Friday, January 13, 2012

Lyrically Speaking

Do you know all of the lyrics to LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem? How about all of the words to the 1-800-411- PAIN song? Okay, okay, then you must know all of the words to Katy Perry's  Extraterrestrial...

I am guessing that no adult listens to music the way that 6 (almost 7!) year old Blade does. And none of us are soon to forget them, the way that he chants (repeatedly) all of the words to his favorite songs. I used to do the same thing, except that I was changing the words to Madonna's Material Girl to words that actually fit my status in life (Cheer-i-oooo, A Cheer-i-oooo Girl...).

The other night as we are doing a super fun project with the kids, Blade begins singing Extraterrestrial, sometimes changing the words from "Kiss me, K-k-k-k-kiss me" to "Kill me". I look up at the Scare Bear. "Have you actually listened to the words of that song? I can't even listen to that song."

"No, they play it on the radio, it can't be that bad right?"

Here are some of the lyrics to Extraterrestrial:

Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me
Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your poison

Take me, ta-ta-take me
I wanna be a victim 
I'm ready for abduction

It's not even that these are the words that are being sung by Katy herself, it's the words that Kanye uses (I am not going to put them on here) in his rap that make me feel all dirty and oogy inside. This is a song that is catchy, kids have really latched on to it (not just Blade) and the best I can tell it is a woman asking to be raped by a willing participant (alien or not). I just don't know that this is appropriate music for a 6 (almost 7!) year old boy to listen to or know all of the words to.

Before I had Z, I was all about the freedom of artistic expression. I purchased CDs with the parental advisory labels, I listened to loud, angry, rap. I criticized radio that I had thought had gone too far in the censoring of some songs and questioned why others were played at all when the majority of the lyrics had been edited.

The world was a different place when I was a kid. Sure, we listened to Puff the Magic Dragon, but we didn't know that it was a song about pot. We rallied with Pink Floyd when they demanded that teachers leave those kids alone and I was probably about 7 the first time that I saw Tommy.

Kids are so much smarter now than we were when we were that age. By the time that they are 7, they have been on the internet for years (it hadn't even been invented when I was 7), they use gadgets and devices with ease. We could pass him knowing these lyrics off by saying that he doesn't understand most of what is coming out of his mouth and he is just regurgitating modern poetry - but does it seem like 6 year old Sophia Grace doesn't understand the lyrics that she is singing?

I think it would be unfair to assume Blade's innocence and not have an open discussion with him about why these lyrics are inappropriate - not just for him - but for everyone (save for the college girls at the clubs on Friday nights).

The only question that I am left with is, if a 6 (almost 7 year old) cannot listen to pop music on the radio - what is left for him to listen to? Have we come so far in stealing music away from children that they are now reduced to not being able to listen to it at all? 

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