Feb 252013
Spandau Ballet

This is what I’ve been driven to – are you happy Spotify?

I was not one of those people who were all up in arms when Tipper Gore first suggested labeling music as a warning to parents. I wasn’t particularly passionate either way about the subject. However, I didn’t see giving someone a heads up that the content of a song contained sexually explicit references or whatever as censorship.

Now that I’m a parent trying to find suitable content for my kids I actually appreciate when I have some warning before listening to a new song. That’s not to say I don’t stray into inappropriate material from time to time. You could make a case that I shouldn’t have been listening to any Flight of the Conchords with the kids, much less a song like “Business Time”. But it’s funny and I’m reasonably certain that the first few times they heard it they didn’t really have an idea what it was talking about. I did make sure to tell them not to repeat any lines from the song in polite company although they do often refer to their business socks – “I’ve got my business socks on!” and I’m glad we talked to them early about the birds and the bees.

Despite what you might consider my irresponsible lack of judgment when it comes to the music I’m exposing them to I now get to transition into the grumpy old man who doesn’t like that rocky roll music those darn kids are listening to these days.

I installed Spotify on my computer a while back to see what all the fuss was about, listened to one song, and promptly forgot about it. That is, I forgot about it only as long as it would allow me to forget about it. I began to be inundated with notices that acquaintances had just added a new song to this or that playlist. I was amused by the friend who had the “Dad’s Weird Music” playlist and I realized that it was yet another disturbing breach of privacy made possible by that paragon of over sharing, Facebook.

I went back to Spotify, made sure my settings were not broadcasting every Bix Beiderbecke song to the incredibly large number of Czech and Polish hipsters named Kubalak I have on my friend list, and started to explore to see if I could find any new music for the kids.

Merran has been concerned for a while that the kids, particularly our daughter, are being left behind by their friends when it comes to music because we’re not giving Katy Perry or Selena Gomez a lot of airplay. This is a valid point and I don’t want to feel like a fuddy duddy saying that music these days isn’t as good as it was when I was young. There’s lots of great music out there (although some folks need to give Auto-Tune a rest and learn how to sing – oh snap!). So I cranked up the Spotify and selected the Pop radio station thinking we might get some good musical suggestions. I’ve been trying this on and off for several weeks now and I have yet to get through one entire song. I think it’s telling that the very first song that came on during this experiment was Enrique Iglesias ‘Tonight (I’m F**kin’ You)’ feat Ludacris & DJ Frank E. Perhaps you can see the problem here – too much Auto-Tune!

Frankly I would rather have a carload of 10 year old girls singing “Last Friday Night”.

I tried again this morning and had to switch over to the 80s station because there just wasn’t anything appropriate. It doesn’t have to be Raffi but when Spandau Ballet is the preferable alternative it’s time to write a letter to Spotify and ask them to throw parents a bone.

Do you agree or disagree with my assessment or have something to add?

Scroll down just a little…the comments are Right There!

Let me know what you think.

  One Response to “Spotify This!”

  1. I am still pretty freaked out when I hear the kids walking around humming “Business Time”…But I agree – introducing them to cool, contemporary music is fraught with challenges. And it all seems so damn time consuming – I know much of the stress of parenting is self-inflicted but you should blog on all the things our generation of parents need to do to assure our kids can stay kids as long as they want to? Like buying clothes for girls: you cannot simply walk into any store and find age appropriate clothes for a 10 year old any more. There is research involved – and it seems to me that the more modest clothes are more expensive. Kind of like organic fruit.

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