It’s been months since I’ve written, and years since I’ve written about music (don’t you remember my wildly popular “Listen to This” series? No? Oh.). I write today to talk about music that should not be listened to. Well, that’s awfully dramatic. You can listen to these songs. But keep your kids away! I am not a parent (unless you count my puppy, but she doesn’t understand lyrics, so I’m safe), but if I had a child with me, I would absolutely turn the radio off when certain songs come on, because some things are just not appropriate for children. Children will be adolescents before any of us are prepared to deal with it, and adolescents will be confronted with sex, drugs and alcohol also before any of us are ready to deal with it. So there is really no need of speeding up the inevitable by talking about sex, drugs or alcohol in a way that glorifies the behavior. Their friends will do that on their own in, like, five years.
The first song that made me think about this is actually one that I love. It’s Doses and Mimosas, by Cherub. The beat is infectious and it makes me want to dance. And then I listened to the words, and for a minute, I thought, “Wow, that’s actually sort of empowering.” The lyrics are something like, “To all you bitch ass hoes, who hate me the most, I hate you too; to all you punk ass thugs, who just want to talk shit, I hate you too; to all that high class ass, that’s too hot too fast, I hate you too.” Here’s what I think is awesome about those words – people talking shit and making you feel like they hate you? F* it! Hate them too. I love that. But then comes the chorus: “Doses and mimosas, cocaine and champagne, that’s what gets me through.”
Now, as much as I adore the message of not giving haters and jerks the time of day, I don’t necessarily think that drinking and drugs are the way to get through it. Isn’t feeling empowered enough? How about being high on life? Does that make me sound old and uncool? Hmph.
Recently, I heard a song being played on the radio by someone called Tove Lo. The song is called Habits and is essentially about a woman who is no longer with her significant other, and has to stay “high all the time, to get you off my mind.” Not only is she “high”, she sings of going to sex clubs, binge eating Twinkies and then throwing them up in the bath tub – gross – and “drinking up” all of her money. Hey, that’s neat. So someone broke up with her, and her response is to mope around feeling sorry for herself and using it as an excuse to stay drunk, high, promiscuous and bulimic. I think the singer is from Sweden, so maybe “high” is supposed to mean drunk, and video only shows her drinking, but “high” to me generally means drugs. Is this song merely an ode to self-pitying substance abuse and other vices? And an eating disorder?
I thought maybe I was just being an old fuddy-duddy about all of this, but at a work party a few weeks ago, the song “Chandelier” by Sia came on. One of the guys I work with, who has two young girls, said his daughters adore this song, and love to sing along to it, and then one day he realized it was about getting drunk. The “chandelier” of the title is meant to be swung upon after she “throws ’em back ’til I lose count.” Then, “the sun is up, I’m a mess.” So at least she lets everyone knows what the consequences of all that drinking will be – a crappy hangover! It’s practically a PSA.
I must be turning a corner in life. I’ve always been a champion for artists’ self expression, but I can’t help but feel that that self expression has taken a turn and we are now glamorizing co-dependent, self-pitying behavior, as well as a plethora of vices as a way to deal with said self-pity. Don’t pick yourself up by your bootstraps and shoulder on like a strong, independent young woman! Spend all of your money on booze and hang out in sex clubs! I can only imagine if I was driving around in a car with my sister’s kids, and one of these songs came on, I would immediately change the channel to Radio Disney or something safe where I can be reasonably sure that none of the songs will have the words “cocaine,” “high,” or “sex clubs.” Think of the children.