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Last November, I wrote a blog giving you 10 child-appropriate pop songs. Because this is such a popular topic, I decided it was time for another installment of pop songs for kids to sing. Before I start, I’d like to reiterate that I as a voice teacher I strongly believe in giving kids and their families a lot of latitude in what they’re allowed to sing. Your 7-year-old may be too young for a relationship, let alone a failed relationship, but if she’s dying to sing Adele’s “Hello,” you won’t see me discouraging her (or him). But for the purposes of this post, I want to give you some options for pop songs that have completely appropriate lyrical content that almost everyone can relate to.
1. King of Anything, by Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles didn’t write “King of Anything” about a relationship, but about all the people in her life who tried to mold her into what they wanted her to be. Taking her life and her career into her own hands, she wrote “Love Song” and eventually “King of Anything.”
2. On Top of the World, by Imagine Dragons
We all have those moments in which we feel on top of the world after a significant upward struggle. From learning to walk as a toddler, to getting your first job, or finally meeting the love of your life, we can all sing along with Imagine Dragons.
3. Roar, by Katy Perry
Along with “Firework,” “Roar” is one of Katy Perry’s post popular and kid-friendly anthems. Making your voice heard instead of allowing people to walk all over you is a wonderful message for kids and adults alike.
4. Mama Said, by Lukas Graham
While Lukas Graham’s mega-hit “7 Years” is explicitly about someone currently in his 20’s, “Mama Said” isn’t about any particular age. It’s about not growing up rich and keeping your family and childhood friends close even after you make it big. It has a positive message and a fun melody and beat.
5. Stand by You, by Rachel Platten
Being there for someone you care about, even when it means crawling on hands and knees with someone until they feel okay to stand up again, is a kind and generous sentiment. Many people are fine with Rachel Platten’s “walk through hell” reference because it’s not being used as a curse word in this context, but it’s also easily changeable to “walk through fire” for anyone who takes issue.
6. Viva La Vida, by Coldplay
While many of Coldplay’s songs are fairly child friendly, “Viva La Vida” has always been my favorite. It’s about the fall of Napoleon, or really any mighty person who’s fallen, and it’s quirky and enjoyable to sing.
7. Gold, by Britt Nicole
Similar thematically to Selena Gomez’s “Who Says,” Britt Nicole’s “Gold” is a positive message for anyone struggling with self-image who needs a good-natured pick-me-up.
8. Put Your Records On, by Corinne Bailey Rae
Who can’t relate to putting some music on, chilling out to bird song, and dreaming happy dreams? This Corinne Bailey Rae tune never gets old and makes me smile every time I listen to it.
9. Street Corner Symphony, by Rob Thomas
“Come on over/Down to the corner/My sisters and my brothers of every different color.” Rob Thomas’s joyful and inclusive anthem is appropriate for every age and is particularly wonderful during this divisive time.
10. Rise Up, by Andra Day
Because of the level of difficulty of this gorgeous Andra Day song, it may not be singable for every child, but it’s at least lyrically appropriate. Rising up each day in spite of your weariness is an important concept for every age. The music video may be about a difficult relationship, but there’s nothing in the lyrics to necessarily suggest it.
What are some of your favorite pop songs for kids? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section.
Molly is the founder of Molly’s Music. She is a dedicated singer and pianist whose musical journey spans 2.5 decades, with stops along the way to sing for the pope, pass Certificate of Merit at the highest level, study with Gwen Verdon and Ben Vereen, and record an original album.