11 Songs Your Kids Need to Know

By Diego Mapa, father and frontman of dance-punk band Pedicab.
ILLUSTRATOR Jasrelle Serrano

I am a father of two. Vito is 10 years old, and my daughter Estella just turned eight. They are starting to form their own preferences for things like pop culture, and they’re vocal about it too. “Dad, check this out!” Or, “Look at this!”

Vito loves cartoons. He doesn’t fancy the Lord Of The Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson, but he does adore its Lego version. He enjoys the original Transformers movie, the song “Touch” by Stan Bush (“You got the touch… You got the power!”) And he’ll enthusiastically dance to the opening credits of the anime Yokai. (To readers with no kids: be glad you don’t have to know what these things are yet.)

Estella doesn’t sleep because of gamer Dan Middleton’s YouTube channel. She loves the movie School Of Rock, where she (thankfully) discovered music like Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water”, AC/DC’s “Back In Black”, and Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” She had a phase where she only watched Michael Jackson videos for a month.

When I hear them mention things that I personally enjoy—like AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and Daft Punk—I try to latch onto these as tools to steer their taste preference towards the “proper direction.” It’s easy to get into pop music nowadays. But with the classics, sometimes you have to hand them down.

Here are some tracks I hope will cause a eureka moment with them too, as they did for me.


"Yellow Submarine" by The Beatles

I got into the Beatles when I was the same age as my kids. It was the gateway to catchy melodies, the verse-chorus-verse structure, and sterling arrangements.

"Beat It" by Michael Jackson

You can’t go wrong with Michael.

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"ABC" by The Jackson 5

I can imagine this song being enjoyed by all ages at children’s parties. It’s ultra appealing.

"So What Cha Want" by Beastie Boys

There are cartoon themes that sound similar to the Beastie Boys’ beats and rhyming—but, children, this is the real deal.


"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana

Estella dear, now that you know AC/DC and Black Sabbath, I think you’re ready for Nirvana.

"Baby I’m Yours" by Breakbot Feat. Irfane

That track “Treasure” by Bruno Mars? I’m pretty sure he ripped it off from this.


"I Got You (I Feel Good)" by James Brown

For your children’s funky future, please feed them nutrients. James Brown is good for their health.

"Boys Don’t Cry" by The Cure

This song feels like listening to Tim Burton’s movie Nightmare Before Christmas but with drums.


"Housequake" by Prince

I performed this song before, solo miming on the microphone at Parents’ Day in grade school. The sound system at the school was so bad at that time that nobody noticed it was full of cuss words. At least kids got to listen to Prince (R.I.P.).

"Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" by Daft Punk


Dear Vito, “One More Time” isn't Daft Punk's only song. Here’s another one just as popular, which was also sampled by Kanye West. You will know about him when you are much older.

"My Beau" by Daedelus Feat. Ericka Rose and Paper Boy

This track sampled the ´90s dance hit “My Boo” By the Ghost Town DJs. The original track went viral, accompanying those running man challenge videos.

This article was originally published in the June 2016 issue of Esquire PhilippinesMinor edits have been made by the editors.

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