Director shows off the eclectic mix of artists soundtracking his toddler-aged son's childhood.

Playlists for Life is a new narrative playlist venture from Third Bridge Creative. Each month, a member of our team curates a soundtrack to a pivotal moment in their life, and writes about the circumstances and discovery methods that led them to these particular sounds. You can listen to last month’s playlist here.

Don't let the playlist title fool you. The great thing about 3-year-olds is they aren't yet old enough to ask you to translate "pastilla, hierba y perico" for them while they're in the middle of dancing maniacally to the sky-high hook of Axel Rulay's "Si Es Trucho Es Trucho" remix. And if they do ask, they don't ask which herb "hierba" is referring to, or what parrots have to do with it. Kids of that age just like what they like, and they demand to hear it over and over and over and over. 

That's what this collection of music is: songs that made it to my son's ears one way or another, which he then requested to hear again, and not always by name. (To this day, Yellowcard's "Rough Draft" is "don't wanna be!" and Baby Keem's "Range Brothers" is, of course, "top of the morning! top of the morning! top of the morning!") They are sponges for everything—spilled cereal milk, Star Wars lore even though they've seen none of the films, and tons of music.

Which is why we listen to a broad swath of artists, genres, and tempos at home, but not so broad as to include "Baby Shark." The occasional radio song gets through, and sometimes there's thunder outside and you want your kid to be happy about it instead of scared, but I, at least, find odd joy in hearing Bone Thugs' "Look Into My Eyes" careen into Imagine Dragons' "Thunder" into Feist's "1234" because we let him watch her sing it on Sesame Street once.

Being a parent is weird. You try to raise 'em right, musically speaking, and then one day you realize you're under indexing on E-40 (we are a Bay Area family, after all), and running hot on the Harry Styles. Or that you played them "Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)" because you thought it was silly, and now it's part of their sonic canon forever. Or that they've made it to their fourth year and you haven't even played them ATLiens yet—alas, this playlist name is a lie.

I know what you're wondering: What didn't I include on this highly specifically personal kitchen sink's worth of rando bops? The soundtracks. There is no season in which he doesn't want to hear How the Grinch Stole Christmas or The Nightmare Before Christmas. Also, "Look at Me Now" featuring that legendary Busta Rhymes verse—not because the song doesn't whip ass, but because I can't physically turn your volume down when Lil Wayne says that terrible slur.

My dad raised me on Bob Marley, the Stones, Talking Heads, and the Pretenders. Together we got into Counting Crows and Sublime. Later on I turned him onto Bill Callahan and Zach Bryan. For me music has always been equal parts education and conversation—a love language to be absorbed, indexed, and shared. Already my kid is coming home from school and telling me about this song he learned called "Yellow Submarine." He understands the assignment.

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