The Problem With the Radio


music blast


I love music.  I am one of those people who turns on the radio as soon as I get in the car. When I was in high school, it used to drive my father crazy not only because he loathed our “new” music (“Just sounds like a bunch of noise to me and the words are silly.”), but also because it stopped him from being able to hear the car’s engine.  He was a car guy.  Always listening just in case the timing was off or there was some unexplained rattle.  Actually, all kidding aside, some of the best advice I got from him was to sometimes just drive the car in silence.  That way, you can hear what it sounds like when it’s running well, so you can catch a little something wrong before it falls apart.  I do take his advice, but not often.  My girls are just like me and Thing 1 knows every word to every song that I will let her listen to on our favorite radio station.  I say “that I will let her listen to” because I spend a lot of time changing the stations.  I know that I’m going to sound like a prude here but, the words to some of these songs just make me blush and trust me, that’s not easy to do.  I really don’t want to hear my daughters singing most of the stuff we hear on the radio and we usually resort to throwing in a Disney CD in order to keep things rated G to PG because the radio is increasingly rated R.

You think I’m over reacting don’t you?  I know. I’ve read a lot of blog posts and commentary’s about children not really understanding the lyrics so it doesn’t matter if they listen to it. While it may be true that they don’t understand what they’re singing, I think it makes it worse to hear an innocent child singing something so sexually explicit.  Let’s be clear, today’s music is vulgar.  I am a child of the late sixties and early seventies and music has been  deteriorating evolving for some time.  No longer are love songs about love (think “My Girl” by the Temptations or “Close to You” by the Carpenters), now they are about sex (Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love” or Katy Perry’s “California Girls”).  I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with sex but, really…do we have to sing about it…all of the time?

The other day I was listening to this Australian teenage boy band called 5 Seconds of Summer, who will be opening for One Direction’s upcoming tour.  No, I don’t generally like to listen to teeny-bop (do they still use that phrase?) bands, but I do like to keep up with new music.  Anyway, their new song is called “She Looks So Perfect”. The words are light weight and not too deep, but here is the chorus:

“She looks so perfect standing there
in my American Apparel underwear
and I know now, that I’m so down
I made a mixtape straight out of ’94
I’ve got your ripped skinny jeans lying on the floor
and I know now, that I’m so down…”

The band and its music, like that of One Direction, is marketed directly toward teenage girls – the very girls that we tell to keep their ripped skinny jeans on.  While the song may not be overtly sexual, I think the meaning is pretty clear. It gets worse. Jason Derulo is at #5 this week on the pop charts with his hit “Talk Dirty to Me”.  Check this out:

I’m that flight that you get on, international
First class seat on my lap girl, riding comfortable

‘Cause I know what the girl them need,
New York to Haiti
I got lipstick stamps on my passport,
You make it hard to leave

Been around the world, don’t speak the language
But your booty don’t need explaining
All I really need to understand is
When you talk dirty to me
Talk dirty to me
Talk dirty to me
Talk dirty to me
Get jazzy on it”

How would you like to hear your little one singing that number?  Actually, I don’t want to hear anyone singing that, even Jason Derulo, because not only is it really nasty, it’s really sexist.  I think that might be another blog post.  I love Bruno Mars, but did I want to listen to him sing about making love like gorillas? Nope!   Pitbull has great dance music, but too much talk about boobs and thong wearing butts.  It’s everywhere and there seems to be no sense of appropriateness anymore. Maybe I should spend more time listening to the purr of my engine than the sexually charged lyrics of my radio.

I do know that the more pervasive this type of music is, the harder it is to keep your children from it. The harder it is to help your children (boys and girls) grow into their sexuality at a reasonable pace and not be pushed into it by a society that is obsessed with sex.  What I do want my children to desire is to know a love that grows not only from a sexual attraction, but also from friendship, mutual respect and trust.  The kind of love that isn’t sung about very often these days, but creates lasting marriages and not just lustful weekends.  Not too long ago Big Poppa sang one of our favorite songs to me and while he is no Marvin Gaye or Luther Vandross, it’s the thought that counts.  The Song is Betcha By Golly Wow by The Stylistics:

“There’s a spark of magic in your eyes
Candyland appears each time you smile
Never thought that fairy tales came true
But they come true when I’m near you[Chorus]

You’re a genie in disguise
Full of wonder and surprise and

Betcha by golly wow (wow) (wow)
You’re the one that I’ve been waiting for, forever
And ever will my love for you keep growing strong
Keep growing strong

If I could, I’d catch a falling star
To shine on you so I know where you are
Paint a rainbow in your favorite shade
To show I love you, thinking of you

Write your name across the sky
Anything you ask, I’ll try cuz

Betcha by golly wow (wow) (wow)
You’re the one that I’ve been waiting for, forever
And ever will my love for you keep growing strong
Keep growing strong”

Now that’s a love song.

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