The Princess Who Saved Herself

August 16th, 2010

Look everyone, Len made an image for a new Jonathan Coulton song! That hasn’t happened in about 50 years it seems like. For those who don’t know (is there anyone?) Len Peralta is the talented visual artist person who made an image for each Thing a Week song way back when. Above is the image he made to go with my new song.

I was asked to contribute a new song to this CD of kid’s music called Many Hands, the proceeds of which benefit the Haitian Peopleā€™s Support Project. It’s an amazing list of artists – Dan Zanes, TMBG, frigging Pete Seeger – so I was honored to be invited. I wrote a song called “The Princess Who Saved Herself” because my daughter is obsessed with princesses, so I am forced to think and talk about them a lot. None of them really kick ass as much as I hope my daughter kicks ass when she’s all grown up, so I made up one that does (she ate a whole cake!). All recorded at home old school style, with a little assist from my sister in the comedic harpsichord bridge.

It’s for charity, so I’m not going to give it away here, but you can listen and buy at iTunes and Amazon. The song is exclusive to this CD, and the CD itself is a fantastically large and delicious collection of family music, so you should probably buy the whole thing anyway.

AND, question for the parental section of the hive mind: what are your top five family friendly tracks of mine? What’s a hit with the kids and also guaranteed not to embarrass you in front of other parents? Radio stations are asking and I’m not sure what to tell them. Not First of May, right?

85 responses to “The Princess Who Saved Herself”

  1. xbolt says:

    Still Alive
    I’m Your Moon
    The Presidents
    I Feel Fantastic
    Code Monkey

    Mandelbrot Set is my personal favorite of your songs. Though, I don’t know what you could replace That One Line with in order to make it kid-friendly…

  2. Mike says:

    JoCo has already provided a PG version of Mandelbrot Set:

  3. Christine says:

    I have two kiddos, ages 4 and 7, and here’s their list of favorite JoCo songs:

    1. Better “Mommy, why does his girlfriend want to turn herself into a robot?”
    2. DNA – I often hear one of ’em singing/shouting “Baby, that spells DNA!”
    3. Code Monkey, of course
    4. I’m your Moon (granted, this is because it’s one of my all time faves)
    5. Their favorite of all, Lady Aberlin’s Mumu!!

  4. Derek says:

    I cover Re: Your Brains on piano, and my six-year old niece loves it. She’ll request “the brains song” every time she comes over. There’s something very sweet about a 6 year old girl singing “All we want to do is eat your brains.”

  5. Jon Sills says:

    I actually sing your songs often at my shows (they get a better crowd reaction than my originals, you dick) and oddly enough, the favorites even among entire families is;

    “Re: Your Brains” and
    “Skullcrusher Mountain”.

    “Still Alive” also, but i think that’s just because they all play video games. Does that count?

  6. Love that song, Len it kind of a genius like you.


  7. Linda says:

    Not long ago my small child and I were dancing in the kitchen to something random on the iTunes share. This conversation ensued:

    Her: Mom, can you make the music better?
    Me: Um, do you mean louder?
    Her: No, make the music better.
    Me: What do you mean, more bass? Less bass? Oh no — do you mean you want me to stop singing?
    Her: (with an eye roll well beyond her age) Mom. The song about the guy whose girlfriend is turning into a robot. You know. Make the music Better.

    (So obviously that one’s a fave. Also: Pizza Day, I’m Having a Party, and Mr. Fancypants.)

  8. coffinjumper says:

    My 3 year old nephew absolutely loves I Feel Fantastic, Ikea, and Code Monkey. He rather likes Chiron Beta Prime and The Future Soon too, as well as Still Alive, but those three are the ones he makes me repeat endlessly.

  9. Jace says:

    Bought the Princess song and TMBG’s song (My Name is Kingof Socks) from iTunes. Good stuff.

    Best kid-friendly JoCo songs:
    Chiron Beta Prime
    My Beige Bear
    Space Doggity
    That Spells DNA
    Todd the T1000
    I’m Having a Party
    Creepy Doll
    Mr. Fancy Pants
    My Monkey
    Furry Old Lobster
    Stroller Town
    The Future Soon

  10. hugo says:

    My little girl (3) loves the Princess who saved herself, but she loves the art. Amazing work.

  11. Charlie says:

    Big at our house w/6 & 9 year old: Creepy Doll, Still Alive, RE: Your Brains, Skullcrusher Mountain, Podsafe Christmas Song, Mr. Fancy Pants (live extended version), Always the Moon, Mandelbrot Set (with strategic loud parental throat-clearing).

    Sometimes my daughter busts out with Millionaire Girlfriend, but we don’t encourage it.

  12. Gabe says:

    My 3 fav kid friendly songs?

    You ruined everything
    The future soon
    Tom cruise crazy – skullcrusher mountain cant decide

  13. Gabe says:

    ohh princess who saved herself too cant forget that, publicity is your friend

  14. Cat Rennolds says:

    My kids are teens now but back when they weren’t:

    Skullcrusher Mountain
    Code Monkey
    RE: Your Brains

    Still Alive is now the reigning favorite.

    Best Fun Ever: Playing this stuff for my mom. Who laughed until she cried.

  15. Kat says:

    I don’t have kids yet so I’ll weigh in on the princesses who kick ass – – I highly recommend Patricia Wrede’s Enchanted Forest books (more for older kids than little ones but hey) The trouble she has convincing the knights who come to rescue her from the dragon that she doesn’t *want* to be rescued and actually quite likes it there, thank you, is hilarious.

  16. This sentence will contradict itself at the end says:

    My six-year-old brother loves “Mandelbrot set”, but there’s obviously that one line in the chorus that wouldn’t be considered family-friendly…
    Aside from that…
    1. I’m Your Moon (All time favorite, tied with Mandelbrot Set.)
    2. You Ruined Everything
    3. My Beige Bear
    4. I Crush Everything
    5. Big Bad World One (I know that this isn’t something that little kids can relate to directly, but it’s clean and really really good.)

  17. Joanthan says:

    My 8 year old sister loves Mr. Fancy Pants and Still Alive. I haven’t had her listen to the Princess Who Saved Herself, but I’m sure she would be all over it.

  18. Grahm says:

    My 8 year old daughter loves Still Alive and Re: Your Brains. She knew all the words to Still Alive before I did.

  19. Christine says:

    Gah, am I chiming in too late? My 6yr old boy loves:



    Mr Fancy Pants

    Still Alive (tho I think he prefers the GLADos version)

    Mandelbrot Set – MOSTLY because it contains the world’s worst swear and I laugh when he belts it out – got to quit doing that . . .

    Interestingly, he’s been requesting your cover of Famous Blue Raincoat – not sure why it would resonate with a little boy, but there you go.

  20. Danny says:

    I’d say


    Pizza Day

    Dance, Soterios Johnson, Dance

    Chiron Beta Prime

    and Todd The T1000

  21. J says:

    I heard this on Kids Place Live. I asked my 6 yr old, “do you know who this is?” “No.”
    “It’s the guy who sings about the zombies, and the brains.”
    “Oh, I thought his voice was familiar. Cool!”

    We heartily approve.

    Top 5 with the stated rules (he loves many more but, for example, knows not to sing RE: Your Brains in front of his grandmother):

    Mr. Fancy Pants
    Creepy Doll (although when he was 5 this song used to scare him)
    You Ruined Everything
    I’m Your Moon (although he keeps telling me Pluto is a dwarf planet)
    That Spells DNA (beats TMBG’s Cells)

  22. Dave says:

    I haven’t seen Soft Rocked By Me listed. I have a “Daddy sings” mix for lullaby tunes, and this is my favorite for our 18-month-old. My daughter’s in love with a man who’s sensitive.

    Will need to snag the PG Mandelbrot set. My wife and I sing Shop Vac a lot (I’m in the basement a lot, too…).

    Alas, we still like First of May. Will need to guard our playlist when the kid gets old enough to know better…

  23. Nonpython says:

    As a nonparent person, I do still recommend My Beige Bear. I find myself randomly shouting lines from that song all the time! šŸ˜›

  24. Anthony says:

    The Presidents would be an amazing song for kids if not for a few spots (which, unfortunately, goes for a lot of your songs).

    But, in no particular order Mr. Fancy Pants, The Future Soon, and My Beige Bear.

  25. Cheryl says:

    I think Craig’s idea about recording “family-friendly” versions of some of your songs that currently have “bad words” in them is a good one. No one’s saying you should abolish the originals, and you can sing whichever version you want in concert. But I’m sure many parents would be thrilled to have “clean” alternatives. And the “clean” versions would be radio-friendly too. Although I have to agree with whoever said “bad-ass fucking fractal” was one of your best lines and there’s no good way to modify it.

    BTW, I’m no parent, but I think “I’m Your Moon” and “You Ruined Everything” are good kid songs.

  26. Spencer says:

    My little brother (9) loves Tom Cruise Crazy, Mr. Fancy Pants, and Blue Sunny Day the best. Sorry though, dude, He prefers it when GLaDOS sings still alive. (not me though)

  27. Chris says:

    My kids love most of you collection.

    Some of their favorites, I picked 10 (2 Kids x 5 Songs):

    1) Anything with Monkey in the title.
    2) Furry Old Lobster
    3) I’m Your Moon
    4) Re: your Brains (The French version is a hit as well)
    5) Mr. Fancy Pants (Especially the RickRoll version)
    6) I’m Having a Party
    7) Skull Crusher Mountain
    8) Still Alive
    9) Ikea
    10) The Future Soon

    I would like echo the sentiments of Cheryl. I too would like some clean versions, not just to play for my children but to play in class with my students. You lyrics for the most part are very kid friendly and your songs have a nice tempo to them as well. They would be a big hit with my students and a great alternative to the vapid lyrics of today’s pop stars. Heck i would like you to go one step further and make a kids album similar in style to the efforts of TMBG and Barenaked Ladies. Both made albums for children that adults like to listen to as well.

  28. charles says:

    okay, i have to tell you, i put a collection of 33 JC Tunes on both my 7 and 11 year-old daughters’ mp3 players, so trying to cull out five songs isn’t easy, but i asked daughter number one last night for her 5 fave tunes of yers, and she gave me these, in no particular order:

    *) blue sunny day
    *) chiron beta prime
    *) make you cry
    *) skullcrusher mountain
    *) i feel fantastic

    but she said if she were recommending for littler kids, she’s have to put ‘mister fancy pants’ on there, too.

    btw, my list would be pretty much the same as hers, but i’d replace ‘chiron beta prime’ with ‘always the moon’ – and i’d try to fit shop vac in, too, somehow – well, maybe ‘octupus,’ as well. gaahhh! see, i can’t keep it to just five songs, just sayin.

  29. nrfountain says:

    I love love love princess who saved herself… always seem to spend an extra few minutes in the car when i get home cuz it always comes on when i open my garage door after a day of shopping :) Reminds me of one of my favorite stories when i was younger… the Paper Bag Princess. YOU ROCK!

  30. Leslie says:

    “W’s Duty”…duh! But, I do have boys… Also “Bacteria” is great, it helps with all the hand washing. Plus, all those others everybody else said.

  31. Matt G says:

    I helped drive around boys ages six to twelve, and they soon requested (and knew all the lyrics, and could sing entirely without the song playing):

    The Future Soon
    Code Monkey
    Still Alive
    Re: Your Brains

    They also enjoyed Tom Cruise Crazy and I’m Your Moon, but they couldn’t sing them. The two who were musicians learned to play Still Alive from some piano music I found online, and were much more dedicated about practicing that than their regular piano assignments.

  32. Chris B says:

    How do I get a copy of that to frame and put on the wall. It’s an awesome image and my two girls absolutely love the song. I went right out and got the album for the one song.

  33. Angi says:

    My 9yo daughter Cagney as you know is such a “Skullcrusher Mountain” fan that she chose as her audition piece for the school play AND got the part! We think she kicks ass, and she loves princesses, too. Don’t worry daughters can both love princesses and kick ass. :)

    My 11yo son is certain that you can read his mind and that must be why you wrote “Future Soon”. It’s his favorite.

    “Fancypants”, “Chiron Beta Prime”, and the PG version of “Code Monkey” round out their faves.

  34. Craig says:

    I really enjoy The Princess Who Saved Herself, a great tune and theme. It gets played frequently on Sirius/XM Kids Satellite Radio.

  35. Ben says:

    I have a six-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy.

    They love:

    * Mr. Fancy Pants
    * Blue Sunny Day
    * Ikea