The other day I was driving my son to baseball. It was just the two of us, and as I was flicking through the stations, I came upon one of my all-time favorites, “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John. It was a beautiful New England afternoon, with natural sunlight streaming in through the windows. As it always does, Elton’s voice made me want to sing as loudly as I could. So I did.
A disgruntled voice from the back was quick to chime in. “MOM! WHAT SONG IS THIS?” For a moment I thought about sharing with him how twenty years ago we all joked that Elton was actually singing, “Hold me closer Tony Danza,” but then it occurred to me that my son would have not a clue as to what I was talking about and it would only make him angrier. In a voice sounding somewhat like Chevy Chase, I said, “Tiny Dancer is a classic, Tom. It’s one of Elton John’s best.” To no avail, he stubbornly shook his head and said, “This song is AWFUL.”
Most of the time, I feel like a hostage in my own car, expected to deliver my children safely to their playdates and activities while also playing D.J. to ensure they can comfortably listen to their music along the way. It’s become so bad that I should probably throw the towel in, wear white gloves and a hat, and just accept my role as driver extraordinaire. I know I’m only being asked to man the radio because these three lovelies of mine sitting in the back can’t yet reach the dial. It’s occurred to me on more than one occasion how absolutely awful most of their music is. A couple of months ago I told them that we would go in a circle from now on. Everyone in the car must take turns picking songs. We can all share what we like, which is how the dial ended up on Elton John. As you can see, the response has been lukewarm, but I am insistent on sticking to my plan. Otherwise, their music might finish me off.
After all, in my eleven years as a mother, I have barely survived listening to many of the worst possible songs ever, among them, “I’m Sexy And I Know It” which seemed to hang around on the dial for an eternity. Thank goodness my kids now tell me that song “Is SO old mom. Nobody is listening to that anymore.” No argument here kids, I’m happy to bury it along with that nasty guy in the video who looked like a modern-day Richard Simmons (they never watched that, thank goodness). It would be unthinkable that my children could be driving their own kids around someday claiming the song as a classic, right? With such meaningful lines like “Girl look at that body” followed by “Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle”, I’m hopeful we can stick a fork in it for good.
Just when I thought things might take a turn for the better, something even worse has come along in the form of J. LO’s latest smash hit, with a title so bad that Strunk & White would have both had heart attacks over the grammar. It’s called “I Luh Ya Papi,” and she incessantly sings the same thing so many times that if I still owned a record player, I’d put all my chips on the fact that the needle was stuck. Something tells me it might be tough for a new artist to break onto the music scene with a title of this nature.
The last straw (until the next horrible song comes along) can be found in the form of another high-quality melody entitled, “Let Me Take A Selfie.” What is with this generation and their constant obsession to post photos of themselves and close friends with the small-minded assumption that anyone else actually cares? The only humor I find in this song is that my husband does an absolutely fabulous imitation of the girl who sings it. He has her whiney and annoying voice nailed, and every time he sings his version, I burst out laughing.
Then, I think, perhaps I am being too harsh? How many times did we listen to “Down Under”, “Gloria”, or “MICKEY” before our parents probably wanted to take a sledge-hammer to the radio in the Caprice Classic wagon? Maybe my memory is failing me, but I feel like our parents were singing those songs with us. Although certainly songs like “Heaven” or “I Wear My Sunglasses At Night” left them with headaches too.
A couple of years ago, we were a household obsessed with “Party In The USA”. I even recall my husband’s friends belting it out, hands up, and moving their hips after several beers. Most of them were wearing khakis and sneakers, letting off some steam after shuttling kids around to t-ball and other activities. Temporarily, Miley made us want to be young and hip again until we realized that we are just fine as is, finding quiet moments alone to listen to our “normal” music.
A few months ago, all my kids could take about was “What Does The Fox Say?” which led me to wonder if there may be a market opportunity for we moms to write our own version, “What Does The Mom Say?” If the fox was able to imprint his message so deeply in my kids’ minds, maybe there is hope for me?
For now, we’re still hot on “Wrecking Ball” which, most days, best describes the scene at my house: dirty dishes, piles of laundry, unmade beds, and an overall longing for a dumpster and a personal organizer to help me it the reset button on my life.
Of course there is everyone’s new favorite, “Let It Go,” and I have to say that I like this song. I think it has a lovely tune and positive message. I’ve actually adopted it as a sort of personal theme song for myself. So much to do that you’ll next have free time when you’re 52? LET IT GO. Spouse kept you up snoring all night again? LET IT GO. Burned the sh&t out of your finger using a glue gun fixing your daughter’s play costume and were left with a blister? LET IT GO. Bad color job in your hair that left you looking like a skunk? LET IT GO. Spent three hours in your car after school driving three kids to 16 different activities? LET IT GO.
At least I can add “Crowd-pleasing D.J.” to my resume. That’s something, right?