Green Day and Mumford & Sons…as Heard By My 3-Year-Old

Jacob (the 3-year-old) reached a very important developmental milestone recently: He started paying at least a small bit of attention to the songs playing on our car stereo system. I was happy at first, because I am more than ready to share my impeccable musical taste with my offspring. However, I was also a bit sad (isn’t that always how it is?) because it marked the end of the obliviousness era. Alas, my favorite 2 Live Crew CD and Tupac’s incomparable “Hit ‘Em Up” single must now be consigned to my handy Discman that I use when I’m working out. The kids are officially paying attention and impressionable.

Before I tell you what Jacob heard and what he made of it, let me explain my philosophy on cultivation and maintenance of an iTunes music library. Yes, I do have a philosophy for this. Over the years, limited storage on my phone and the necessity of clearing out memory to allow for periodic software updates has forced me to cull my collection to its current state of perfection. 270 songs: 205 Green Day, 4 Foxboro Hottubs (which is Green Day by another name), 36 Mumford & Sons, 24 Adele, and 1 O.A.R. (for some reason). If you’re keeping count, that’s all 11 Green Day studio albums plus 2 live albums, an EP, and parts of a greatest hits album; all 3 Mumford studio albums; and both Adele albums.

I have decided to focus my musical energies on Green Day, Mumford, Adele, and O.A.R. for several reasons. First, I read somewhere that once you have found a menu item you really like at a restaurant, you should order it every time because any happiness lost from a lack of variety is greatly outweighed by the potential disappointment of ordering something bad and missing out on the thing you know you really like. This made sense to me and I have applied it to my music selection process and pretty much every other area of my life. But, how did I settle on these particular musical groups? I listen to Green Day because it makes me feel punk rock without forcing me out of my completely non-punk rock comfort zone and it’s not too obscure that I couldn’t find it on the normal radio. I listen to Mumford because, currently, one of my top three life goals is to become a full-fledged hipster and hipsters love Mumford. I mean, their sound is classic Americana with the bluegrass and banjos and all that, but the band is actually completely British! It doesn’t get any better than that from a hipster perspective. I keep Adele around mostly to maintain street cred, even though, lately, I tend to skip over her songs a lot (don’t tell my homies). Finally, that O.A.R. song is probably on there because I forgot to delete it. So, there you have it. Do with that what you will.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Getty Images

Getty Images

Anyway, I feel like that was very important information that I needed to share (for some reason). Now, on to the Jacob part; because, that’s what we’re really all here for, after all.

Song: X-Kid, Artist: Green Day

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that about 99% of the 13 people reading this don’t know this song. It’s a good song, don’t get me wrong, but it’s from Green Day’s most recent album trilogy that didn’t get much mainstream attention. So, here are the disconnected snippets of lyric that found their way to Jacob’s little ears: 

You fell in love but then you just fell apart… 

You went over the edge of joking,

And I have a broken heart

J: “Why’d he say broken heart?”

Me: “That’s what the song is about.”

J: “He said he fell and broke his heart? That’s not good. I didn’t do that.”

Me: “Actually, he said he fell in love, fell apart, and then had a broken heart.” (I’m aware that’s not a great or probably very accurate interpretation either, but it’s a complicated song.)

J: “That’s not good. I don’t fall apart. My food makes me strong. My food makes my stomach strong, right?”

Me: “Absolutely.” 

Nailed it. 

Song: Babel, Artist: Mumford & Sons

Title track to the outstanding, Grammy-winning Babel album (some more of my thoughts on that album here).You may have heard it, but probably not. 

Press my nose up to the glass around your heart… 

[Bennett (B), 16-month-old, makes a key appearance here] 

J: “Why did someone press on his nose? Did his nose come off?” 

Me: “Actually. He said he pushed his nose up to the glass and….”

B: “Da-da. Da-da. Da-da! Da-da!! Da-da!! Da-da!! DA-DA!! DA-DA!!”

J: “What? I can’t hear you.”

Me: “Like he was looking out a window and put his nose real close to the…”

B: “Da-da. Da-da. Da-da! Da-da!! Da-da!! Da-da!! DA-DA!! DA-DA!!”

J: “What? Bennett!”

Me: “He was looking…”

B: “Da-da. Da-da. Da-da! Da-da!! Da-da!! Da-da!! DA-DA!! DA-DA!!”

J: “Ahhh! I can’t hear you!”

Me: “We’ll talk about this later.”

J: “What?” 


Song: Whispers in the Dark, Artist: Mumford & Sons

Another somewhat obscure one. It’s from the aforementioned Babel album, but it’s not a single. 

Spare my sins for the ark

I was too slow to depart

I’m a cad but I’m not a fraud

J: “Why’d that man say he was a cat?” 

Me: “Cad. He said he was a cad. C-A-D, not C-A-T, like cat.”

J: What’s a cad?”

Me: “It’s a kind of person.” (I think that’s right. I’m most familiar with the word from that Sound of Music song that Rolfe and Liesl sing. Good word though. Props to Mumford for bringing it back.)

J: “Cad and cat rhyme.”

Me: “Sure.” 

Nailed it. 

In the blink of an eye and the turn of a phrase, just like that, a lyrical genius is born. I for one can’t wait to see what comes next.