Some of today's song lyrics are enough to make you blush. Here's an excerpt from Katy Perry's uber-popular California Girls: â??Hanging out all that a--, hanging out bikinis, tankinis, martinis, no weenies.â?? Skin so hot it'll melt your popsicleâ??and get you into serious hot water with your mother if you're caught singing it.
The music world is full of thinly veiled references to sex and drugs. In many cases, the references aren't subtle at all. They are blatant descriptions of getting smashed or rolling in the sack with a near stranger. Sometimes, the title of the song says it all. Nicki Minaj: Sex in the Lounge. How about George Michael: I Want Your Sex. More often, the title gives no hint to the lyrics lurking inside like a trap ready to spring. How about that catchy Bruno Mars diddy, The Lazy Song? Sounds like something off of Sesame Street. Then you find yourself singing along with Bruno, â??... find a really nice girl, have some really nice sex and she's gonna scream out 'This is great.'â??
As a mother, it makes me want to complain about the state of the world today and then send my kids off to the convent. But it's not like this is something new. Think back to the classic Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones: â??If you rough it up, if you like it you can slide it up ...â?? And who knew the Stone's Brown Sugar was about the rape of slave women? Google it. Disgusting!
I spent my teenage years rocking out to Queen. I knew all the words to Fat Bottomed Girls. It never crossed my mind that I was singing about a boy who enjoyed being molested by his nanny. I just liked the tune. If you've listened pop/rock music since the 1960s, you've heard more than an earful of raunchy, naughty, totally inappropriate messages.
So what's a mom to do? I don't think I grew up twisted because of the music I listened to as a kid. Or who's to say if I hadn't heard Billy Joel singing about how Catholic girls are such downers in his song Only the Good Die Young, perhaps I would have chosen a different path and became a nun?
On our Facebook page, we asked your opinion on filtering your child's music. Darcy Myers wrote: â??I don't believe in filtering what my kids listen to. They know right from wrong and have made wonderful choices.â?? This comes from Cindy Tarpein: â??It doesn't matter what you do because you can't stop what they listen to when they leave your house. It's a losing battle.â?? Chrystal Montroy says children understand lyrics more than we think they do. â??Imagine if it were your children and it was someone else allowing them to (listen) to it. How would you feel?â?? she wrote.
Today's songs drop more curse words in three minutes than a sailor on an overseas voyage. Most parents told us they require their kids to listen to the edited version of songs. However, â??cleanâ?? lyrics are anything but squeaky. Take for instance Cee-Lo Green's F--- You. The edited version replaces the f-word with another. It now becomes a much tamer Forget You. That's an improvement for sure. But when we're bopping along in the family van to Cee-Lo, even Mom slips up when it comes to the line: â??ain't that some sh--.â?? It doesn't leave a lot to the imagination to fill in the blanks. Also, clean versions of songs don't take away the sexual references or the hard-partying message.
I could snap off the radio and forbid my kids to listen to nothing but Christian music. That genre today offers a far better selection than when I was a kid. I certainly could do thatâ??but I haven't. I'm tempted to ignore the words to a tune and hope it flies right over my girls' headsâ??but then they'll point out the song's transgressions to our moral code.
What I've tried to do is tell the girls that it's OK to enjoy a song and its beat, but that doesn't mean the message is right. It opens up a dialog, but it still seems like a pretty lame position to take. I wrangle with my conscience and like many parents, I wonder if I'm failing my children. I can rip myself up fretting over these things. Then that little Bobby McFerrin jingle whistles though my head: Don't Worry, Be Happy. I can't solve all life's problems in a day.
Take care~Sarah D.