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1.01.2011

We're not supposed to like our kid's music - but our Grandchidren's?

Periodically, I sit down with the boys to listen to their music and lyrics so that inappropriate tunes get taken out of the mix. Since Christmas just passed by and they are buying new stuff, I just spent 2 days catching up on what’s new and I’m taken aback yet again by the out of control content of the songs they choose.

The first thing both Tio and Kit say is “it’s an edited version”, which means that any words that are for adult ears get cut or changed. Just because they substitute a word doesn’t take away the context or mean that the boys aren’t going to repeat and repeat and repeat the original word that was replaced. As if “mothafunner” is somehow a reference to Mother Teresa and we should be happy that the rapper who’s saying it is offering to “blow her away”. If it’s a ‘bad word’ in passing, I don’t care, but this is much more than that.

Kit wants Lady GaGa, KeSha and Katy Perry which for the most part are verbally harmless. But the songs themselves are about drunken sex, sleazy attitudes and superficial attitudes towards lust and fame. Stuff that is way over a nine year old’s head. He says it himself that he doesn’t understand it. He’s safer with Hannah Montana and Justin Bieber, who he also likes.

Tio is a whole other dish. He’s into heavy metal and rap. Eminem to be precise. He spent his own money on a CD that I said in the store if it was inappropriate I would confiscate it. “I know. It’s fine,” he said “this is the edited version.”

Right. Edited. I looked up the lyrics for every title on the disc online. Tio has no idea what this stuff is about. First off, Eminem is writing about his own feelings at the age of 38. That in itself is beyond Tio. Second, every song is full of self pity, self loathing and rage at people who he thinks don’t understand him or falsely glorify him. And he expresses it in ugly and raw terms. This is no music for a twelve year old. The music itself has some compelling points but the lyrics are not written for children, even if it is ‘edited’. And they listen to it over and over until it’s drilled into their thoughts without comprehension until the misogynist and violent images are there for life.

I don’t want to choose their music or tell them what they should or shouldn’t like. I grew up in the 60's. That’s what that was all about. But Jim Morrison on his wildest coke dream would cringe hearing some of this stuff. I wanted to emulate Bob Dylan and John Lennon. Tio struts around like he’s some kind of street hood ready to “pop a cap in a cop” like the rappers on MTV. What kind of role models are that?

I would like to give them a couple more years to be children and not have to face such raw self indulgence and hate so young.