Friday, July 23, 2010

Pop Musings

Jennifer Lopez, a booty like pow pow pow.
You know, that last post just scratched the surface of all the rules and regulations that we artists have to live by and how this comes into conflict with our lives as parents. So I felt like I had to delve into another subject, at least a little bit. Music. The codes on musical tastes aren't quite as stringent as long as certain criteria are met. For example one doesn't have to like punk or any indie rock necessarily. They can legally listen to country music as long as it predates the 1970's, though there are exceptions. Any country singer with three names is allowed, like Jerry Jeff Walker or Robert Earl Keen. Anything just totally over the top works as well, like Charlie Daniels, though this is probably listened to in an ironic sense. But still, if its older then its better is the general rule.
Classical music is tolerated, but it should be experimental or highly obscure - Erik Satie always impresses. Funk, metal, soul, folk, electronica, r&b, jazz, hip hop and even disco (with restrictions) are all acceptable form of audio entertainment. Even Fischerspooner is allowed on your mp3 player, but why?
In general the rules are simple. Obscurity ranks very high. Band names that include animals are good: Grizzly Bear, Arctic Monkeys. Old music is preferred because it is old. Inclusiveness and diversity are also highly prized. In fact, the more genres you have on your ipod the better. But pop music is strictly forbidden.
So what happens when an artist's children pass the Yo Gabba Gabba! stage? They turn to pop music, that's what. They like the Black Eyed Peas, and they LOVE lady Gaga. At least my children do, though much to my chagrin. Now I have friends in artistic circles that claim that their children hate pop music and have a cultivated taste in music. But I know by experience that children loathe Tom Waits, so I suspect that these parents are either lying, or keeping VERY strict control over what their children hear, or simply brainwashing them - all to avoid embarrassment at mixed company, all age dinner parties. To these parents I say you're missing out. Missing out on the chance to ridicule your children when they become teens. And missing out on a lot of laughs. There are some real doozies out there. Following are a few of my musings over the last year or so of listening to my kids music choices (thankfully the lyrics seem to pass them by, at least for now, or at least all they hear are the radio edits)...

Akon - in one of his songs he notes that he's noticed a certain lady on the dance floor who has really caught his attention. He seems to be tongue tied because he is trying to find a way to describe this woman without being disrespectful. His solution? "Damn, you a sexy bitch!"

Pitbull, he's got a nice sex party anthem called Hotel Room. My favorite line... "We at the hotel, motel, Holiday Inn!" Really? A pop star can't afford something better than the Holiday Inn?

A more recent one. Usher. "Honey got a booty like pow pow pow. Honey got some boobies like wow, oh wow!" Seems he's hired a 14 year old boy to write his lyrics.

Then there's Ke$ha. "My status is gonna be affected if I keep it up like a lovesick crackhead." She's got a slef destructive obsession with a boy but she's worried about her Facebook status.

But my favorite story of all time happened last summer. I was walking with Cyrus one evening and a fire truck stormed by us. Cy asked where it was going. I said they were probably going to put out a fire.
"How do they know where the fire is Daddy?"
"Some called 911, I suppose," I replied.
"Oh," he said. "Shorty's fire must be burnin' on the dance floor."

Artwork by Deborah Cushman

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