So, here's how my sons started listening to lite rock.
Not long ago, my wife was out grocery shopping (aka grocery shopping). I was at home taking care of my 4-year-old twin sons (aka playing on the Internet and being really clever on Twitter). They were practicing writing letters and numbers at the kitchen table (aka throwing toys over a ledge and laughing as they tumbled down the stairs).
One of them, whom I call Bay, took a break from writing (karate kicked his way off the table like a goddamn ninja) and went to go find a carrot to nibble on (a piece of candy that he spotted on the floor that ended up actually being a small piece of an eraser).
While he tried to figure out what he was chewing on, the other one, whom I call Meechy, became impatient.
Now, Meechy is pleasant if everyone is doing and saying exactly what he wants. Beyond that, he is a complete asshole. As soon as someone says or does something that could be stretched into any semblance of disrespect, he becomes a psychopath. He once responded to his mother playfully taking his roll off of his plate by tossing a piece of ham at her.
Even so, I had not anticipated his response to his brother's slowfootedness.
He stopped what he was doing, looked over at his brother, then plainly shouted, “Hey, come on, fucker.”
A fucker. He just up and called him a fucker.
After I'd stopped laughing (unavoidable in that situation, really), I asked him about it. I did this because I'd forgotten that attempting to actually talk about something with a 4-year-old is as productive and pleasant as playing baseball with your penis.
The conversation had no legs. I'd ask him something and then he'd try and guess what I wanted him to say. We did that for 10 hours (45 seconds).
Eventually I declared that he'd be allowed no more TV and no more rap* music. My logic was that there's cussing in both. (I'm almost certain I heard one of the Backyardigans call a brontosaurus a bitch once.)
And so, we've been on an only-the-clean-version-of-rap-music diet for the past few months. The only music we've been listening to in the car and during bedtime has come via a “soft favorites” radio station. Unfortunately, that means the boys' tastes are beginning to trend toward the banal, which is probably the worst thing on the planet.
Here are their five AHHHHHH! THAT'S MY FAVORITE SONG! songs that we are, under no circumstances, allowed to skip or pass over if they come on.
Shakira, “She Wolf”
This one the boys actually know because they accidented across the video once and haven't stopped talking about it yet. The first time they saw it, Meechy remarked, “What was she doing with her butt?” I guess that's the same sort of commentary people have been offering about Shakira for some time now.
I'mma be, I'mma be, I'mma-I'mma-I'mma be driving this car right the fuck into oncoming traffic. Jesus.
Here's how you make a song that a child will like: STEP 1. Make it sound like a robot is involved. STEP 2. Cash your check.
Journey, “Any Way You Want It”
Admittedly, this is good. Journey is aces. My dad listened to it. I listen to it. The boys will too, it seems. When Bay came downstairs from his nap singing this, it was probably one of four times in his life I was truly, truly proud. The other three? When he:
–At 2 years old, complained of his book, “The words won't talk to me.” He was trying to read and was heartbroken that he couldn't.
–Carried his terrible 3-year-old YMCA soccer team to victory over the league's bully-ball team. The halftime speech he gave his brother: “You just have to push everyone and get the ball.” He scored 1,000 goals that game, I think.
–Asked to say grace at dinner (we don't do this, so either he learned it at school or Jesus is really talking to him), then launched into a hyper-holy, nonsensical prayer. He prayed for his family, his toys, Batman and Spider-Man, farts, ice, basketball, boogers, coloring books and regular books.
Any way you want it.
Spin Doctors, “Two Princes”
I mean, I don't even know. I guess I'm raising white teenagers who grew up in the '90s. If someone asks me to buy one of those toboggan hats, I'm moving out.
Fiona Apple, “Criminal”
There just aren't a lot of ways to explain away your sons shouting, “I've been a bad, bad girl” in the bleachers while they watch you play basketball against other grown men.
BTW, were I Fionna Apple, I'd call out American Apparel for lifting its whole advertising aesthetic from this video. She was doing that nearly-sickly-smoky-eyed model thing way before AA. Incidentally, I will say that what AA has done for men without defined chests (make them cool and desirable, basically) has been Godlike. Thanks for that one, yo.