Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mom-Approved Song Lyrics

In the Thursday, August 2, 2012 edition of The Wall Street Journal, I read an article by Katherine Rosman titled, "Inside the Hit Factory for Kids." The article is a feature on the Kidz Bop franchise, which covers popular songs, substituting mom-approved lyrics.

This article gets me to thinking more and more about how music and television influence our young people. The Lil Diva (now 11, then 10) danced to three numbers this year--all of which were to songs I didn't care for:  "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO, "Turn Me On" by Niki Minaj, and Enrique Iglesias's "I Like It." While I expressed my displeasure, the overall feeling was that the girls were getting older and this type of music is appropriate for their age group.

I disagree. The version of "Party Rock Anthem" was not the vulgar one, but the other two songs were the standard radio versions. What 10-year-old should be thinking about being turned on by a guy or dancing to a song that obviously has nothing to do with dancing? The lyrics of "I Like It" are:

Girl, please excuse me
If I'm coming too strong
But tonight is the night
We can really let go

My girlfriend's out of town
And I'm all alone
Your boyfriend's on vacation
And he doesn't have to know

No, oh, oh, oh, oh
No one can do the things
I'm gonna wanna do to you

No, oh, oh, oh, oh
Shout aloud, screaming loud
Let me hear you go

So, we have a guy coming onto a girl at a club, encouraging her to cheat on her boyfriend. Nice. Oh, and let's not forget no one can do the things to her that he can and there will be screaming involved. Yes, that sounds appropriate for a group of 10- and 11-year-old girls. 

I almost flipped when I heard the Lil Diva's teacher played "I'm Sexy And I Know It" in her classroom. Many of her teachers have played music, but they've avoided the racier songs.

I think it really hits home when a little girl like Sophia Grace Brownlee is singing "Super Bass" by Niki Minaj which talks about a nice looking guy that she wants to kiss on the lips because he's the kind of dude she's looking for. He's a hell of a guy after all and somebody better tell him who the eff she is. Now, she's on Ellen and everyone thinks it's so cute she's singing Niki's songs.

As a writer, I appreciate freedom of speech. I'm not one of those people who is going to go after the music industry and try to get albums removed from the market. It comes down to choices--choices we as parents make for our kids. We can't always control what our children are exposed to outside of our homes, but we can control what they are exposed to inside. We can also balance what they are exposed to elsewhere by having meaningful discussions with them about why we are opposed to certain things. My girls and I often have these discussions in the car, but I like to have them here at home too, when I can provide them with my full attention.

One of the greatest things about the Lil Diva getting older is that she can truly understand what I'm saying. She can listen to what I have to say and make her own decision. Many times she comes to a conclusion similar to mine. That might not always be the case, but the foundation is being laid for her, so she has something to build on.

What do you think about today's lyrics? Do you monitor what music your kids listen to?

1 comment:

Patty Woodland said...

I'm not sure I am in agreement with one artist changing the lyrics to another artist's work. Even if I don't like what is being said the artist has the right to say it. I just won't listen.

I also must admit to not listening to music much. But I do remember "the olden days" when I was younger and I am not so sure that I paid so much attention to the lyrics as I did the music. Perhaps it's the same now? They might not even comprehend what the songs are inferring.

I stick to broadway or classical when I put music on at all