Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shawty's Burning, Booty Calls and Crunk for Nine Year Olds

Warning: Blog Rated R for suggestive lyrics, sexual themes, and mature language



My oldest daughter just turned nine. She has always been a lover of music and at the ripe old age of seven became the proud owner of an ipod that Santa brought. I know, we were as shocked as you that Santa would fork over that kind of money for technology belonging to a seven year old. Turns out it was one of the best presents Santa has ever brought one of our children (unlike the room-clogging pool table, but that’s another story). She uses that ipod almost daily, listening to songs and creating dances with her friends. And I should say the ipod is about full.

My daughter also likes to write her own songs, which usually sound strikingly familiar to ones in her playlists, but nonetheless, write them she does, creating the melody as she goes. The other day she came into the bathroom to sing me one of her “original” masterpieces. She starts singing, I’m listening and nodding, and she gets to a part and stops.
“Mom,” she says in a low voice. “Can I have a swear in my song?”
Clearly she’s already put it in and just wants permission to say it out loud.
“No, you may not have a swear in your song. You are nine years old. No swears.”
She sighs deeply, half expecting my answer I suppose. She continues her song and stops again towards the end. Apparently another swear word went there.

When she was finished I said, “Wow! What a great song. I really liked it. Just out of curiosity, what swears were you going to put in there?” I was thinking perhaps hell or damn—something innocuous.
“Bitch,” was her reply.
“Bitch?” I asked. “You were going to use bitch? Where were you going to put it?”
She re-reads her song with the lyrics, “Why do you have to be such a selfish bitch?”
“There will be absolutely no bitch in your songs. If you are going to write songs, they better be nine year old appropriate or I’ll take off all those songs on your ipod that have swears.”

Yes, yes I know. There are a couple songs on her ipod that have swears, namely songs from Pink (and Lady Gaga I think). But her playlist is mostly Miley, Taylor, and the Jonas Brothers, so I figured the Pink songs she loves so much wouldn’t be very influencing. I may have been wrong on this point.

I can’t tell you how many times my daughter and her friends have gotten into our van and sing complete lyrics to songs I have never heard before. Songs that when you listen to them make you think, “Did I hear what I think I just heard?” Songs that make you go home and look up the lyrics on the internet. This is one handy use for the internet I must admit—policing your kid's song lyrics. Here are four songs that my daughter not only knows the words to, but listens to at her friends' houses while making up dances to them. Hopefully they have clothes on when they perform these dances.
I’ll start with the mildest of the songs and work my way up to the dirtiest. I’m only including the worst verses and perhaps the chorus. My comments are in red.

"Fire on The Dance Floor," by Sean Kingston
Somebody call 911
Shawty fire burning on the dance floor
(Urban Dictionary: Shawty: sexy young girl)
Whoa
I gotta cool her down
She won't bring the roof to ground on the dance floor
Whoa
She’s fire burning, fire burning on the dance floor
That little shawty’s fire burning on the dance floor
Shes fire burning fire burning on the dance floor
That little shawty’s fire burning on the dance floor
Fire burning fire burning

That body is a masterpiece
The order is one in every hundred years
But ain’t no doubt i’m taking it home
I'm afraid we'll blow them legs
(Ummm, I can only imagine what 'blow them legs' is referring to…)
Little mama game is about to change
She’ll be on covers over the world

This song has a great beat and honestly it’s rather mild. I love this song and we crank up the volume and dance in the living room. This song I can live with. As long as my kids don’t get to the Urban Dictionary. Or ask what “Blow them legs” means.

Next up is another personal favorite, albeit not topically appropriate for kids. I love that it’s country too.

"I Need You Now," by Lady Antebellum
It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now.
Said I wouldn't call but I lost all control and I need you now.
And I don't know how I can do without, I just need you now.

Another shot of whiskey, can't stop looking at the door.
Wishing you'd come sweeping in the way you did before.
And I wonder if I ever cross your mind.
For me it happens all the time.

It's a quarter after one, I'm a little drunk,
And I need you now.
Said I wouldn't call but I lost all control and I need you now.
And I don't know how I can do without, I just need you now.

While this song has fabulous vocals and a catchy melody, it’s a song I need to save and play for my kids before they go off to college and I have to explain what a “booty call” is just so they don’t look like backwoods idiots. No other song quite says, “I need to have drunk sex with you” like this one. I could give the artists suggestions on how they could “do without,” but it would inappropriate even for this blog. I have to admit that the people in the song made record time coming home from the bar (which closed at 1:00) only taking 15 minutes to drive home drunk before picking up the phone. To be fair, maybe it was a neighborhood bar. Nice and local. Or maybe they took the city bus.

Song #3 Ladies and Gentlemen:
"Tik Toc," by Ke$ha
(yes, that’s supposed to be a dollar sign. Apparently she sings for love of singing and not at all for monetary exploits.)
Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy
(Hey, what up girl?)
Grab my glasses, I'm out the door, I'm gonna hit this city
(Lets go)
Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack
(8 out of 10 alcoholics recommend Jack to traditional mint toothpaste)
'Cause when I leave for the night, I ain't coming back

Ain't got a care in world, but got plenty of beer
Ain't got no money in my pocket, but I'm already here
(who do you think is gonna pay for her stuff?)
And now, the dudes are lining up cause they hear we got swagger
But we kick em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger

I'm talking about everybody getting crunk, crunk
(Urban dictionary: Crunk: being high on marijuana and drunk at the same time)
Boys tryin' to touch my junk, junk
(not the junk in her purse or on the bottom of her 3 inch spike heels)
Gonna smack him if he getting too drunk, drunk

When listening to this song in the car, it’s difficult not to dance and sway along. It also has a great beat and would be perfect to dance to at a club. If you are at least 21. My daughter and her friends made up a serious routine to this. You know nine year olds. In order to make up a serious routine to a song you have to play that song at least 576 times in constant rotation until every arm movement, hip sway, and booty slap is perfect. Being so na├»ve, my daughter hasn’t asked what crunk means and has no idea what junk references. But if she asks I’m going to tell her that crunk is a health food protein bar and that junk is the crap in the bottom of that ladies purse.

And the last little ditty is,
“Sexy Bitch” by David Guetta
She’s nothing like a girl you’ve ever seen before
Nothing you can compare to your neighborhood whore
I’m trying to find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful
(Apparently bitch and whore is not nearly disrespectful as the "C" word, which he could have used.) 
Damn Girl
Damn You’s a sexy bitch
A sexy bitch
Damn You’s a sexy bitch
(I love You's...a new contraction for "You are")
Damn girl….

That’s all the lyrics I need to print here because they pretty much repeat those two paragraphs throughout the song. I now know why my daughter wants to put “Bitch” in her songs. With a good beat and a whoo whoo or oooh la la, her song could be a top ten hit.

I’m at a loss at how to handle this situation. While I’ve told my kids that they shouldn’t be listening to these songs and I will not load these songs (or ones like them—well except Pink….) onto their ipods, you know as well as I that she will listen to them at her friend's house. I also can’t police every radio station that plays these songs. My conundrum is, if I make too big a deal about the song content, she’s going to start asking why they are inappropriate and I’m just not ready to tell her about gratuitous sex, drug use, or people’s “junk” or “packages.” On the other hand, to let her listen to these songs without monitor, allows her to know the lyrics, sing the lyrics, and think the lyrics are okay. Oh, and dance to the lyrics. Let’s not forget about that.

Well, you may be thinking. How 'bout starting by taking Pink off her ipod, along with anything by Lady Gaga? Well, I could start there I suppose. I’ve been rationalizing those songs by thinking that Lady Gaga is so weird I could potentially shrug my shoulders to any questions my children have about her lyrics and say, “I don’t know. She’s mentally insane.” Pink on the other hand uses swears more like descriptors than concepts. When she sings, “Burn that fucker down,” you know she’s referring to a house with really bad memories. I can explain a house with bad memories much more easily than crunk, junk, or midnight bootie calls. I'm up for suggestions. How would you handle the move towards lyrical freedom?

6 comments:

pamteneyck said...

Rachel I am loving Lent this year, it is like the Christmas season of cards, something fun to open each day...
Let them listen, answer the questions as they come, it will all work out...

jennymc02375 said...

You've had me cracking up every day with your blog, but I have to say this one had me in tears I was laughing so hard.

Thank you! :)

Rachel said...

@Pam-I have actually considered your realistic approach. I just have to reconcile in my head, how I'm going to explain the subject matter and infuse a good dose of my (and theirs currently) moral viewpoints. Other than something drastic like, "these lyrics are evil, you may not listen to them. (But mommy can.)" HaHa
@Jen-just you wait sister. Your rated X lyrics aren't far behind since your oldest will be in Kindergarten! Wait till he learns the "booty slap." It's one of my daughter's favorite moves!

Mary said...

From an old fogey:
While I know that my grandkids have access to far more subjects- both desired and undesired, than I EVER experienced, it appears that we are relcutant to tell young people what is wrong about cussing, the use demeaning talk about women, and glorifying use of alcohol and drugs. Paint me a dreamer I guess, but I would rather have my kids find out about stuff from me as a parent, than the "boys" in their class. Healthy views should be a major part of our moral compass and that is what needs to be taught to our children. They will then have a compass to base THEIR judgements on and in so doing can make choices that will not celebrate the lowest common denomiator but hopefully grasp the higher values of integrity, honesty and virtue. It may even keep a line of communication open as they grow older if the topics are discussed without emotion, but in a clearly right and wrong framework.

Not trying to prostletize....
Dad

Megan said...

So...I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU LET HER HAVE CUSS SONGS ON HER IPOD! Yes, I am raising my voice! Sure, they will hear it at school or at a friends house- but letting it be in YOUR house is something you can control. That says that it is okay and it blurs the line. Alright, I am done.

Rachel said...

Megan-admonishment taken. You are right about the line blurring, and I should remove them out of principle. After all, David has an Eminem playlist that we don't let them listen to. I suppose Pink and some select Lady Gaga will be keeping him company on that playlist. (But the songs from Pink are so good...)