Buying Baby Music (The Ultimate Deception)

Say the wife sends you out to pick up some lullaby music. (I know, I know – just imagine Amazon and Bandcamp don’t exist, and we still live in a time when we have to hunt for our music with spears.) As it turns out, baby music is totally boring. It’s quiet and encourages good sleeping habits and doesn’t have any guitar solos or double bass at all. But you can try to pass off your purchases as baby music; you just have to be sneaky about it.

Here are some bands that just might pass your SO’s sleep-deprived attention test.

Decrepit Birth

You might be able to get this one past your wife, but you’d better be prepared to play dumb. “Decrepit” isn’t really a common word per se, but looks pretty damn suspicious when paired with “birth.” It might be in your best interests to pretend you didn’t know any better, or else you won’t even get to the intense progressive death metal jams that wait just inside the jewel case.

Strapping Young Lad

Looks innocuous enough, doesn’t it? All three words of this band name pass the Vulgarity Test, however, “Strapping” is kind of an old-timey word. This might actually draw unwanted attention to it. Better to choose Alien or The New Black for the abstract cover art; you would not want your wife to inspect your purchase only to see a bunch of bloodied feathers on the front.

Album cover for Strapping Young Lad's 2003 album of the same name. A white feather, bloodied red.
Yeah, you aren’t fooling anyone with an album cover like this.

God forbid your wife actually hears the music itself. Hevy Devy’s been known to belt out a melodic chorus or two, but it’s usually backdropped by a frenetic wall of sound. Good luck.

Cradle of Filth

“Cradle” is pretty safe as far as baby-related words go, much less so the “filth” part. That’s like a complete failure of the Vulgarity Test. Like, why couldn’t Dani and Co. name themselves “Cradle of Colic?” At least then you could try to pass it off as an experimental genre intended to treat acid reflux.

You might have a little success playing the thing, since most Cradle of Filth albums start  with instrumental intro tracks anyway. But it’s game over as soon as the vocals start. I couldn’t defend those in any context.

Blood Stain Child

This is a toughie. “Blood” definitely fails the Vulgarity Test, as there’s no feasible way you could spin it onto something babyish. “Stain” makes your argument even flimsier. I guess you could try to exaggerate it as “blood stay-in child.” That’s pretty harmless, right? Who wouldn’t want the blood to stay in their child? Right??

Maybe if you skip to the one track in Epsilon that really showcases ex-vocalist Sophia’s talents. Not bad as far as kid-friendly songs go, but you’ll have to endure not hearing the incredibly more metal songs you’re missing out on the album.

Old Man’s Child

The good news is this name passes the Vulgarity Test. Unfortunately it fails several others, including the Dubiously Pedophilic Test. Naming your band “Old Man’s Child” is just weird – even weirder than the frequent time signature and tempo changes surrounding this band’s unique brand of black metal. I recommend trying to convince her it’s the sequel to a Tom Waits song.

Babymetal

This is your compromise purchase. Sort of. I’m personally underwhelmed by this metal-slash-Jpop band-slash-group, but you might get a lot of mileage from the wife. The novelty is pretty appealing to non-metalheads, and although the music isn’t as on-point as, say, this, there’s some stuff to like.

Babymetal feels like a cop-out, but if you’d rather listen to Raffi or The Wiggles, be my guest. These gals’ll do in a pinch.

A Babymetal live performance. Three young singers in black t-shirts and red skirts, dancing and singing in unison.
You can do better than this, unless you can’t.

The Ultimate Deception

You’ve got a job to do, and since you can’t come home empty-handed you may as well try to pass your purchases off as having your child’s best interests in mind. Maybe you have ulterior motives, maybe not. The important thing is you’ll have some new tunes to listen to. That is, if it works.

This entire project kind of rests on taking advantage of how tired your wife is. I might be giving you too much credit – I certainly am myself. I have never been able to get anything past my wife to the point that I don’t even try anymore. But if you’re really looking for an out from a future of the endless variations of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” maybe this will work for you. Just… don’t tell her where you got the idea, okay?

Recharge, Refuel, Revitalize

Babies are draining. They can be straight up vampiric. And they aren’t a part-time gig – no, you got roped into a contract more constricting than any record label’s. But you can handle it because you’re Mostly Metal, goddamn it; you’re made of tougher stuff.

But even tough parents have to rest up. Days are long, and nights are longer. I’m pretty sure I’ll never know what it’s like to have a full night’s sleep again, so that means I’ve got to find ways to function during the “normal human being” hours.

Here’s what helps me.

True Norwegian Black Coffee

“Metal flowing through your veins” is a good thing to have as a metalhead. It’s a good position to be in. Like, in some cases it probably looks great on a resume. Pretty sure it’s a requirement to play in Judas Priest. I don’t claim to be that metal, but you could do some blood tests and find trace amounts. However, it was mere days after the birth of my daughter that I’d really rather it was coffee.

When I hear bands sing about “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll,” the chief drug I have in mind is caffeine. Coffee’s gone from being a warm breakfast addition to balls-out ambrosia. I used to have one cup a day; now I’m lucky if I don’t go more than two. If it’s hot, I take it black as the forests of Norway; if cold I’m not above adding some sweet-ass creamer. I’m only Mostly Metal, I don’t have to commit to a perfect image for shit.

Naps, Anywhere

You can’t sleep on the job, the job being taking care of your kid. Well, you can, but only when all the conditions are met. I’m not talking incantations and a five-pointed star ringed with candles, I mean when Baby’s sleeping, you should be too. Catching a few Zs while she goes down for the afternoon nap is not neglect in any form. If anything, you’re fortifying your body so you can be in your prime when she wakes up. Like, you know how KISS could ‘rock and roll all night and party every day?’ Yeah, this is like the complete opposite of that.

I contradict the whole “catch up on sleep” all the time. She’s sleeping right now and I’m writing this damn thing on my phone at two in the morning! Viewing sleepy time as a free period to round out your hobbies or catch up on work is dangerous territory. After all, if you aren’t at your best, it’ll only make an emergency all the worse, so time it right.

Power Metal

Metal in general won’t keep you awake during those truly dark hours. I know metal gets us pumped up, but getting prepped for a concert isn’t the same as keeping yourself awake. Those pieces don’t quite fit together. But if you’re going to be stubborn about it, well, I won’t try to stop you.

Power metal tends to be a pretty good choice for keeping that energy high. Gamma Ray, Angra, Blind Guardian, etc. Watch out, though – these bands aren’t afraid to toss in the occasional ballad. These can be absolute buzzkills if they come at the wrong time, so make sure you’ve got them down on the lullaby part of the playlist.

A Social Network

Metal is better with friends and family, and occasionally so is child-rearing. Some days you’ll be so tired you’ll want to stay inside, lock the doors, and sever the landline (50 years from now, a band will absolutely call itself Sever the Landline). But being social actually can unlock some of the most dedicated rest periods.

You get to hang out with people you like (assumedly), they get the satisfaction of seeing this creature you helped create, and you get to escape for a few minutes to rest. It’s important for many parents, both the metal ones and not, to get the occasional period of hands-off time. And if you fall asleep mid-sentence while relaying your baby’s latest exploits, well, you’ll have someone else there to pick up the slack.

It’s extremely cathartic to be able to talk about how stressed, tired, or frustrated you are to others. Getting that off your chest, if even for a half hour, is an invaluable act you’d be foolish not to take advantage of. I mean, you need friends or family to make it work, but it’s a good one. If you really need to, you can even email me!

Share the Wealth

It’s possible you aren’t having any trouble acclimating to life with your newborn. Maybe you even thrive on it. In that case, I don’t really have any advice for you, you superhuman. You could probably play two-hour setlists if you wanted. You’re not a member of Iced Earth, are you? Can I have your autograph?

Dealing with a Double Encore (This One’s About Poop)

An encore is a wonderful thing. Who doesn’t love seeing their favorite band come and play one or two more songs? It’s even more empowering when you’re on the receiving end, and the venue actually lets you do your thing. (Thanks, Jumping Turtle!) Yeah, encores are pretty great.

Except when we’re talking about shit.

Oh, you better believe we’re talking about shit. Buckle up, boys and girls, Mostly Metal Dad is here to talk about what happens when you get the wrong kind of encore.

The Kinds of Encores (Including the Shittiest Kind)

There are a few kinds of encores to identify. And I mean the real kind and the poop kind. You’ve got your “no shit” encore, where the band can’t possibly be finished because they haven’t played their best song. You’ve got your fake-out encore, where a band waits so long to come out you thought they were actually finished. You also have your double encore, where a band already did one encore, leaves, then comes out again for another song.

All these encores have varying levels of enthusiasm. For example, you’re only mildly enthused at the “no shit” encore, mainly because you aren’t surprised but still get another kickass song out of it. For the double encore you’re absolutely losing your mind with enthusiasm.

You are not at all enthused about a poop encore.

What is a Poop Encore?

A poop encore is exactly like a musical encore except much shittier (I’m a dad now, I get to do this). They’re unique from regular encores because they’re probably all surprises. Like, you would never want your baby to poop after she’s already pooped. (Unless you do, in which case you are a masochist and I hope you two will develop a very healthy relationship in the future.)

Unlike bands, babies don’t take a bow after they’ve taken a shit. There’s no clear visual cue they’re completely finished with their business. In fact, they probably look just as innocent as when you started changing them. That could not be further from the truth. Every time you open that diaper up is a gamble that could leave your changing pad, diaper table, and immediate vicinity covered in… well, you get the idea. The point is that you can’t tell when babies have finished discharging their devastating payloads. So you have to approach each diaper change with extra caution.

What to Do (About the Doo Doo)

So you know what to expect regarding encores – but how do you deal with them?

Be vigilant. You can’t let your guard down, even for a second. That’s when she’ll strike. Make sure nothing’s in the trajectory of the blast zone in case Baby decides to blast off. Remember, you can always wash whatever she happens to coat in a mustard-colored gas attack, but it’s better if you avoid that scenario altogether.

Bring a spare. It’s a good idea to have the next diaper unfolded and ready to go anyway; this just takes the idea to another level. Just place the next diaper beneath the soiled one to catch any, er, overflow. The worst that could happen is she poops again on your way back to whatever it was you were doing, or even as you are securing the new diaper on her. It’s happened to me, and it’ll happen to you too, so the sooner you can just accept that diapers were made to be bought and thrown away, the better. You’ll have days where you’ll be changing diapers faster than Dream Theater changes time signatures, so get used to it.

Don’t wait too long. This one’s tough to recommend. Every parent has a different threshold for how long they can stand to wait before changing their kid’s diaper. But sometimes a diaper that’s been peed in can use up all the soaking bits of the diaper, leaving nothing to catch a liquid shit except a soggy barrier. So if you notice your baby has a dirty diaper, don’t let her sit in it too long. Chances are it’s making her uncomfortable anyway, so you’ll be doing everyone a favor by swapping it for a dry one.

Encores are Inevitable

So I didn’t really maintain the whole musical encore metaphor to the end. Tough shit. Talking about how to deal with poop is a much more critical endeavor than showing off my writing skills.

Babies that poop after they’ve already pooped are jerks. But you can’t do anything about it! Your mind will want to shut down at the sheer impossibility and unfairness of it all, but just remember that double encores are going to happen. And this is one show you can’t duck out early on.