Oops, we listen to top 40

Have I gotten my daughters into bad music?  And if so, do I need to show them one escape route now or just let them find their own way later on?  They like a couple songs airing on NickTeen (my kids are not even close to teen..bad mom?).  I thought we could bond over a couple catchy songs.   I’d be supermom for noticing what songs they heard on tv and finding them on my itunes and then surprise!! now they are in the car!

Now every day, by no fault but my own, we have to hear the same 4 manufactured pop hits over and over and over.. (I thought the car DVD player breaking was a good thing for us).  I’m totally sick of them.   I can fully admit a good song is a good song no matter who puts it out there, I myself was pretty into chart topping 80’s music and still am.  I sing along with my kids every time I hear “Party in the USA” and that came out only a couple of years ago (I think).

People should discover new music on their own with a little direction from someone they trust.  I remember my gateway guy.  He played me  his entire 7″ collection one afternoon and I was a new person.  I still liked listening to songs that were immediatly catchy and dance-worthy but my whole world opened up.  So, with the discovery of a love of music being the real focus, it’s fine to have what we use to dub “top 40”  into my young children’s rotation.

Here’s the problem:  The regurgitation of the same melodies and chords and production starts training their little ears to not give anything else a chance.  For instance, I’m listening to Van Morrison right now but since the chorus is a minute into the song and the words aren’t about my girlfriend breaking up with me and party time, they (the girls) want to move on to something more like..candy.  Van Morrison would be a well cooked meal and the song they want is a freakin sweet tart.  Great tasting but makes you sick and doesn’t fill you up.  You love the immediacy but then you get a stomach ache if you go overboard.  So here is my plan.

Out of all the hits that I can’t bear to hear one more time on our drive home from school, I worked in the Dixie Chicks (who I saw in concert once and who are seriously,really great)  No, they are not on NickTeen but they still have that polished country/pop sound to their hits and as long as I turn it up to match the rocketing volume of the newer songs, the flow is fine.

I’m planning a song segway chain from the annoying overplayed songs eventually back into less manufactured music.


Those radio pop hits written by Dr. Luke (whom I’m slightly jealous of)  and those 40 something hollywood songwriting teams all sound the same-with Dr. Luke being the one with the best hooks.   They certainly have a winning formula but I have a sneaking suspicion that the formula involves chemicals pumping through the speakers that just make you want more-just like Ron Mac’s french fries. (sorry, I’m hungry right now)


Here’s one plan (there could be a million ways to do this):

Dixie Chicks–>Adele (introduced already)–> Robyn (they already love her)—>Regina Spektor—>Mirah—>Cathlin DeMarrais—>Karen Dalton…I get lost here  (They only want girl vocals and I know they want upbeat but they also love an occasional mellow, pull-at-the-heartstrings song)

I ‘ve started talking about how I know or have played with some of these women or telling stories about their musical journey (something a lot of Nick bands don’t really have).   A personal connection can’t hurt, right?


I’m not only trying to squeeze in different sounds and song structures, I want lyrcis that don’t follow mainstream music patterns.   I want to train their ears to hear a good song even when the production is different, older or less polished.  I want them to hear vocals that aren’t auto-tuned.  I want them to know that there is more to a great song than a catchy chorus about hanging out.  (Or is there?)

Lend me your suggestions on the song chain.


In closing- I don’t have a problem with my kids listening to anything.  I just want them to keep their ears (and options) open.  I don’t want them suffering from an audio brainwash.  Maybe I should send them loose with my old 4 track so they start understanding the beauty of lo-fi.. or I could just show them how easy garage band is…I don’t know.

I do know this-I don’t want to hear another song by Hot Chelle Rae  in my car ever again (but damn it’s catchy).

Article Posted 4 years Ago
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