There is nothing so wonderful as hearing your child sing. It’s right up there with watching them sleep or seeing them being taken off for the weekend by a Grandparent! The first time you hear them sing a song that you can actually recognise is a big day in the life of a parent. They start with songs that they’re learning at nursery. Repetition is a key part of their repertoire. Why sing Twinkle Twinkle when you can sing Twinkle to the power of infinity. That’s not at all annoying.
But as they get older they start to pick up pop songs, mostly from listening to the radio. Pop songs which have been deemed by the powers that be safe for children to listen to. I’m going to suggest that the powers that be need to add to this process putting a bunch of 4 year olds in a room, teaching them the lyrics to a song and then asking them to sing it before they decide whether or not it’s fit for purpose. They’re not doing this currently. They’re not even thinking about it. Four year olds sing along – if the song is about humping your bitch they don’t know that, they just happily sing about humping their bitch! IT’S ALARMING!!!
Now that I’m a parent I realise that EVERY SINGLE POP SONG IS ABOUT SEX or love BUT MOSTLY SEX. Why is it all about sex? There are plenty of other subjects in the world that invoke passionate responses so why not sing about them? Why does nobody sing about friendship. Or sport. Or children’s clothes with dry clean only labels (why? WHY!!!)
Let’s look at Little Mix’s latest hit – shout out to my Ex. See how this has destroyed my faith in human nature.
LITTLE MIX This is a shout out to my ex
Heard he in love with some other chick
MY CHILD Mummy, what’s a chick?
ME A word that men use to describe women. I don’t know why Little Mix are saying that when they’re all about empowering young girls.
MY CHILD What’s empowering?
ME What you are. That’s why you ask me questions.
LITTLE MIX I hope she gettin’ better sex
Hope she ain’t fakin’ it like I did, babe
MY CHILD I have so many questions
ME I’m driving
MY CHILD Is this like that time I asked if cats have Vaginas?
Or how about Jason Derulo and his Want to Want me song which involves him driving over to a ladies house to have sex in the middle of the night because he’s feeling horny one presumes.
JASON It’s too hard to sleep
I got the sheets on the floor, nothing on me
MY CHILD That man is nudey!!!
ME Well yes, he’s hot
MY CHILD Rudey rudey nudey
ME He’s hot!
MY CHILD Rudey rudey nudey nudey
ME Yes, alright. He was hot. You sleep in your pants when it’s hot.
MY CHILD But not the nude. Nudey rudey nudey rudey.
ME I’m tuning you out now.
JASON I got one foot out the door, where are my keys?
‘Cause I gotta leave yeah
In the back of a cab
MY CHILD He’s nude in a cab
ME Fair point well made
MY CHILD Nuder Uber
ME How do you know about Uber?
MY CHILD You Tube
If you accidentally listen to Radio 1 (you’re too old – stop doing that now if you’re still doing it on purpose) you may come across a young chap called Pitbull singing a song called Timber.
PITBULL I have ’em like Miley Cyrus, clothes off
Twerking in their bras and thongs, timber
MY CHILD I can twerk!
ME Has your Dad taught you that because I haven’t?
MY CHILD Should we be doing a fun run for Miley Cyrus. Raise some money to buy her clothes?
ME Let’s not just stop at Miley. Let’s put clothes on them all darling!
PITBULL Face down, booty up, timber
MY CHILD Face down, booty up, timber
ME Do you know what that means?
MY CHILD No, but I’m definitely going to sing it just as the headmaster walks past so you get one of those fun phone calls from school again Mummy.
I can’t fight this! Well I can but it involves turning the radio off. Or so I thought. I’ve recently however discovered Encore Radio which plays only musical theatre songs. Nobody sings about sex in musical theatre – only love and lovely things like catching trains, arriving in town, being in a show and having appropriate feelings for a member of the opposite sex whilst respecting them because if you don’t you get your come-uppance before the end of the show! Hooray for musical theatre.
But what will those of you do who can’t bear musical theatre?!?!?!? If you can’t bear Barbara Streisand then it looks like you’re stuck listening to Justin Fletcher CDs for the rest of your child’s life! Personally it’s Babs all the way for me.
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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure. She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right. Infact 85% of the kids who come through STORY STORKS are right where they should be or ahead in terms of progression through the reading book scheme once they get to school and the ones who are behind are trying hard because they know that it’s worth it – that to read is to unlock a whole world of fun and adventure and learning and imagination and they might take a bit longer to get there but they’re determined that get there they will.