UPDATE: “Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Baby’s Favorite Rock Bands” is out now! Buy it at the Rockabye Baby! site. It’s also available here, here and at your local baby supply store. Stream “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”, “She Don’t Use Jelly” and a sampler of the entire album with the videos embedded below.
If you have young children, or spend time with anybody who does, you probably have heard of the “Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Baby’s Favorite Rock Bands” CD series in which “soothing mellotrons, vibraphones and bells” play gentle versions of rock songs ranging the obvious (“Yellow Submarine”) to the not-so-obvious (“Heart Shaped Box”). Each CD features one artist: The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Ramones, Metallica, Radiohead, etc. Now The Flaming Lips are getting the night-night-sleep-tight treatment.
Due out April 26, 2011, this isn’t the first time Flaming Lips tunes have been re-arranged for a soothing instrumental album: The String Quartet Tribute to Flaming Lips was released in 2004. Hearing that album gave me a whole new appreciation for the Lips’ melodies. So much goes on in their official tracks (and even more so live) that it’s easy to get lost in their charisma, lyrical images and immense sound world – loosing sense of the excellent compositional craft at the core of it all. Hearing them as relatively stripped instrumentals arranged for strings made their easy-to-overlook tunefulness hard-to-ignore. Hopefully these new lullaby versions do the same.
In fact, completely coincidentally – not knowing that this CD was even in production – I began a similar project of my own a couple of months ago. My niece goes to bed every night listening to Rockaby Beatles, Rolling Stones or Nirvana. This combined with my earlier realization of how powerful some Lips’ songs are as calm instrumentals lead me to start recording a Lullaby Lips CD for her (I hope my sister isn’t reading this – it’s a surprise). I had already arranged many rock songs by various artists (including a few Lips’ tunes) into elegant piano pieces that I played at a ceremony for my niece when she was an infant. And she loves singing “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song” (or at least the chorus, we never really get past that part). Plus, a lot of Flaming Lips music already has the harp, vibes, bells and celeste sounds used on these CDs. It seemed like the perfect combination and since The Flaming Lips weren’t famous enough to be in the series, I figured – I’d make mine own. I was wrong (but I’m still going to make mine anyway). I’ve decided to post my recordings on YouTube as well. I’ve only worked on it sporadically so far (I always get stuck on trying to find a cosmic-psych celeste sound that also fits the function of a baby lullaby), and I haven’t even decided on all the songs yet. Suggestions are welcome in the comment box below (though I can’t promise to honor them all).
Rockabye Baby: Flaming Lips’ CD list price is $16.98 here (which also has audio samples of every song – the sampler video at the bottom of this post is highlights of most but not all of the songs). It’s also scheduled for a digital release that same day (price unknown).
Why buy? According to Wired, “There’s an undeniable draw for the adults listening to their favorite band re-imagined like this.”
According to newsok.com, “In the same way that The Flaming Lips have become the epitome of musical cool, Rockabye Baby is the hip choice for moms and dads who rock.”
Rockabye Baby!: Lullaby Renditions of The Flaming Lips tracklisting:
1. Race for the Prize
2. She Don’t Use Jelly
3. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt 1
4. Fight Test
5. A Spoonful Weighs a Ton
6. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
7. The W.A.N.D.
8. Watching the Planets
9. The Spark That Bled
10. A Change at Christmas (Say It Isn’t So)
11. Waitin’ for a Superman
12. Do You Realize??