A Stream Of Consciousness Rant About Pop Music

Katy Perry dancing with others at the Buda Cas...

Katy Perry dancing with others at the Buda Castle with fireworks bursting from them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Katy Perry was singing on the radio when Nicholas popped out with, “Is this song called ‘Tiger Rahr’?” I chuckled inwardly at the way his brain changed “roar” into “rahr,” and then suddenly chuckled at myself, because all our kids yell “rahr” instead of “roar” as a result of being chased them around the house by me, growling thusly on all fours before tackling them to tickle and chew. And why, it occurs to me, do we say “roar” in the first place? After all, it does sound more like “rahr.”

Pop music has been on my mind lately. From the time I entered college in 1992 until about a year ago, I had only the most tenuous connection with the contents of the radio stations. I spent a long, long time immersed in classical music to the exclusion of all else, and when I poked my head up it was in the presence of a boyfriend/fiance/husband who preferred country. When I started Jazzercise last year, the instructors were always shouting “who is this singing?” like a pop quiz I was doomed to fail.

I started paying attention, because there were quite a few songs I really liked. And these days it’s a matter of mood, whether I put on pop or the classical/NPR station. I keep a list of songs I want to download until I have enough to burn a CD. (No, I do not have an iPod. I don’t need music with me anywhere there isn’t a CD player, and I can’t even keep track of my wallet and sunglasses; I don’t need one more thing I’m worried about losing.)

Yet at the same time, I get really frustrated, because some of my favorite music ends up being on the list of things I can’t buy because of the lyrics.

Example A: Enrique Iglesias. Man! Some of the most creative music out there, and such filthy lyrics. That example isn’t one of the worst, but you notice I didn’t embed the video. As one of the Jazzercise instructors said, “Whatever happened to all that ‘I wanna be your hero’?”

Example B: Pit Bull. Okay, so rap is all the rage, and Pit Bull cameos on approximately a billion other people’s songs. I’m not a rap fan, but that song that goes with the Fiat commercial is actually a really good song. Except what’s up with that repeating lyric “sexy people”? I can’t play that in front of my kids. These people have got to be interested in picking up the next generation of fans; why make that lyric so prominent? It’s not even what the song is about, for all that it’s the title. In fact, that song seems to have three lyric strands that are only slightly connected: the beautiful love song about Sorrento, stuff about immigrants, and this befuddling “Sexy people”, implying, I suppose, that all immigrants are sexy? I don’t know…maybe I’m missing something.

The problem is, I really, really like these two songs. Or rather, I want to, and it’s frustrating to feel that I can’t actually listen to them, because–as noted above–there are little ears listening.

Of course, there are some really wonderful songs out there, too. Katy Perry seems to specialize in songs that affirm (think Firework), and this Jason Mraz was one of the first I knew I wanted to download–still one of my favorites. I suppose it’s always been this way, hasn’t it?

End rant. Time to start another crazy Tuesday.

6 thoughts on “A Stream Of Consciousness Rant About Pop Music

  1. Lance

    Every politician, especially on the right, uses Born In The USA as a campaign song. Have you ever heard the lyrics? It’s about a Vietnam Vet who’s lost Faith in his country after the war.

    Point is, and I know this is true with my wife and 3 daughters, most people pay no attention to the lyrics. It’s why most pop songs have 2 verses instead of 3 and the chorus is repeated 4 times instead of 3.

    It’s about sounds, syllables, moments, and attention spans.

    • Interesting, Lance. I’ve never listened to the words, you’re right. My mom tells a story about a song she disapproved of when my sister was singing it, and when she mentioned it my sister looked confounded, like she’d never even thought about it that way. Mom thinks she should’ve kept her mouth shut. On the other hand, I think the attitude soaks into the collective consciousness whether we’re paying attention or not. The Ariana/Pit Bull song is so clear and so front-and-center that I’m afraid it wouldn’t get missed by my little ears. :/

  2. Kelley

    It could also be an opportunity for a teachable moment, if the lyrics aren’t too over-the-top offensive. It’s likely they will encounter pop music at some point with or without you. I totally listen to the radio with my kids…I am somewhat discriminating but I just try not to make a big deal out of things. I agree with Lance. It’s about the general style of the music usually–not the fantastic lyrics.

  3. I went to college in ’92 too. My hubby and I have gradually drifted to more country songs (which we didn’t like when we were younger). We like some pop music too, like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift is also a favorite around here. Our neighborhood pool plays the local pop station so we get hooked on that in the summer. We also have a great christian radio station in the area so we always have something to play in the car (like you, I don’t own and iPod either). Feeling old now, haha!

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