My kids love the song Tik Tok by Kesha.
Though I have explained to Cowgirl that the sentence “DJ blow my speakers up” is figurative and just means that the singer likes the music really loud, she is horrified and sings her own version of the song, which she insists is how the real song goes:
“tik tok on the clock, dj DON’T blow my speakers up tonight, I’m the fight, till uh see a sunlight, tik tok on the clock but the party won’t stop it now, ohohoooooh, ohohoooooooh.”
I am usually pretty North Korea when it comes to media (I filter everything and only approved sources that are sending the approved message make the cut) but I have been more lenient with pop music in the past year. Growing up, I remember listening to
And their completely dirty meaning went right over my head. I thought the first song was about how sweet his girlfriend was (I’m hot, sticky sweet, from my head to my feet – that meant he had a huge crush on her, you know, from head to toe), the second about falling in love while conversing with a coworker while riding an actual elevator (living it up while I’m going down – that means falling in love is what makes you feel rich), the third was mysterious to me but I knew it was comparative, not literal, and my Mom was smart in telling me it meant doing something for the first time. She never specified what that something was and it never occurred to me to ask. I assumed it was universal and the specific song was about being touched by LOVE for the first time (with your heartbeat next to mine – she didn’t mean naked or anything, she just meant they were standing in the same room).
I don’t remember my folk’s listening to anything I couldn’t also hear. I mean, the worst thing I remember hearing was The Devil Went Down To Georgia, which I didn’t realize contained a cuss word until I was in 8th grade (yes, I have always been so lame, and yes my kids know that song). My mom loved Hall and Oates, Chicago, Laura Branigan, and I remember she would tape the “top ten” music videos every week and we could replay the VHS as often as we wanted. The worst thing I ever saw was Don Johnson apparently pick up a lady in a bar and have a one-night-stand, although I never realized it at the time. I thought he talked to a nice lady, went home, then left for work the next morning wearing an identical pink shirt and white blazer. Hard worker, early riser, that sort of thing.
My children, however, are not allowed to listen to my playlist. There are plenty of things they could hear on there, like Bonnie Raitte, Counting Crows, Goo Goo Dolls, Journey, Creed…but there are also things I would just as soon they not, like Snoop Dogg, Jamie Foxx, Alanis Morissette, Avril Lavigne (I mean, they understand that I’m the mother effing princess, but I don’t want them to know that specific terminology).
I have even had to explain to them what ‘sexy’ means (thank you, Kenny Chesney, and yes I still love you and I do think that about your tractor). I told them it is a word that means especially attractive, but it is a confusing word because it has different, grown-up meanings, and that children who use it sound silly because they are usually not providing the proper context; as they grew up they would understand how to use it correctly but it would be inappropriate to use it now. My Farmer managed not to reveal his panic while he overheard this conversation, as his knee-jerk reaction was something along the lines of just-tell-them-don’t-ever-say-that-or-else! Evidently my kids don’t want to sound like morons because I’ve never heard them use it.
I did reconsider my new music policy when, after listening to Tik Tok several times, Farmer Boy asked me “Mom, what’s a girl’s junk?”
I paused, trying to keep a p-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face . “Well, what do you think that means?”
“Well, stuff. Like, you know, her purse.” He told me.
Whew! How do I spell relief? J-U-N-K-I-S-A-P-U-R-S-E.
I do think media is different than when I was a kid, and I most certainly censor a great deal more than my parents did. And although I do agree that kids will not “get it” until they are old enough and will ask questions when they are confused…I still feel it is necessary to censor. In my opinion, popular music (and television, and advertising, and media in general) are much more clear and crass in their meanings, as well as more extreme in order to be memorable. My kids don’t watch music videos. Well, that’s not entirely true…if they like a song I will often preview it on youtube and if I feel it’s okay they can see it (here’s an example). But Weezer’s world record dodge-ball game seems as innocuous to me as the videos I watched. There is so much over-the-top sexuality in videos today…I’m as uncomfortable with my children watching those as My Farmer was during the “what sexy means” conversation.
I’m just glad that they haven’t asked me what Weezer means when they sing “Like marrying a beeotch, and having seven keeeods….” In the song Troublemaker. I like the point of that song, which is that it’s perfectly okay to be completely different, to just be yourself even if you don’t fit with the mainstream. I want my kids to go around singing “Never been a faker!” I’m not worried about the part where they call books stupid because, well, my kids know that must be a joke, because NO ONE in the world thinks that (and that even if Weezer says stupid, they aren’t allowed to).
I know a lot of what is not age-appropriate goes right over kid’s heads, and the older the kid the better their ability to manage/understand it. I have also found that parenting is an as-you-go kind of thing, and what I thought was a big deal five years ago I am not bothered by now. But I look at the girls in my age group, those who came right before and after me, and I see a plague of eating disorders and a sharp rise in plastic surgery following behind photoshop. And it makes me wonder. I know there is a fine line between too much and not enough censorship, and I guess for now we are erring on the side of caution. Your thoughts on this?
I also find it humorous that for the last four days I have tried to write a short, funny, light-hearted post and this is what I keep coming up with. Close enough!