Mommy A to Z

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M is for… Music (Or, It’s Time to Put Away My Snoop Dogg CDs)

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Recently, I was driving in the car with my daughter, when Justin Timberlake came on the radio. Without thinking, I started bopping my head. I had showered that morning. I was wearing a clean shirt. Hell, yeah, I was bringing sexy back.

All of a sudden, from the back seat, I heard the following.

“You know what, Mommy? When he says ‘I’m bringing shezzy back,’ it’s really catchy.”

Umm, yes. Really catchy. Needless to say, I turned the station. Good-bye Justin, hello Adam Levine.

Lately my 6-year-old daughter has become more interested in music. She knows songs on the radio that I don’t even know, lyrics and all. And so, when playing my music on shuffle in the car, I’ve had to be more careful. Like when Snoop Dogg suddenly comes on, announcing “I got b—-s in the living room, gettin it on” or tenderly reminds his lady “I don’t love you hoes, I’m out the do’.”

Which, with my daughter in the back seat, makes me do some serious thinking.

Back in the day, when my girlfriends and I were dancing to these songs on sticky frat house floors, pretending not to gag on our Pabst Blue Ribbon, we all knew there was something wrong with this music. But we tacitly agreed to ignore the disturbing misogyny and rampant use of the “b” word because, well, the music was so damn catchy. (You know… it was like this and like that and like this and uh.) Maybe it was the Jäger Bombs, but for some reason we were all happy to “jump around” to a bunch of smug dudes with microphones declaring “if your girl steps up, I’m smacking the ho.” Hey, it’s just music, right?

Maybe, but I’ll be damned if I’ll let my 6-six-year-old hear any of it. She’s going to have to be a lot older before she’s ready to — what, exactly? Give up her self-respect for a cool beat and an excuse to get some guy on the dance floor? I’m not gonna lie. My husband and I still play classic hip-hop on Pandora and “drop it like it’s hot” from time to time. But more often than not, we find ourselves skipping past our old favorites because, well, we’d like to avoid dirty looks at the playground should our kid start waxing philosophical about b—-s and hoes. And, if I’m honest, these days “Doggystyle” and “The Chronic” make me kind of uncomfortable — even when the kids aren’t around. I guess, over the years, I’ve grown up, and the misogyny (not to mention everything else going on in those songs) doesn’t seem so lighthearted anymore.

Not that questionable lyrics are limited to my ’90s CD collection. Hearing my daughter trying to sing along to “Blurred Lines” makes me want to gag a little. Even Meghan Trainor, with all her junk “in all the right places” makes for some awkward sing-a-longs — especially when my 2-year-old son tries to get in the mix.

So where does that leave me? I suppose there’s a vast, safe land of Taylor Swift and Maroon 5 out there, with plenty of benign, catchy beats. But really, has it come to this? I mean, my parents raised me on Pink Floyd and the Stones. I saw Nirvana at Roseland Ballroom. I threatened to move out of our new apartment because my now-husband lent my Beastie Boys CD to a neighbor. I can’t just “Shake It Off.” If I have to hear Adam Levine howling one more time through the radio, I may develop road rage. Music has always been my “thing” — are my only choices now “Wheels on the Bus” or Katy Perry?

I’m not giving up. There’s a whole world of classic rock out there, with ten-minute guitar solos and no mention of women’s genitalia. Not to mention a decade’s-worth of Reagan-era innocence, where a man’s greatest vice was wearing his sunglasses at night. And when all else fails, there’s always Journey. Because there is nothing wrong with Journey. Ever. And so my kids and I can road trip on this summer, accompanied by tunes we can all appreciate, without any talk of b—-s or pop-induced traffic accidents.

As for my collection of ’90s hip-hop and gangta rap? It’ll just have to chill, ’til the next episode.

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29 Comments

  1. Hahaha, we’ve had this same experience, with Snoop Dogg no less! And maybe Nelly too. I just can’t deal with “toddler” music but we’re trying to keep it a little more kid friendly – 80s pop music, anyone?

    • Just stay away from (some) Madonna, Samantha Fox, and George Michael, and you should have a pretty good ’80s music experience! Yeah, Nelly may have to go the way of Snoop. Oh well! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I like this share, it reminded me of how much I really love music all types of music and can’t imagine not enjoying certain tones because my daughter is around. When she was younger I just made sure I taught her another word to replace something she wasn’t suppose to repeat but we never censored. Outside our home we weren’t going to be able to control that so might as well teach her properly around us. She’s 20 now she turned out pretty well Snoop and Eminem didn’t hurt her at all lol!!! Did I see Public Enemy in that mix! Love them

    • Yes, yes you did. Public Enemy, Snoop, Dre… I somehow amassed quite the collection over the years. None of which I ever play anymore. I like your point about exposing the kids to things they’re going to hear outside the house. Maybe when the kiddos are a little older. Until then, the “tricks and hoes” will have to stay inside the box.

  3. Meredith, I loved this! Like so much. I sang along to words in this post upwards of ten times. I think about this a lot too. For us, it includes country music. It will never be “cute” to hear your six-year old sing “Hey, Bartender, going out tonight.” Sigh. Let’s just “Journey” together then, shall we?

    • Love it! I won’t “stop believing” if you don’t! (Never thought about those boozy country lyrics. Yikes!)

  4. I brought my daughter up on classic rock and some heavy metal. Plenty of misogyny in those lyrics, too. You can’t escape it. I just played what I liked and kept her busy so she was distracted from the lyrics. Most of the time she couldn’t make them out or understand the message. But, for a time back then, the language was cleaner even if the message was the same.

    • I think the lyrics were a little more subtle back then, even if they were about the same thing. So adults got the idea and kids could remain clueless. It’s hard to misunderstand bitches and hoes. Plus the beats are insanely catchy, which doesn’t help.

  5. haha This is too true. My son LOVES music and is constantly requesting that it be put on. I try to give him a variety. We often put on Disney channel radio, classic rock, reggae, Coldplay type stuff and even classical music. I usually put on the alternative rock station in the car because the lyrics aren’t usually bad (or you can’t understand what they are saying anyway haha).

    • I wish we had an alternative rock station. You’re right, no one knows what the heck those lyrics are about. Here in NY it’s all hip hop and Maroon 5. All day long. Every. single. day. Sigh.

  6. This post had me laughing, but it is so true about the bad lyrics! I also used to drop it like it’s hot and sometimes still do! Most of the time when the kids are around we are jamming out comfortably to the Christian radio station.

  7. That is too funny. I’ve recently been thinking about this same thing, as my 5 year old is very observant and questions everything. There is some great kids music out there that’s not all “wheels on the bus” There’s some great folk/singer/songwriters that have made some cool kids music that doesn’t make me want to shove cotton in my ears. :)

    • Yes, definitely some great singer/songwriters out there. Someone recently gave me a CD of kids music made by the lead singer of The Presidents of the United States of America (remember them?). It’s great that some of these musicians are now making kids music!

  8. I’ve often wondered at what age the lyrics infiltrate. We love all these bands you mentioned. Huge Beastie Boy fans. I’ve had to do the quick change the song especially with Ice-T many of times. Nothing he made is kid friendly. I loved every sentiment & nostalgia you expressed in this post. Great job!

    • Thanks, Rachel! Yeah, not too kid-friendly, these bands we once loved. It’s hard because you want to share your musical taste and those things that were important to you with your kids, but you don’t want to scar them for life either. Well, at least the Beastie Boys have a few clean ones!

  9. I just love this. So. Much.

    I struggle with this, too. Even the mainstream pop songs are a bit questionable. There is no way that I want my daughter to have Katy Perry as an idol. And though I know that the kids don’t know what the words mean, knowing that they remember the words bothers me. I’m not sure what to do either.

    Country is safe, if not a bit repetitive. I’m talking more of the pop country that is out there these days.

    You sound awesome to hang out with, though! My husband and I turn out the Ludacris station on pandora when we are out by ourselves. Reminds us of a simpler time.

    Sigh.

  10. “Back in the day, when my girlfriends and I were dancing to these songs on sticky frat house floors, pretending not to gag on our Pabst Blue Ribbon, we all knew there was something wrong with this music. But we tacitly agreed to ignore the disturbing misogyny and rampant use of the “b” word because, well, the music was so damn catchy.” Pretty much nailed it on the head. I’d go a bit further and even admit I didn’t and don’t even like hip-hop, pop music. Luckily, I’m more of an alternative music/classical music fan … both of which I think can be safe and meaningful. I’ve had to dial it back though as well. Same with shows … Eek.

  11. We’ve just entered the ‘Really watch what you say around the toddler phase because she’ll repeat anything’. So that reason combined with the fact I could not relate more to listening to Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre and loving very rhyme despite their meaning, I just LOVED THIS!!! Only problem, I read it on he floor of my kids’ room waiting for them to fall asleep and had to fight the urge not to laugh repeatedly!

  12. Hahaha! Freaking hilarious! So true. We love Mumford and Sons but they’re dropping f-bombs all over the place. The other day my daughter asked me to keep the song “I wanna sex you up” on the radio. Hmmmmm….maybe not….

    • Yikes! Color me embarrassed! I didn’t realize Mumford and Sons had so many f-bombs in their arsenal. Is nothing safe? Thanks for stopping by!

  13. So funny! You even have to be careful with any morning radio talk because they are always saying inappropriate things. Some of those tunes are so catchy you just don’t know if your kids will start singing them in preschool. =)

  14. This is so true! Some songs have catchy tunes and scary lyrics!

  15. Snoop Dog! Brings me back to the year I had to go to summer school. We would blast that shit on the way there, on breaks, and on the way home. His lyrics are completely inappropriate! But I have to admit he had a way of making those songs catchy. Now I am going to have “Rolling down the street smoking endo sippin on Gin and juice” in me head ALL DAY LONG. :)

  16. Too funny and too true! It’s almost impossible to “just put on the radio” these days without getting a bit uncomfortable. {Mommy’s ipod: problem solved. Lol!}

  17. This is a lovely walk down memory lane with a bit of flare of being a “grown up” I was in the car with my daughter just this past week, and though we rarely listen to the radio anymore, my phone died on the way home, and with it was the playlist we play (mostly Journey songs–b/c there’s nothing wrong w/ Journey, like you said) for our car rids. What I heard was disappointing. To think that my daughter will be growing up to music like this was just disappointing. I had a real moment of adulthood in the car, complete with the “kids these days and their music” sentiment.

    I would agree. Classic rock is the way to go. I grew up listening to my mom’s Beatles records and Rolling Stones, and it taught me not only to love its distinct sounds, but also the words that went with it. I want the same for my daughter. And though I can’t really stop her from listening to the songs she wants to listen to, my hope is that she’ll have the same appreciation for the true classics that came before her. Thanks for such a lovely post, Meredith. Hope you’re having a good one.

  18. That is funny. I think you will find another genre, like you said, that you can both enjoy without the cringe factor. I have gotten to the point where I listen to my music on the rare times I am alone in the car and we are rocking kids’ music the rest of the time when I’m driving. Now, those are the songs that get stuck in my head!

  19. I’ve always been pretty sensitive to questionable language, so at our house, it’s my kids bringing this music into the home. At school, they’re exposed to Katy Perry and the rest with their (sometimes) questionable lyrics, and we’ve had to have some talks.

    And Blurred Lines? As a rape survivor, I’ve never been able to sit through the whole thing. Just, no.

    Thanks for linking with #TwinklyTuesday.

    • I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. The lyrics to “Blurred Lines” are pretty awful. It’s a shame the song is so dang popular. Thanks so much for sharing and for your comment!

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