I work with young children, which means I spend a lot of time listening to children’s songs. I don’t mean the songs I listened to as a kid–ballads of futility like “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” or gripping exposes of maternal schizophrenia like “Down by the Bay.” I mean more modern creations, the fruits of what I call Children’s YouTube.
Children’s YouTube is like regular YouTube, except it’s nothing but crappy songs and every video has 90 million hits. Take a second to wrap your mind around that: 90 million hits. Kids are nothing if not good little consumers, and they consume the hell out of YouTube.
Most of it is uninspiring fare, though some of it opens up horrifying new avenues of possibility. For example, how many different ways are there to sing the alphabet song? One? Guess again, sucker! It turns out the alphabet song can be sung 13 god damn ways, each of which are sure to enchant the balls off your little tyke.
Others are apparently so addictive that every single child they touch becomes their sworn thrall. I have yet to meet a kid who didn’t love this video, which begins with a man shouting “I AM THE SHAPES TRAIN! CHOO CHOO CHOO!” in what sounds like an empty airplane hangar, descends into faux-Calypso purgatory, and ends with me screaming in the mad house.
The kids at summer camp watched it every day. The kids at school have also watched it every day. Overall, I’ve probably spent more of my life listening to this song than I’ve spent holding my loved ones.
But those songs are just annoying. The ones I’m about to list are straight up weird. I’ll give them to you in order from least to most surreal/offensive. I’ll also link each video, though I don’t recommend you watch them. I wouldn’t wish my suffering on anybody.