Our unusually dark and strange family lullaby

About two years ago, I sat down with my infant son to rock him to sleep. Regina Spektor’s song On the Radio was running through my head, so I decided to sing it to him. He smiled and slowly fell asleep.

That same night, my three year-old daughter asked me to sing to her before bed. With On the Radio still in my head, I sang it to her as well.


Two years later, this song has become my children’s lullaby. It is the most requested song at bedtime, and my song specifically requests it by name. Both of my children know all the words, and my son will often sing it with me.

It occurs to me that this is not your usual lullaby. While the song has a slow, steady beat, the lyrics are oftentimes odd and nonsensical and cover topics that you wouldn’t expect to find in a lullaby, including:

  • Driving a hearse into a crowd of people
  • Laughing until you’re dead
  • Locating worms to increase the rate of decay
  • Being stung by a million bees
  • Diseased loved ones
  • A Guns N’ Roses song
  • Growing old
  • The end of love
  • Breathing your last breath

I anticipate many questions when our children get older.

Questions like, “What the hell were you thinking?” and “Of all the songs you could’ve chosen, why one about decay and death and worms?”

My answer will be simple:

“You liked it.”