Moderate Moment | Moderate Moms

The Mom Vivant / Do what I say, not what I sing. Inappropriate lyrics and kids.

November 9, 2011  |  Share

A friend of mine called me the other day to ask what I do when I think my kids are mindlessly repeating catchy tunes with wildly inappropriate lyrics.  Not a new problem.  I remember being taken aback when my then 3rd grade daughter and 1st grade son were singing the words, “Rob the jewelry store and tell ’em make me a grill,” from Nelly’s song, Grillz.  At the time, I told them anyone who likes to dance or sing recognizes Nelly’s talent as an artist.  But those particular lyrics sounded ridiculous coming out of the mouths of elementary school children and I asked them to think about what they were saying.  Now they’re adolescents.  Which means they think about it and say it twice as loud.  My personal opinion is these are teaching moments.  I mean it.  If you choose to, you can view parental outrage at kids’ taste in music as a rite of passage.  We can’t stop them from listening to popular music.  But we can laugh about how ineffective certain lines sound when you slow them down, take the music out and repeat it as if it is a line you are delivering to someone face to face.   Take the wildly popular “I’m sexy and I know it.”  What reaction do you think you would get from a real person in real life if you looked at them and said, “I got passion in my pants and I am ready to show it.”  Uh, okay.  Next.  For fun, I decided to check out the lyrics to the top 20 songs on the market right now.  You can, too, by going to www.songlyrics.com/top50.php.  Just to reassure you, of the top 20 songs kids are listening to, most of the lyrics are filled with sappy lines like, “we found love in a hopeless place, ” which by the way, shows you in general, producers know their audience and that teenagers still like songs like that one where the same line is repeated 16 times.  I’m not saying lyrics today aren’t racy or suggestive.  But, we should check them out and talk to our kids about the difference between words in art and words in action.  I love “Moves like Jagger,” and like most Moms, hum mindlessly along when the kids are listening to it in the car.  Either the middle age filter of getting half the lines wrong has kicked in or I am just another distracted Mom but I have to admit i don’t remember ever noticing the line, “Head to toe, oh baby, rub me right/ But if I share my secret You’re gonna have to keep it.”  Foster the People’s “Pumped up Kicks” is interesting.  Great rock.  Cute, clean cut hipsters singing so softly they’re like a mix of Robert Smith from The Cure and the boys in an Abercombie and Fitch ad.  They’re tone is so … gentle.  The lyrics?  “All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, run, run.  Outrun my gun.”  The bottom line (and I use that line casually after the stir created by Nelly over that music video for “Tip Drill” which showed someone swiping a credit card through, well, someone’s bottom) is that the worst offenders with the most misogynstic lyrics don’t make or stay on the Top 20 very long.   I remember teenage boys in my day loved the song “Beast of Burden” by the Rolling Stones.  And I don’t think anyone took the lyrics literally.  (I’ll never be your beast of burden / My back is broad but it’s a hurting /All I want is for you to make love to me / I’ll never be your beast of burden /I’ve walked for miles my feet are hurting /All I want is for you to make love to me ) Another popular song to “dedicate” was “Always and Forever.” (Always and forever, each moment with you is just like a dream come true.)  Eesh.  Sounds like “we found love in a hopeless place, doesn’t it?” 


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