Friday, October 27, 2006

Song Lyrics

Occasionally the news brings forth commentary about the lyrics in songs and about how they influence our youth to do things they should not do. These days the most frequent criticism is aimed at Gangsta Rap. The people who listen to them, however, will often claim that they just like the way the words sound, that they do not really listen to the lyrics -- listen with understanding.

I have come to the realization that these young people are most likely telling the truth. From personal experience I know that I have sung along to countless songs just because they sounded good. The ones with good, meaningful lyrics seem to take longer to learn then the ones that I like because the words make a good rhythm or those where the music just takes you away.

Paradise By the Dashboard Light is one of those songs. The music is infectious, the alternation between the male and female singers is intriguing and the song is just fun. I was introduced to this song and Meat Loaf in general by, of all people, my father. To give him his due, however, I suspect that my older sister was responsible for slipping this album in to my dad's collection of car tunes.

I like Paradise and play Meat Loaf's songs in the car -- both with and without kids present. Recently, however, I really started thinking about the lyrics and was about to cut the song off when I thought harder and realized that despite where the young lovers are heading, they do wind up in a monogamous relationship and that the song actually speaks to the consequences of ones actions. So, despite the fact that I am exposing my kids to a song about teenage hormones (yes, I substituted a word there), I am also exposing my kids to a song about sticking to your vows -- no matter the result. Yeah, right, I just like the song.

It is my kids that make me think about song lyrics. I like to listen to Broadway show tunes and have exposed the kids to Two By Two, Fiddler on the Roof, Pippin, and West Side Story among others. It was seeing my son act out "Gee, Officer Krupke" from West Side Story that made me start thinking about what I play in the car. Here was this 5 year old belting out a song about how his "parents treat him rough," and other things a 5 year old should not know about. When I introduced A Chorus Line in to the car repitoire I listened to it by myself first and found myself skipping several songs when I played it for the kids.

I know that I can't protect my kids forever but it is choices like these that influence our kids. Simple choices, like what words to use when telling off the driver who just cut you off -- I favor "frizzle-frazzle" outloud while muttering "a@@hole" in my head -- can impact how our kids act as they grow up. Unfortunately, too much care can result in kids who are (amusingly) naive. Hence poor Captain Bluebird wound up terrified at the school Halloween party because we did not expose him to zombies and bloody bodies. (Why fourth and fifth graders are being exposed to this stuff is beyond me.) So here I am, shielding my kids from bawdy song lyrics when their friends are seeing and hearing far worse. What's a mom to do?

*** Pictures of Captain Bluebird (yes, bird) as well as the other costumed crazies will go up after Halloween. ***

*** Very little knitting got done this week due to Halloween induced sewing and party schleping.***

1 comment:

Lolajl said...

Well, it may sound good. But I've got to draw the line at songs that put down women and treat them as sexual objects. There's too many of that out there now. I stopped listening to rap when it went in that direction.