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Pity my poor son’s generation. Their parents have grown up with everything from the histrionics of Led Zeppelin to the face paint of Kiss. We’ve scratched our heads over the lyrics of Queen (“Scaramouche! Scaramouche! Will you do the fandango?”) and discovered androgyny with Culture Club.

We’ve not only seen it all, we’ve rocked out to it all … and probably have the vinyl albums and concert t-shirts to prove it.

When my son asked me to download “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses for him, instead of frowning and saying, “I don’t think that song is appropriate for a ten-year-old,” I started screeching the chorus and doing that snaky Axel Rose move.

Where’s the thrill of rebellion for him?

Of course, some of the lyrics require commentary, i.e. “We don’t really like to watch people bleed.” And my husband remarked that Axel Rose (can you believe I never knew the anagram behind his name until I read John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines??!) sounded a lot like Robert Plant.

As a long-time Jane’s Addiction fan whose favorite headbanger anthem is “The Mountain Song,” I am hardly someone who objects to loud music. I’ve met Perry Farrell, for heaven’s sake! (Did you guys know he adopted that name because it’s a play on the word PERIPHERAL?) I worked at Warner Bros. when the cover of “Nothing’s Shocking” was, well, shocking. He was the first guy I’d ever met with a piercing in his nose.

To my son’s mortification, I bust into dance when the right song starts playing within earshot. And while I don’t actually perform with an air guitar, I have been known to clutch a pretend microphone while I sing.

Rather than banning Kanye West and other rappers from my son’s delicate ears, I explain that the N-word is NEVER okay for him to say and that Chamillionaire’s “Hip Hop Police” is a spoof on bad cops, not a documentary.

I am glad we’ve got plenty of fodder for discussion when it comes to music.

If he’s lucky, maybe someday my son will find some music I object to. :-)


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Apr. 19th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
>>Where’s the thrill of rebellion for him?<<

He could always grow up and vote republican.
Apr. 20th, 2008 01:24 am (UTC)
I remember this child, at six years old, watching a George W./John Kerry debate, and saying (of George), "He's not making any sense."


Apr. 20th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
I know a lesbian feminist mother whose child was very cool -- going to gay pride parades, hanging out with drag queens backstage, knowing all the words to Queen tunes as well as the requisite dance tune, "I Will Survive" -- then at twenty-one she had a huge streak of rebellion course through her and became a born-again Christian, married a right-winger, and gave her mother lectures on being "a gay."

Sorry...I'm a mother who grew up in the same era as you and I have my nightmares. Just thought I'd share the joy :D.
Apr. 20th, 2008 01:39 am (UTC)

That is terrifying.
Apr. 19th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
Do tell.

You worked at Warner Bros? In LA? I temped there once or twice, maybe we met, ha! Must have been...1995....yikes.

Apr. 20th, 2008 01:28 am (UTC)
Re: Anagram?
I was here in PDX by 1995, so I reckon not.

Apr. 19th, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
I would be happy with any of that music just because I am SO DAMN SICK of Weird Al! (okay, and yeah, secretly, I loved me some Guns N' Roses back in the day)
Apr. 20th, 2008 01:32 am (UTC)
There was something perversely attractive about skinny, bandanna'd Axel in his leather pants and guitar god Slash with his perpetual cigarette and hidden face.
Apr. 19th, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
Hahhahaha, I know what you mean. I told my 14 year old son that he doesn't have to stop singing the second verse of Boulevard of Broken Dreams (read between the lines, what's fucked up and everything's alright) if he doesn't want to - though I do respectfully request that he refrain from singing it at school.

But this is how they rebel: I'm all, want to pierce your ear? Want a mohawk?? Want to dye your hair?? No. He wants a Caeser in his own natural color and classical music, thanks. He did take my old leather jacket, though, so *squee!*

Apr. 20th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
You are the worst mom ever! xP

He should thank his lucky stars you haven't started singing along to Sir Mix-a-lot yet.
Apr. 20th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)
He also thanks his lucky stars that I confine my bustin-of-the-moves to our house.

Apr. 20th, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
Apr. 20th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
I totally sing along with Baby Got Back. And Eminem, which makes him far less cool in my kids' eyes. I also "Get Low" and "Shake [my] Tailfeather" and, much to my daughters' consternation (their friends, on the other hand, thing I'm wonderful for it. Go figure.)
Apr. 20th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
You are a marvel, Kelly. ♥

their friends, on the other hand, thing I'm wonderful for it. Go figure

It's weird how that works. Wild spontaneity equaled "awesome" in my friends' parents. My own parents? Not so much. ^.^
Apr. 20th, 2008 03:42 am (UTC)
Well, I guess there is always some way to rebel. Maybe music just isn't the thing. (Although my mom was not so cool; she was not thrilled with the lyrics of Green Day.) But my biggest rebellion was moving out and eating microwaved Stouffer's meals and Hot Pockets for a year or so...
Apr. 20th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
Whoa. You WERE a rebel!
Apr. 20th, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC)
You and I - we parent alike, when it comes to music! ;) C is always asking me to burn her CDs of my songs. And truly, I had no clue what the lyrics of Crank That (Soulja Boy) were when I taught her the dance. ;)
Apr. 20th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)

I don't know the lyrics to that song, either.

Opportunities for discussion abound!
Apr. 20th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
LOL I was singing it while Bob was home and he said, "Do you know what you're saying?" Um...no. hehehehe

I always download the explicit versions of songs (except for Akon's I Wanna Love You - got the clean version of that one!) so I always express to C NOT to use those words. She'll sing along but not with THOSE words.
Apr. 20th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
S has finally found something I can't take at any length, but I predict it will be a passing phase - it's techno, and it's monotonous and horrid, apart from one excellent piece from France.

But my kids were listening to rap and rock when they were still in carseats. I was all "eff Raffi, we're listening to real music", and so we did. And I make sure to point out which words are big-time no-nos, and to discuss issues such as misogyny, which come up with appalling regularity in some rap and hip-hop. I love how it makes me assess stuff, like Sir Mix-a-Lot's Baby Got Back is okay because a) it's in fun and b) he's actually not denigrating women, really, whereas some other songs are right out because it's all about misusing women and viewing them solely as sex toys.

I hope your son spares you the monotonous techno.
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