Music These Days
Mum, are they saying the B-word?
You know, on the radio is he saying Sexy B-word? asks my 6-year old.
AUGGH! Do I say yes or no? Too late.
They are saying the B-word! he realizes.
Is it too much to ask that the titles of songs that are played on mainstream radio do not have swear words in them, or at least words that are demeaning to women?
“Listen mum, I finally figured out the first verse listen:
She was a bottle blonde
She had her 7's on
When I think about it now
Just a cougar on the prowl
She was hotter then hell
Had me under her spell
Got that ass doin yoga
Didn't care that she’s older”
Fantastic. Is it me? Or does every song on the radio have to do with sex and one night stands? And my boys have that strange male talent of hearing a song once and then remembering the words (they can also do that with the odd Fairly Odd Parents episode which is equally frightening). But they have no understanding of the sexual world and I hate that this is their exposure to it.
Once we left the Wiggles behind, it’s been hard to find music that doesn’t set off major alarm bells. But we do not live in a bubble and we try and temper their exposure with firm parental guidance – all songs must be ok’d before they get downloaded (sometimes one slips by – not naming any names here, cough, cough, dad)
Media literacy is very important in our house and we try and make sure that the kids feel comfortable asking us questions and showing us what they are into. While the current Top 10 isn’t my choice in music I try and stay familiar with it so I can at least have a semi-knowledgeable conversation with my iTunes obsessed 9-year old. I tell myself, that while I can’t stop him from being exposed to questionable music, I can at least give him some tools for interpretation – and those will last longer than his memory.
We had a long chat about Chris Brown and why I wouldn’t buy his music. Aaron felt that the music was more important than the person’s image or history. And I tried to give him context, I’m not sure I succeeded in convincing him, but at least I planted a little seed.
He used to be into Green Day which I approved of much more than say, Fire Burning (just try and get that song out of your head now!). Green Day has a lot swearing in it but the message is thoughtful and relevant. When he asked us why they swear in his favourite song American Idiot we printed out the lyrics and had a thoughtful conversation about why Green Day would say “mindf*ck America”. Those are conversations that can lead to big moments and are worthwhile. There was a point to the use of language.
I couldn’t get them on to my Kings of Leon kick, and the Glee soundtrack wasn’t a good family compromise (hubby hated it). So I am working on K’naan –he is Canadian of Somalian birth and has an incredible story and his music pleases us all. Waving Flags is the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer (this is the slow, acoustic version from appearance on Q, CBC Radio).
Meanwhile, I can’t really explain why David Guetta and Akon decided on Sexy Bitch, and I hate them even more for having such a catchy song.