Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The School of Rock

The Little Flower, my 6-yr-old child, wanted to know if she could sing Adam Lambert's "Whataya Want From Me" at church for talent night. When I nixed that, she thought for a second, rubbing her chin, percolating deep thoughts, and said, "Okay, so what about 'Telephone'?" Um, that’d also be a no. I suggested "Jesus Loves Me". Again, the pause for thinking time. "Well, that's a tricky one." (As opposed to a Lady Gaga song?)
This is what is known as Johnson Logic.

And, in truth, she could probably belt out either of those songs beginning to end as well as a wide variety of Justin Bieber tunes, Rhianna, Miley Cyrus, and the entire High School Musical catalogue. This is one of the signs of the end of civilization: Radio Disney. My tweens are addicted to a pop music wasteland. I tried to do a little alternative musical education as an extracurricular activity, sort of like a mini-experiment. Over the course of this experience, I was told the following choice bits that I meticulously saved in a journal so that I could remind myself that I tried to impart my musical prowess on my children, even if it was a categorical failure.

Actually Said (or interpreted) by Various Shorties:

a) Led Zepplin was old. Like, grandpa old. There is no way that this was ever cool. And if it was cool, it was only cool to you and all of the other old people.

b) The Cars have the stupidest name in rock music history. (Like the name “Bieber” doesn’t make everyone snicker?)

c) But why does that guy keep sticking out his tongue? Is it bleeding because he bit it? You’d smack me in the back of the head if I did that in public. Does his mom know that’s him or is that why he’s in disguise?

d) Just because they were an all-girl band doesn’t mean that they were a GOOD band, Mom. (insert eye roll here)

e) ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ sounds like a geeky song. Like computer nerds are singing it and recording it on their pc at the house. And if they played this, for like music class or something, we’d all laugh at them.

f) But why did you go somewhere to buy the record when you could just download it from the computer on your MP3?

g) So, you are telling me, for real, that your first concert was Duran Duran? Um, I’m not sure that I’d actually tell people that. Like people out in public and stuff.

h) Look at these photos of Mom in high school, Carter! Mom was like all, emo and goth and stuff. It’s freaking me out. Like what’s happening to Miley Cyrus. Same thing.

i) If this song was so cool why aren’t they still playing it. No, not on the oldies station; that doesn’t count.

j) I don’t think that ‘getting jiggy with it’ means what you think it means.

k) What is Elton John again? Like he keeps singing rock songs and then with the piano. I keep forgetting where he fits in. Elaina, that’s because he doesn’t fit in.

l) I’m really trying to figure this out. The lead singer for Yaz is a woman who sounds like a man and looks like a woman. The lead singer for the Culture Club is a man who sounds like a man sometimes and a woman sometimes and looks like a woman but his name is Boy George. You mean they aren’t the same person? Are you sure? I think they are the same person and don’t want anyone to know so they could have like another career as a girl then a boy who looks like a girl. They sound like the same person to me too. That means Mom is wrong. (as if)

m) What is a Violent Femme?

n) I am absolutely for sure positive that The Cure is not the best band ever. (Why not?) Because the best band ever is The Jonas Brothers and “the best” by definition means only one and that is NOT The Cure. Yeah, she’s right, and that might be a dumber name than The Cars. Yeah.

o) Could we please listen to some bluegrass? Just anything else? The Ramones make my head hurt like I’m getting hit with a hammer right in my forehead. And what does ‘Sheena is a Punk Rocker’ mean anyways? Don’t worry, Carter, none of these songs make any sense, so stop trying to figure it out. You can’t.

p) So this Prince guy is singing up high like that because why? Is he also a girl dressed like a man in those other bands? What do you mean he’s black? So, he’s a black girl? Is he pretending to be black or really black? And see, he IS dressed like a girl. I told you.

q) What’s a virgin? Hey. Wait a minute…I think that Lady Gaga maybe stole this song from that woman…

r) I think this song is sort of dirty, Mom. I mean, ‘Great Balls of Fire’. Can they say that on the radio?

s) Well, some of their songs are good like that one about best friends and that funny opera one and everything, but I’m not sure it’s nice to talk about fat girls or killing people or blood on your face. And that whole one about the bragging...We Are the Champions…It’s just not very polite. Yeah, I don’t think they should play that at sports.

t) But it’s just loud guitar. There’s no song. Just that guy screaming and loud guitar. And again with the name thing. Slash? Like we believe that is his real name. Well, remember there was one guy named The Edge. Who do these people think they are fooling? Why don’t they have regular names like Justin? Yeah, or P-Diddy?

u) Back in Black. So, are they goth? Or maybe it means they only date goth girls. I dunno. It’s hard figuring all of this out. And they have a lead SCREAMER, not singer. (loud giggling)

v) (Whispers in the back of the family truckster.) Oh, no. She’s listening to it again. Don’t you DARE say you like it or we’ll have to listen to it all the way to Grandbear’s house, because I personally cannot take The Best of ABBA for 45 minutes. Everyone shut up or she’ll sing! Oh, no, we’re only up to Dancing Queen, what is that, like track five? Shut up!

w) Muddy Waters. Yeah. Right. That’s not his real name either. Does anyone use their real name? Taylor Swift. Justin Bieber. At least in his song he’s singing, “I’m a Man”, so he’s definitely a man. So he SAYS. I want to see what he’s wearing to be sure.

x) Norah Jones. Hey, I think I’ve actually heard of her. This is like grocery store music. Like old music. Again. No, not again, it’s ALL been old music. You can’t dance to this. Harsh whisper to rear: SHUT UP or she’ll put the disco in, You Stupid Head!

y) Nuh-uh, she can’t be the Queen of Soul, because that’s me.

z) Can we please listen to Radio Disney now? Please?

Next, we’ll try movies and see if I fare any better.

1 comment:

Mari Lee said...

This really made me laugh... and feel a little scared at the same time.
But Norah Jones is not old!
(you and I have quite similar musical tastes by the way!)

Can I possibly forbid my kids to listen to Disney or whatever kids will be listening to in a few years?

Your kids are lovely anyway.
Kisses from Brazil...