There has been an abundance of articles circulating the web on how to talk to your daughters about Miley Cyrus or how to talk to your sons about Robin Thicke after their shocking performance of Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” at MTV’s VMAs, but the greater conversation still appears unspoken: have you talked to your children about their shitty, shitty taste in music yet? Or more importantly, have you talked to yourself about how you could let you children have such shitty taste in music?
While everyone is ranting and raving about Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke’s best impression of LeeLoo and Beetlejuice doing softcore porn, we should really be asking ourselves as a society how we’ve let such incredibly bad music seep into our homes.
Why do your children listen to knock-offs of Marvin Gaye? Why don’t they just listen to Marvin Gaye? Don’t you have Marvin Gaye records lying around, for crying out loud? Marvin Gaye sang about sex, but in a sexy way. Not in a rapey way. For example: while Marvin Gaye sings lines such as “You can love me when you want to, babe // This is such a groovy party, baby” in “Got to Give It Up”, a song that Thicke acknowledged being inspired by and caused him to preemptively sue the Gaye family re: copyright infringement allegations , Thicke sings “You the hottest bitch in the place“. Since this is a blog post about shitty taste in music and not about feminism, I will ignore the fact that this is an incredibly offensive lyric and zero in on the fact that “you the hottest bitch in the place” is just plain ol’ incorrect English. Instead of worrying about your children watching scantily clad women being dry humped by men who could be their father, you should be more concerned about your children dropping verbs from their sentences.
Aside from the lyrics, I’m not even sure there is a single instrument other than one keyboard in “Blurred Lines” (as semi-proved by the VMA performance; I’m not sure MTV knows what a musical instrument even looks like anymore). Remember when songs were played by a band with several talented musicians? Remember when middle class or impoverished kids got together and sang in a garage and they would mail their tape demos to label execs and sometimes, just sometimes, that label exec would get all excited and phone the kids in Detroit or Minneapolis or some other cold-ass place and say, “You’re going to be stars, kids!”? Remember when musicians weren’t solely children of famous people?
If you’re worried about your kids twerking, then teach them the “Electric Slide”. That’s what I did when I was 12. The Electric Slide is shitty music too, but at least it’s 18 completely asexual dance moves. Hell, teach your kids the “Macarena” for fuck’s sake. I’d have way more respect for your 13 year-old if I saw them being the lone nerd doing the “Macarena” at a school dance. They’ll even learn Spanish in the process.
If my kids ask me why I’m so sensitive about this issue, I will tell them it’s because shitty music comes from people who have money and who constantly stroke each other’s big fat egos. I will tell them that, sadly, the art industries are run by people with neither style nor class, who care more for shock value that ultimately makes them more money. People who make shitty music don’t care about grammar or about using instruments, and they prefer to knock-off or sample all the great work that has come before them.
It’s time to take away our children’s TVs, iPhones, iPads and all the other shit they shouldn’t have and force them to listen to music prior to 1999. We should take our children on record buying trips. We should read Keith Richards’ autobiography before bedtime (with some censoring). We should show them what a cassette tape looks like and tell them that if they make a really cool mixtape, they’ll make someone fall in love with them. We should force them to listen to the uncut versions of “Stairway to Heaven”, “American Pie” and “Free Bird” because they should be subjected to the same 20 minutes of radio monotony that we had to. If my daughter wants to look like Stevie Nicks, I’d proudly buy her a shawl and moon-shaped tambourine. If my son wants a poster of Frank Zappa crapping on the toilet, I would buy it and frame it over his bed. If my children end up hating me for taking away their top 40 diarrhea, I would tell them it’s for their own good because I don’t want them growing up to be like Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke simply because they’re shitty, shitty artists.