Welcome to the latest installment of our new feature, The Guest List! We're flipping the script on our "Set List" feature and asking artists to give their own “Top 5" on a number of topics. For this instalment, we turned to Adam Carson of AFI. With their 11th studio album, Bodies, set to release just before Father's Day on June 11th, we decided to ask what 5 songs reminded him of his kids/fatherhood in this special Father's Day edition of The Guest List.
"Kooks" by David Bowie
When our first child, Luka, was in utero we played this song to her hundreds of times. My wife had read an article about babies exposed to music in utero and the idea is you pick a song to play to the child in the womb, and then once the baby is born that particular song can have a calming effect on the infant. We would play it on our phones daily and put it near her stomach. I didn't have any expectations, but it totally worked! Whenever Luka was upset or colicky, "Kooks" helped soothe her. We played it so frequently that our year-end Spotify "stats" put us in the top .001% of worldwide Bowie listeners. The song itself is a sweet little song Bowie wrote for his son when he was born. It's full of good parental wisdom -- such as burning your homework whenever school bums you out.
"As" by Stevie Wonder
Four years later we have repeated our "in utero musical experiment" with our second child, Selah. Time will tell if it is as successful in soothing a screaming child but, at the very least, "As" is a beautiful song by Stevie Wonder about the most unconditional love imaginable -- which seemed appropriate -- and hearing it daily was not hard work.
"Father & Son" by Cat Stevens
This Cat Stevens duet with himself has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid and my relationship with it has evolved as I've grown older. I was firmly in the "son" camp in my youth, always in a hurry to grow older and impatient for real "life" to begin. These days, as a father myself, I appreciate the wisdom in encouraging kids to slow down -- the world will be there waiting for them when they are ready. My children are very young but I can already sense the mixture of emotions I will have when they are ready to venture out into the world on their own.
"Beautiful Boy" by John Lennon
No personal anecdote here other than this is a perfect song about loving and protecting your child.
"Children of the Future" by Steve Miller Band
This song and album remind me of my dad. Thankfully still with us, he is, to this day, profoundly shaped by his experiences playing music during (probably) the most exciting and revolutionary era in modern musical history. He describes playing music during the height of the mid-to-late '60s San Francisco psychedelic music scene as an explosion of expression and creativity. He still refers to himself as a "child of the future." I think it is his understanding and visceral experience of the joy and transcendence of collaborating and playing music during that time that helped him swallow the bitter pill of his kid dropping out of college years later to pursue his own dream of playing in a band.