Tag Archives: music

If It’s Magic

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Photo Courtesy of L.A. Screenwriter

Photo Courtesy of L.A. Screenwriter

“If It’s Magic”

If it’s magic…
Then why can’t it be everlasting
Like the sun that always shines
Like the poets in this rhyme
Like the galaxies in timeIf it’s pleasing…
Then why can’t it be never leaving
Like the day that never fails
Like on seashores there are shells
Like the time that always tells

It holds the key to every heart
Throughout the universe
It fills you up without a bite
And quenches every thirst

So…
If it’s special
Then with it why aren’t we as careful
As making sure we dress in style
Posing pictures with a smile
Keeping danger from a child

It holds the key to every heart
Throughout the universe
It fills you up without a bite
And quenches every thirst

So…
If it’s magic…
Why can’t we make it everlasting
Like the lifetime of the sun
It will leave no heart undone
For there’s enough for everyone

Stevie Wonder

The Problem With the Radio

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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.

In Grandma’s Footsteps

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Piano Keys

 

There’s this very old piano sitting in the entry way of our home that used to belong to my husband’s, grandfather’s best friend.  I have no idea when or how it came to be in my husband’s possession, but it’s just been hanging around with no real purpose other than spawning the occasional sentimental story from Big Poppa. No one really plays the piano in our family – well, I take that back.  Big Poppa sort of plays, but not enough to really warrant owning a piano.  At any rate, I didn’t make too much of a fuss because I knew how much having this piano meant to him. So, we kept it and lugged it across the country when we moved to Texas…to collect Texas dust.

I think that I may have mentioned this before, but my mother, who is the late stage of Alzheimer’s, was a musician (pianist) and singer.  She mostly played gospel music, but also, when she was very young (that would be way back in the day), she used to play in juke joints and blues clubs.  Music was her life and she was very talented. Her talent is gone now, along with almost everything else about her that made her unique, but her music is the part of her that I miss the most.  As you can imagine, it was very important to her that at least one of her four children take up the piano or just any instrument for that matter. For a while one of my brothers played the drums, then the violin and my sister took a stab at the piano, but they both eventually drifted away in favor of other interests.  I think that although we all love music, we really didn’t have it in our veins like she did.

So, it’s very bittersweet that my youngest daughter would come to me now and say “You don’t have to say yes, but if you do that would be great.  Can I take piano lessons?”  I can’t say that I was surprised because she likes to tinker on it as she walks past and I’ve often thought that music lessons would suit her.  You know that I didn’t hesitate to say yes, right? The first person that I thought of was my mother and how she is missing this moment.  Only, of course, she has no idea she’s missing it.  I am the one who is all at once elated and sad knowing that mom would have been over the moon.  I immediately got the name of a piano tuner from a neighbor (because who knows the last time that it had been tuned) along with a piano teacher and set about making this happen for my little girl and for me.

I grew up listening to my mother play me to sleep at night.  I grew up sitting in the living room and just listening to her play song after song after song.  Her music provided the sound track to my life and the silence brought on by Alzheimer’s is now deafening. I have to admit that it did occur to me that one day in the not too distant future maybe, just maybe, Thing 2 will provide a new soundtrack.  Of course, when I was younger, I took all of this for granted not really realizing how immensely talented she, my mother, was.  I also didn’t realize how much of an impact her music had on my life.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to pressure my little girl to follow in grandma’s footsteps.  She can try it and if she doesn’t like it she can move on to something else.  However, I can promise you this, I will not take for granted one day spent sitting with her and listening to her play her music.  Ever. I will listen to every note, every chord and every melody – good or bad – and I will commit it to my heart because I now know how very precious it really is.

 

This blog post was written in response to the prompt “If I knew then what I know now…” given by Karen in my Rising Bloggers group.  If you would like to read more from the other bloggers,  just click here.

 

A Trip Down Memory Lane

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Memory Lane

A couple of weeks ago Thing 2 was in the middle of one of her meltdowns (what else is new?) over something her sister had allegedly done.  I’ve learned to always include the word “allegedly” because things have a way of getting confused.  Anyway, she wanted nothing more than to sit on my lap and cuddle.  She loves to cuddle, especially when she’s upset.  On this particular day I was in desperate need of calming her down so that I could get some work done,  but she was unmovable.  Tears, whining, more tears, accusations, followed by more tears.  It was never-ending.  So, I started singing…

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.
When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May.I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl).I’ve got so much honey the bees envy me.
I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees.Well, I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl).Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Ooooh.I don’t need no money, fortune or fame.
I’ve got all the riches, baby, one man can claim.

Well, I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl).

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day
With my girl.
I’ve even got the month of May
With my girl
Talkin’ ’bout
Talkin’ ’bout
Talkin’ ’bout
My girl
Ooooh
My girl
As long as I can talk about my girl…

 For those of you that may not recognize the song, I was singing “My Girl,” by the Temptations.  When I was done, my daughter – who was no longer crying – looked up at me and said, “Is that a real song?”  Amused, I said “Absolutely, baby! That was a song by the mighty, mighty Temptations!”  She paused, then responded, “I like the song, but I have no idea who they are.”

The next day, while I futzed around the house, cooking and cleaning, I took my girls on musical trip down Memory Lane.  Of course we listened to the real version of “My Girl” but, there was also Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (“Tears of a Clown” and “Tracks of My Tears”) and Martha and the Vandellas (“Dancing in the Streets”).  Of course you know that there had to be the Supremes (“STOP! In the Name of Love”) and the Queen of Soul, Miss Aretha Franklin! They were familiar with her since I play her hit “Respect” at least once a month around here.  You know, sort of as a reminder. Not to mention that when Thing 2 was about two – years – old she used to sing “Chain of Fools”.  Nothing funnier than hearing a toddler who can barely talk sing “Chain, Chain, Chain…Chain of Fools.”  Those were the only words that she knew.

The funny thing is that most of these songs predated even me, but everyone in my family knew them. They were a part of our culture.  So, I brought the play list forward a bit by throwing in Sly and the Family Stone, The Commodores (before Lionel Ritchie went solo and started making the same song over and over again) and, of course, The Jackson 5 – “ABC”, “I Want You Back” and “I’ll Be There”.  There were others, too many to mention here.  We literally took a trip through classic R & B and we had so much fun singing and dancing together.  Well, I sang, they didn’t know the words. It was nice to revisit a time when music was real and sweet.  When talent was appreciated. When love songs were pure and not really about assault disguised as something else.  You didn’t have to turn off the radio because the lyrics were too racy for your children to hear.  It wasn’t like this over synthesized, overtly sexual, misogynistic crap that they play on the radio today.  I know, I sound like some old woman, but that’s okay.  I got a kick out of watching the girls discover something new.  Not to mention that it was as much about introducing them to the African – American landscape as it relates to music, specifically R&B.   Good stuff and good times!  Best trip that I’ve taken in a while.

 *This post was written in response to the blog link up on Champagne to Crayons, Day 19: A Trip That I Have Taken, Celebrating 28 days of Thanks. If you would like to read more posts from my fellow bloggers, click here.