Why Can’t My Kids Have Good Taste In Music?

I am seriously about one Jason Mraz song away from a huge Boo-Hoo-Hoo.  Nothing is wrong– in fact, I almost have no complaints, but I like to cry.  I am a person who needs a good cry every quarter (at least) just to keep my pipes clean and my soul refreshed.  I need my quarterly cry (“MQC”) to feel lighter and more alive and more connected to myself. If the snot doesn’t fling out of my nose, it doesn’t count as one of MQC.  But I can’t eek the tears out without a little musical lubrication.  I don’t need the full Celine Dion treatment, but a little Bonnie Raitt or Cowboy Junkies would do just fine.

Here’s the problem.  I can’t get to the cathartic MQC while listening to songs about a mulberry bush or a fabled “Big Rock Candy Mountain.”  “Turkey in the Straw” is not going to do it.  I need tear-jerking, broken-dreams and broken-hearts music. In short, I need adult music, but it’s very hard to come by in my house (or my car).

Tonight, during our “wind down” time, I tried to tap into the reservoir of feeling that lies just beneath the haunting melody of “She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain” or the somber subtext of Sadie’s favorite, “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.”  Nothing stirred inside of me except for a ripple or two of rage against these insipid songs that I hear about 27 times a day. I have no one to blame but myself, because I bought the CDs at Target, in what can only be described as a moment pure lunacy.  “Hey, this will be so fun to listen to after dinner.”  Right.  It was a three-CD set.  How bush league am I?

Thanks to all of you for the head’s up about the inanity children’s music.

Maybe you could explain the following to me.

How come my kids covet my shoes:

Simon in Mommy's Crocs

Simon in Mommy’s Crocs (While “Itsy Bitsy Spider” Plays in the Background)

They covet my purses:

Sadie Picking Her Nose and Wiping Boogers on MY Purse

Sadie Picking Her Nose and Wiping Boogers on MY Purse

They steal my food, my lipstick, my Costco box of feminine supplies, my peppermints, my headbands, my fingernail polish, and anything else that isn’t nailed down or put on a shelf over 5 feet tall . . .

But, they never, ever want to listen to MY music?

I’m sorry, my precious offspring, but you find Damien Rice too inscrutable? I am sorry it’s not as transparent as “Skid-a-ma-rink-a-dink-a-dink,” since everyone knows what that means.

You don’t like Lionel Richie’s timeless ballad, “Ballerina Girl”?  It’s “too commercial” for you guys? I guess we can throw all those Gymboree CDs away then, since those are just a series of commercial jingles for over-priced kid “classes” taught by manic 20-somethings who can’t get jobs singing on cruise ships.

Just once, I would like to sit around after dinner and roll out some gems from Robert Earl Keen, Nanci Griffith, The Cure, or Adele.  If my children insist on singing about trains, let’s try some Woody Guthrie or Peter, Paul & Mary. If they are dead set on singing about farm animals, surely there are Nicki Minaj songs that are close enough.  If they want to sing about rain and spiders, I bet Fiona Apple could do in a pinch.

Where’s the middle ground? Who’s the artist that can bridge the gap between “C is for Cookie” and “Cop Killers”? Mama needs her MQC by June 1 and sobbing over my kids’ age-appropriate taste in music is not going to cut it.

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30 thoughts on “Why Can’t My Kids Have Good Taste In Music?

  1. I’m so, so lucky! My kids like most of the same music I like…Alex (age 9) listens to Styx Paradise Theater every night before bed. He also likes Guns N Roses, and John Mellencamp. My oldest (age 12) is in a country music phase (thanks to the hubs), but that’s ok, I can work with that. We listen to ACDC, REO, REM, Mellencamp, GNR, and much more. I can’t quite get them to appreciate Ray Charles (Genius Loves Company – one of my favorite albums). But I think my lucky stars that they don’t listen to Brittany Spears, Selena Gomez or Justin Bieber (not that there is anything “wrong” with any of their music, but I just don’t lie them)….

    I suggest ACDC’s Big Balls to get them started in your music. Nothing gets a kid’s attention more than talk of balls, ball sacks, and other nicknames for boy parts:)

  2. Long ago, I glared at my kids and in my best Humphrey Bogart voice, explained to them that they would learn to love my music . . . and thank God, they did!

  3. Just wait until they get older and start watching the Disney Channel. I have Selena Gomez songs running through my head at 2am. Enjoy “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain” while you can.

  4. I feel your pain, sista. Thankfully, I never had particularly good taste in music pre-kids. While Rhys loves kiddie music (Justin Roberts doesn’t hurt my head), both are liking Adele and Johnny Cash (Ava and Rhys ask for A Boy Named Sue all the time)! Am liking the comments/suggestions above! And god speed on the snot releasing cry!

    • Boy Named Sue– what a great idea! I am working on a mix of “bridge” music so I can phase out the terrible CDs. I am going to put Johnny C and maybe some Sarah M and some James T. It’s time for evasive action.

      The cry eludes…

  5. My 10 month old loves Diana Krall and Adele, especially at nap time or when feeling down. Katy Perry is great for the jumperoo….mind you her most recent cd has questionable lyrics (the peacock song I always skip). I had been thinking about a children’s cd. Thanks for the heads up! I’ll keep the kiddie music for the few videos we like on youtube.

      • Yes, totally intrigued by the peacock song now. I am not as good of a mom as Clio and consequently my 3yo sings lyrics like “She said can we get married at the mall?, I said look you need to crawl ‘fore you ball, Come and meet me in the bathroom stall, And show me why you deserve to have it all”

        I KNOW that is wrong and I am working on it (before anyone jumps down my throat), but it is a catchy arse dance number.

        To offset this, he does love Blondie (Debbie Harry).

  6. Oh yes, it takes patience and time but you MUST begin now. Step away from the kiddie music this instant. It’s over.

    Set the DVR to tape VH1 top 20 countdown – start there. That garbage is made to speak to everyone – there will be something they can enjoy. We started this very young with my son and while his taste is still questionable I do get to listen to We are Young (Fun), Ingrid Michaelson, Melanie (look what they done to my song ma and rollerskates) and the entire 500 Days of Summer soundtrack.

    They try to teach my son the itsy bitsy spider at school and he asks if they know “somebody that I used to know”. As if his preschool teacher is a DJ.

      • well it doesn’t have to be a whole process but if you’ve already got them hooked on the kiddie stuff I understand it can be impossible to wean them off that stuff. Treat them like addicts. Abrupt withdrawal, slowly introduce replacement.

  7. We got through those years with Ralph Covert & Justin Roberts sprinkled into the mulberry bush along with some artsy-folksy Old Town School versions of the syrupy kids stuff. They Might Be Giants also made at least one kids album. (I’m sure I’m showing my age or at least my kids’ ages.) I’m also a sucker for show tunes (showing worse than my age!). Try the Beatles…everyone likes a Yellow Submarine and Here Comes the Sun. Now that my peeps are not toddlers, I mostly have to worry about them belting out Sexy & I Know it or S&M…in front of my mom or our priest.

    • I remember the They Might Be GIants kids’ album!!! It’s been a few years. These are great ideas. Right as I sit here now, Sadie is in her room belting out “Where is Thumpkin” to the tune of ABC. She’s confused. But, we just need to get her going to “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina,” and it will open up her world.

  8. Justin Roberts & TMBG save me from the murderous rage that a British children’s choir singing ‘She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain’ can induce. Here come the 123s and Here Comes Science are better than Here Come the ABCs, I think, and there’s a song on Pop Fly by Justin Roberts about getting butterflies in your stomach on the first day of school that makes me cry every time I listen to it–might work for the quarterly cry.

  9. I’d done everything right. My kids only listened to music that I liked because it was the only music they knew existed. I even had a little TMBG on my iPod just to give in a little. Then, it happened. I love our librarian, I really do. And I reasonably tolerate story hour. But that #@!&% librarian played a CD of kids music during story hour, and then compounded her crime by telling all the kids that there was an entire carousel of kids CD’s right outside the door. That rack they’d, until then, blithely ignored every week. Now I’ve got that damn “Little Red Bossy Hen” perpetually stuck inside my head and my music is a distant memory. The kids are gonna have to go cold turkey before I lose my mine and am “that mom” at their high school graduation.

      • I don’t know if this link will play the entire song for you, but when I (reluctantly) put a few kids’ songs on my iPod I put this one on just for the spit-take factor when my husband was in the car. It is FULL of double entendres. It’s like they weren’t even trying to hide it. Jokes on me though. It’s now my daughter’s favorite song and I have to try to not wreck the car because I’m laughing so hard when it comes on.

        http://www.rhapsody.com/artist/rosenshontz/album/uh-oh/track/swinging

  10. Pingback: 10 Things I Don’t Want To Hear Today (or Ever Again) | Outlaw Mama

  11. Try some oldies. You know, Motown, soul, R&B dusties. You’d probably like them and they have hooks that will hook even kids.

  12. Pingback: How To Get Your Kids To Listen To YOUR Music | Outlaw Mama

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