Monday night marked the birth of the first baby in the group of friends I've known since middle school. It was an awe-inspiring, slightly amazing "adult" moment. Being as how one of my ilk has successfully reproduced, I felt that it was an event worth celebrating -- or, at the very least, an event worth hijacking the music blog of a major metropolitan city. As we mark the birth of Cadigan Brimer at 7 pounds, 1 ounce, it seemed a perfect opportunity to present songs about being born.
Starting with a friend's niece, it's become a standing joke to tell all small children that, on the morning of their sixth birthday, they'll wake up with a tail. While the Supersuckers might take it as an indication they're on a hellbound trail, you don't get to be "Born With a Tail." While it might fall somewhere in the realm of brainwashing, there really is nothing better than seeing a kid start to believe that they're going to have a tail in a year.
Slim Smith's "Born to Love" is the mirror opposite of every song ever called "Born to Lose." It's upbeat, positive, and all about the love. This little reggae number is ostensibly about romance, but let's be fair, here: Every parent looks at his or her newborn like it's the most perfect thing in all of creation, and is instantly devoted to that one little person more than anything on the face of the planet.
When I worked at KJHK, I'd occasionally sub for its Saturday-morning children's program, "Little Red Radio." Rather than playing Raffi or Barney tunes, I'd try to find indie songs that worked for a kid's show. While not exactly lullaby-ish, the exuberant energy of the Unicorns "I Was Born (a Unicorn)" captures exactly the feeling of nervousness and excitement that you feel in the waiting room, anticipating the news of "10 fingers, 12 toes."
I make no apologies for including Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." First of all, "Born In the U.S.A." is depressing as all hell, talking about a broken country. "Born to Run" is a song of freedom and that desire to do more with your life than what you born into. It's a massive anthem of a song. While Springsteen's bombast gets to be a bit much at times, in this case, it's all forgiven in honor of a song that gets your fist pumping.
If you really want your child to take the path less traveled, the Byrds' "Wasn't Born to Follow" could be a mantra. The song is a litany of pastoral imagery, evoking wilderness and self-reliance. We'll ignore the latter lines about curling up and dying in favor of the positive, gorgeous pictures brought to life in the early verses.