Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – Michael Jackson

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Solitude – Billie Holiday

14 November 2017

I could have filled this whole playlist with Duke Ellington songs, or Billie Holiday recordings. Recordings of Billie Holiday singing Duke Ellington songs are almost too much musical pleasure to bear. This one falls into that large category of songs that are maybe too depressing for lullabies if you think about the lyrics too hard, but the melody is so perfect, so why ruin a good thing?..

Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinéad O’Connor

31 October 2017

Anguished breakup songs are maybe not super appropriate for lullaby purposes, but our culture has a lot more songs aimed at lovers than babies, so we have to make do with what we’ve got…

Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty

10 October 2017

“Free Fallin’” is my favorite Tom Petty song. I know that makes me sound basic, since it was his biggest hit, and the rest of his catalog is so wide and deep. But “Free Fallin'” really does it for me. In the wake of Petty’s death, I found the multitrack stems and listened to them closely. Later on, while singing the song to my daughter, I realized why I think it’s so cool: its ruthless, fearless minimalism. 

Ethan Hein

Ethan Hein

Ethan Hein is a Doctoral Fellow in Music Education at New York University. He teaches music technology, production and education at NYU and Montclair State University. With the NYU Music Experience Design Lab , Ethan has taken a leadership role in the creation of new technologies for learning and expression, most notably the Groove Pizza. In collaboration with Soundfly, he has developed a series of online music theory courses. He maintains a widely-followed and influential blog, and has written for various publications, including Slate, Quartz, and NewMusicBox.