The Indignity of Parenting: Music

People who have only known me A.C. (after children) probably don’t know this, but I am a huge fan of music. My tastes have always been rather eclectic, ranging from folk and bluegrass to fusion jazz and alternative rock, but back in the day I was always looking to hear something new and original. In fact, the only kind of music that I categorically disdained was pop. (For those dedicated Southerners who are about to tell me that they enjoy both kinds of music, country and western, just stop right now and go wash your coon hound or something.)

Whether it was pop country or pop rock and roll, from my point of view all of it sounded remarkably the same. The same beats and lyrics churned out again and again for mass consumption; there isn’t even enough there to dislike.

I bring all this up today because this morning I was afforded the privilege of driving the girls to school. Since moving into the Casa de RW I’ve been more or less a dedicated bicyclist and  Mrs. RW has been the sole operator of the family car.

As we started out this morning, I tried flipping through the CDs in the deck only to discover that 4 of them were Glee compilations of pop music and the other 2 were Whitney Houston albums. To make matters worse, the children knew the words to many of the songs and yelled and screamed and threw things at me as I changed discs in an attempt to find actual music.

When did things go so terribly wrong? What happened to screaming F-bombs along with Fred Durst after a horrible day at work or remembering better days with Neil Diamond (the greatest singer/songwriter of this, or any, generation) or even just appreciating the on-the-spot improvisations of Modeski, Martin, and Wood?

This has got to be one of the saddest things about being a parent. Having your carefully crafted musical tastes completely shoved aside and rejected by your children and being forced to listen to the most obvious pandering to the masses ever attempted (not counting primary elections, of course).

It actually got worse this morning because my girls were singing along to this drivel and asked me if I liked their singing. What am I supposed to say? That the thought of my children actually enjoying this nonsense is like fingernails on a chalkboard? I mean sure, they were  a little pitchy, but it was early in the morning and clearly they were still warming up their voices and that wasn’t the reason that I was silently weeping. Like every good parent I told them that I loved their singing and asked them what they would like to listen to next. The Gnome told me that she’d like to listen to Tick Tock and when the song started she started belting out the lyrics… and another little piece of my already mangled soul died.

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