I don't have any children, but there are still days that I see something special and think, “I want to share this one day with my future kids.” You know, my imagined children who have yet to be born. I get it: It’s a little creepy. But regardless of how odd this may seem, I think there are some things in life that are totally worth passing down to the generations that come after us: Things like an appreciation for certain music, or for literature, or art. In fact, speaking of music, there are a lot of albums that I definitely want share with my kids.
You know, when I have them one day.
Listening to my mother’s favorite music while she did the dishes or while we drove across country to visit family was how I got most of my musical education. It’s why I know all the lyrics to so many Whitney Houston songs, and to that one Simple Minds song. One day, I hope to provide a similar musical education for my own kids, with music of my time. It's important to pass these things down, you know?
If you, like me, are looking for a few albums to pass down to your own kids someday, then look no further than this list of the greats from the past few decades.
1. Rhythm Nation — Janet Jackson
Considering its themes range from increasing diversity and promoting acceptance, sharing this album with your kids would be about so much more than sharing fun songs. An album like this could start a really great conversation among generations.
2. Nevermind — Nirvana
This iconic grunge album is also an incredible expression of teenage angst and frustration. What an amazing way to connect with your own kids one day when they’re going through the trials and tribulations of adolescence.
3. My Life — Mary J. Blige
Please tell me I wasn’t the only one belting my heart out to this soul-inspired R&B album? Its epic tunes are definitely ones that I look forward to singing at the top of my lungs with my own children someday.
4. Tapestry — Carole King
If for no other reason than it will expose your children to the amazing vocal stylings of Carole King. The soothing sounds of this album will convince anyone to be the best version of themselves.
5. The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill — Lauryn Hill
This album proved that some people can be the best version of themselves when they strike off on their own and trust their own voice.
6. Jagged Little Pill — Alanis Morissette
For all of that teenage angst that they will undoubtedly feel, of course. Share this album with your kids to get them through ages 12-16. That’s when the album does its best work.
7. No Strings Attached — *NSYNC
I have no doubt your children will be too busy listening to whatever boy band is hot in 2035 to care about anything that you once thought was cool. But, when you get the chance, pull them out of their hi-tech rooms and introduce them some music from the original pop princes.
8. 21 — Adele
When your kids go through their first breakups, they’re going to need Adele just as much as you did in 2011 when the album was first released.
9. 1989 — Taylor Swift
Hopefully by the time your kids get around to listening to this, Taylor Swift will be so vintage and cool, you won’t have to convince them to do it.
10. FutureSex/LoveSounds — Justin Timberlake
Ignore the suggestive title — that might make sharing this album with your kids feel kinda icky. Because seriously, this one is incredible and needs to be passed on for generations to come.
11. Britney — Britney Spears
This was Britney when Britney found her groove. Post-bubble-gum pop Britney and pre-breakdown Britney, this album captures some of the pop princess’ hottest tracks.
12. The Immaculate Collection — Madonna
Because no musical education is complete without a little Madonna.
13. Lemonade — Beyoncé
It took all my strength not to add all of Beyoncé’s albums to this list... but if I had to choose one, it would be this.
14. Tragic Kingdom — No Doubt
This album is a feminist's dream. Let it change your kids' lives the same way it changed yours.
15. Spice World — Spice Girls
Power to the world. Every boy and every girl. And that includes the children you one day create. Don’t deny them the sheer bliss experience of listening to the Spice Girls for the first time in their lives.
16. Ten — Pearl Jam
This debut album from the band that made flannels cool again was likely the soundtrack to your childhood. Let it be the soundtrack to your children’s lives, too.
Help your future kids get to know good music early. Let these albums dictate their musical education, and they’ll grow up with a solid foundation for exploring new tunes for years to come.