Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Talk About Pop Music

I know many parents who have a strict “No kids’ music” policy in place in their households, and I can certainly respect that. Chip has that policy in his car, as a matter of fact. However, I have no such policy.

Why, you ask? It really boils down to my love of pop music and my considerable knowledge of pop lyrics. It’s fun to know the song you’re listening to and to be able to sing along. (If you don’t believe me, ask anyone you know who has ever been in a band. Do people get more excited about the originals or the cover of The One I Love?)

I was really struck by this when Connor was younger and just learning enough words to offer up a verse of “Row Row Row Your Boat.” He loved to listen to songs on the radio that he knew and could sing along to. To be sure, we steered him toward music we liked, but for the most part it was either too difficult for him to learn the words, or too inappropriate. So I broke down and got a CD of “children's classics.” Sure, the songs got old quick- especially since I have listened to it approximately 8,497 times in the past three years. But Connor loved it, and has managed to still enjoy it through Chloe’s time as the target audience. They can sing along, they can clap to the beat, and it helps them enjoy our considerable commute.

The problem is, these songs are not any more appropriate for children than 311, Death Cab, or any of the other “real” music my kids like! The two Disney classic CDs I have basically consist of pop songs from 100 years ago. These are not kids’ songs- I got ripped off! (Amazingly, the Lazytown CD that Chloe forces down my throat is way more child-friendly than the Disney stuff, despite sounding like the house music from 616 circa 1992.)
Check out these examples:
The Man on the Flying Trapeze - All the girls he does please? That makes me blush.
Camptown Races-A song about gambling. Outstanding.
Ten Little Indians-Dude- it’s 2008.
Animal Fair- You don’t know the lyrics to this, but trust me when I say a drunken monkey is prominently involved.
Sailing Medley-What do you do with a drunken sailor? I don’t want Chloe to know the answer to that question for a long time.
On Top of Old Smokey- It’s a classic, alright- a classic about losing your lover. The word lover is used about a million times in this song. (Besides- I always thought courting too slow was a GOOD thing.)
There Was an Old Lady- “Perhaps she’ll die” is the line repeated most often in this song. And then at the end she DIES.
Old Blue- Almost a harmless song about a dog, right up until the dog DIES.
"You put your little head in
You put your little head out
You give your head a shake shake shake
and turn yourself about"
Um yeah- that’s what she said.

These songs lead either to awkward conversations with the kids or fits of giggles from me, but at least the ride in is entertaining. I’m sure in 100 years toddlers across the universe will be singing along to Bootylicious while their parents shake their heads in confusion. Unless the music is piped directly into speakers implanted in our brains by then. If so, the parents of the future have got it made!


The Saucier said...

Prude much? I say switch to all Prince. And for the record, the best stories all conclude with the death of one or more main characters. Old Blue had it coming. So did that old lady.

Anonymous said...

I do know the lyrics to Animal Fair! I loved that song when I was little and I still have the cassette tape from way back then. ha. Yea, it's crazy some of the things you hear in kids songs. Nursery rhymes, too. I love them though!

Unknown said...

It's all Three-Six Mafia, all the time for The Quartet, mother@&#%*$.

Ginger said...

Two words: Dan Zanes

I listen to it in the car when Walt's not even in there. I kid you not.

Shannon said...

I would double Lazytown's entendre:

We got us a map to lead us to a hidden box,
Thats all locked up with locks and buried deep away.
We'll dig up the box, we know it's full of precious booty
Burst open the locks, and then we'll say 'HOORAY!'

Yah - har - fiddle-dee-dee, being a pirate is all right to be!
Do what you want 'cause a pirate is free, you are a pirate!
Arr - yarr - ahoy and avast, dig in the dirt and you dig in it fast!

Ad-wenture waits on every shore Steph!

Land, ho!