Thursday, June 30, 2011

Whether whips and chains excite me is exactly NONE of your business. Tipper, you win.

We've been spending a lot of time in the car, listening to the radio. Radio on Maui is pretty limited - we have a few amazing DJ's who really put their heart into it and support local musicians as well - which is fabulous. And every day, it's getting better - MUCH better. A landmark day for me was the morning that I heard Mumford and Son's for the first time while taking the kids to school. Blew my mind. The music, and also that I had heard it on a fairly sedate station that usually plays a lot of classic rock. The times, they are a-changing.

But a lot of it is still pretty lame. And heavy on the ukulele and the reggae.

So when we got to my hometown on the East Coast, I tuned the dial to the station I listened to most as a teenager. The one where you could call up and get on the air and make an attempt to be witty and coy with a bored DJ who is stuck there until midnight fielding calls from giggling 13 year olds. Mostly top-40, nothing too groundbreaking, and you hear a lot of the same songs over and over and over again. I wanted to know what the kids were listening to these days.

After a few weeks of hearing the same 40 songs in heavy rotation, I found myself humming along, really listening to the lyrics for the first time.

Houston, we have a problem.

I hate to say anything, because I am all about freedom of speech and I still think of Tipper Gore as that uptight bitch who tried to ruin music for everyone. One of my favorite songs in highschool was the Anthrax song with the chorus that began: "you fucking whore". I am not uptight, about music or much else, actually. A little OCD, sure. But I can live and let live.

However, my living has been dialed back a bit, now that I have kids of a certain age. Now that my 6 year old daughter keeps singing Katy Perry and Lady Gaga songs in the bathtub, I am starting to FREAK OUT A LITTLE BIT. I am just waiting for the day that she prances out of her room covered in roast beef from the deli drawer. The photos in my people magazine make it clear that life without MTV is a very good thing while my kids are young. I just don't want to answer their questions yet. I'm not ready. And what's more - I don't know the answers. However, because we are not living in a bubble, and because I am not going to listen to Raffi for one more minute of my life, it's getting harder to avoid addressing some stuff I would rather not address at the present time. This point was hammered home during a recent drive to Target.

I was cruising along the highway, listening to a catchy little tune by Rhiannon, when it hit me like that 18 wheeler that was passing me on the right. (Which, by the way, is a post for another time.)

Now, of course, I had heard a bit of the hype about her latest hit. Something about it being gratuitous and overtly sexual. And I thought "Whatever. Get over it. Call Tipper Gore, I'm sure she'll lend you her ear." I am an independent woman. A free thinker. I say "fuck" all day long and I can't see that changing anytime soon. I can handle some song about sex sung by that cute little Rhiannon. And since she is still linked to the terrible incident with that ex-boyfriend of heres, how bad could it be, right? She's JUST SO SWEET.

And then Rhiannon told me that sex was in the air and she loved the smell of it, and I stopped singing along.

Frantically, I tried to think of other words I could possibly sing instead, so that my daughter could grow up with the same skewed version of song lyrics that I did. (I mean, honestly - do you know the actual lyrics to "Iko Iko?" OF COURSE YOU DON'T.) Then while my mind was still reeling, Rhiannon informed my 6 year old that whips and chains excited her, and Lucy's eyes grew round. "WHAT DID SHE SAY?" Lucy's mouth was hanging open in the backseat. Max looked up from his video game. "What? What did she say?"

Great. Now I have the hormonal, prepubescent boy tuned in too. That is wonderful. This is just great. And Rhiannon WOULD NOT SHUT UP. She repeated herself, in case my children might have missed it the first time.

Just to be clear.

Just in case there was any question in their formerly innocent little minds.

I changed the station - which is exactly what I had suggested Tipper and all the other complainers should do. Don't like it? Change the channel. And I did. But there were still questions coming fast and furious from the backseat. And I will tell you right now - I had no idea what to say. Frankly, I was still trying to come to terms with the time warp I had just traveled - I was now the grownup, completely freaked out by graphic lyrics? HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED.

A few minutes later, we went back to the radio station, and thankfully, another song was on. Apparently, this clown woke up with a tattoo that looked like Zach Galifianakis. I just shook my head. You had to admire the brass balls of writing those words - never mind having them rhyme.What the HELL rhymes with "Galifianakis"? "Pocket", apparently. The fact that I have now heard this song approximately 6 THOUSAND TIMES IN TWO WEEKS says a lot about the music playing on top 40. Super catchy, but these lyrics are going to put me in an early grave. I think I am going to start a satellite radio station - because this is too nuts for terrestrial radio - where I edit all the song lyrics and play these hits - over and over again - in a vacuum of G-rated lovliness. (No g-strings required, thanks.)

As I was dreaming of what a huge market I could reach, intentionally misinterpreting hit songs for the masses, another song came on. This one is celebrating laziness, by telling us, in chilling detail, exactly what goes on behind closed doors when a guy is home alone. I think we all know what happens and frankly I think men should attempt to keep this on the down-low. Because honestly? It's just not that attractive, what you all do when you think no one is watching. And this song celebrates every disgusting detail. "Turn the TV on, throw my hand in my pants.....cause in my castle I'm the freaking maaaan."

Well. You just keep telling yourself that, chief. You tell me you're going to find a really nice girl and have some really nice sex - but really nice girls don't want you singing about it on the radio. And they certainly don't want the sounds that they make broadcast for all to hear. My 10 year old thought it was hysterical, however. Thanks for that. Here's a hot tip for you - if some girl is screaming out "This is great" during sex, than you are either 1. paying her or 2. doing it wrong. Because I have had some great sex - and I have never screamed out anything coherent, ever, when it was any good at all. But I guess that would really rhyme with p90x, would it? And what exactly is that, anyway? Is it like Viagra? because honestly, I would be advertising that either, man.

I cannot believe I am going to say this, but it's true. I miss "Baby Beluga". I really, really do.

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