You’re as smart as your playlist…

I am a music enthusiast I guess you could say. My dad raised my brother and I on loud rock and roll from the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s. He often sang us to sleep on the side of the bed strumming his acoustic guitar to Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin. I was in college before I realized The House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals was about a whore house in New Orleans! My dad sang that song ALL THE TIME! It was not uncommon for him to sweep me up in the kitchen and swing dance with me to Elvis, CCR, The Drifters, Four Tops or Temptations. I knew them all and when I became a teenager, I loved MY music. The Awesome 80’s:)

As I age, I find myself increasingly repulsed by today’s music. I want to be a hip 40-something year old mom of two grown children! However, I just cannot make myself like the music coming out today, in particular, the hip/hop/rap variety. I find myself not only correcting the grammatical errors but wandering, “was that even a word?” when listening. Actually, you probably could not understand a rap song today without an Urban Dictionary or a worldly 13 yr old handy. I feel our nation is growing dumber with each rap song produced. Little Einsteins has proven that what a child listens to and watches has a profound impact on their brain (just to keep it simple…I won’t site the millions of research studies that have proven the same).

This line of thinking reminded me of my younger years and listening to my dad complain about the music of my generation. I remember listening to Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” with the volume as low as I could get it so that my dad would not take the cassette away from me. I know Prince (or the artist formerly known as the later?!!) pushed boundaries with his lyrics as well. I can even recall the first “explicit lyrics” label to get slapped on 2LiveCrew (spelling?)….but none of these compare to the stuff I hear spilling from Nicki Minaj or Lil Wayne’s lips! There are three general themes in all rap songs now: getting drink, high, stoned, ect…, sex, and not just the act in general, but in explicit detail including body parts (see Urban Dictionary) and what to do to them, and stacks on stacks of money…

We say music is the voice of a generation. But is it really? Or, does it actually DEFINE that generation? Is it because I am mature and a conscious, decision making, confident in my actions adult that I choose not to listen to the music of this generation or that I do not relate to it? Who really relates to rap music? Rappers? And do they really or do they just wish?

We worry about what fashion magazines tell our daughters about their body image. What is the rap genre telling them? What is it telling our young men about respect for women, their parents and authority?

I believe the music of a generation shapes the way the youth of that generation think and act. Look at Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. They are slowly becoming the norm.

And I know some may argue that each generation thinks the next generation’s music is worse than the last. And, it is! We are becoming desensitized with each new introduction of more vulgarity and profanity. My dad told me my grandmother wouldn’t let him listen to The Beatles or Jerry Lee Lewis in the house. She considered it trash;) I pray Grandma cannot get satellite radio in heaven…

What scares me? How much worse can it get? What will my grandchildren be listening to and influenced by?

Give me Cyndi Lauper any day…


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