May 14, 2009

Jesus, Milli Vanilli, and Bad Home Recordings

When Mia was a mere parasitic fetus, I strapped headphones on her mom's belly and blared a specially developed iTunes mix consisting of bitchin' classic, indie and progressive rock along with jazz, hair metal and 80's hits. (Hey look! Because I'm lazy and never actually remove anything from my site, the playlist is still up!) Now, I can't say for sure because Mia doesn't remember her in utero days but I'm convinced it had a hand in helping her develop her current love of music. Boy does she love music. At least a couple times a month she hears or mentions something that prompts me to download a song or an album for her. As a result, I have an iTunes library with thrash metal right along side Disney and Backyardigans tunes. (Sure hope I never get those confused. That would be one scary-ass bedtime.) But the music Mia's currently stuck on is - there's no other way to say it - fantastically shitty. And she listens to it constantly. As a music lover, it's almost physically painful for me to turn it on. It's like, say, having your choice of Rachmaninoff, Miles Davis, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd and Van Morisson and, instead, choosing Milli Vanilli. Milli Fucking Vanilli.

The Milli Vanilli in question is a cheesy CD of self-professed silly songs sung by a group of tone-deaf kids who very well might held captive in the basement of some deranged, washed up musician with a lame keyboard. The vocals are bad. Not cute five year old bad but more who drove over the cat and can you make it stop please bad. The instrumentation is terrible. Like I said, I suspect some washed up 80's musician (Milli or maybe Vanilli?) got his hands on what was, in 1985, a cool keyboard. It does not sound good or even cool in a retro kinda way in 2009. It actually sounds more like the music I made and recorded in my "home studio" (which was a keyboard, a guitar, and a four track mixing board stashed under the dining room table in our college apartment and featured self-important titles like "Illusion and Metaphor" or some shit like that which are now unlistenable and incredibly repetitive because, while I could come up with a riff, I apparently found it impossible to surround said riffs with any actual, you know, music) back in 1993 (using, of course, a cheesy keyboard which might have actually been made in the 80's).

If you can get yourself past the Milli Vanilli cheesyness, the horrid singing and the worse music, you'll notice pretty quickly that there's nothing silly about the songs. In fact, there's not much about them that's not focused on the wonder that is Jesus. Seriously. Pick a kids' song that has nothing to do with Jesus. I can almost guarantee they inject a little of the savior into it. It's actually scary how talented they are, weaseling Jesus into the hallowed pantheon of children's classics.

I care more about the bad music than I do the religious references. That said, they're out of place. Do I want my kids to learn about Jesus? Sure. Do I want them to listen to good, fun music? You bet. But in this case, never the twain shall meet.

What I really need are Iron Maiden lullabies.

Row row row your boat, into the depths of hell....
Twinkle twinkle little pentagram...
How much is that hell-hound in the window...

Posted by Chris at May 14, 2009 6:43 AM

Maiden lullabyes. love it. Rock! my kid loves music too and I love that. i think its so important to have music appreciation. thankfully we pretty much skipped kids music (with the exception of some kidz bop cds). but i love hearing my kid walk thru the house singing a Def Leppard tune, or most recently some Men at Work. i dig that :)

Posted by: madmom at May 14, 2009 7:37 AM

These are the trials of parenthood no one warns you about!

Posted by: Shelly at May 14, 2009 7:58 AM

Ha! "Row row row your boat, into the depths of hell" reminds me of (the original) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! :)

Posted by: margo at May 14, 2009 8:35 AM

These aren't the cd's that McDonalds is giving out right now, are they? Hubby and I are afraid to listen to them.

Posted by: Julie at May 14, 2009 8:37 AM

Have you heard of Rockabye Baby? We're planning to order the Metallica and Led Zeppelin lullabies for our yet-to-be-born child to see if that will influence his/her musical taste. There aren't any words, just lullaby music, but I find it hilarious to hear "One" as a lullaby.

Posted by: Leah at May 14, 2009 8:41 AM

Oh, Kidz Bop. Kidz Bop is of the devil, and not in a good way, like Iron Maiden lullabies. I think hating your kid's music is one of those rites of passage parents go through, and it looks like Mia's getting you off to an early start. At least there's some stuff she listens to that you like.

Also, what margo said. Hee!

Posted by: Fraulein N at May 14, 2009 9:20 AM

Here ya go!

Posted by: Brad at May 14, 2009 9:48 AM

There must be a way to turn Run to the Hills into a lullaby, right?

I hope Mia loses interest in that particular CD soon :)

Posted by: bad penguin at May 14, 2009 10:00 AM

A few weeks ago, I had a dream I was at an Angels baseball game, just behind the VIP section (oh, brain) and guess who were the ~big name~ stars in the VIP section? Milli Vanilli. So at least they're not infecting your subconscious.


Posted by: Sparkle Pants at May 14, 2009 10:21 AM

Dangit Brad beat me to it. I actually have a copy of that CD complements of my sister in law. It's creepy as you might imagine. You'd probably do more harm than good.

...gotta blame it on something.

Posted by: martin at May 14, 2009 10:47 AM

My mom gave me a CD for Kaelin to listen to that she got from her Bible study. It is the most painful thing I have ever heard. I don't know what it is about the Christian music genre that makes it acceptable to discard the quality filter. Maybe they figure God can bless people through any vehicle. But we have a rule in this house that the kids can't watch or listen to anything that Mama can't tolerate. My sacrificial parenting philosophy ends at bad media.

Posted by: Amy at May 14, 2009 10:50 AM

Remember how good fast food tasted when you were a kid, and how horrible good food tasted? Remember how you would cringe at the idea of eating something "healthy" for you, but load it up with sugar and slap on a layer of fat, and you'd kick your grandmother to get some. MMMMM.

Well, music tastes and food tastes probably follow the same kind of track. I can't for the life of me listen to some of the music I loved when I was a kid, and the choice between a Big Mac and a plate full of raw brocolli? Brocolli please.

Hang in there. Her tastes will change, and someday ( God willing ) she'll have a little one whose tastes in music are as awful. It is the parent curse, fulfilled.

Keep on trucking.


Posted by: metawizard at May 14, 2009 11:09 AM

I'm not exactly sure which is worse, having children who like music that you don't like, or having children who like good, if perhaps a tad inappropriate music, and sing it often and loudly, regardless of who's listening. Songs like Spirit of the West's 'Home for a Rest' - a song about a drunken debauch in London. ("You'll have to excuse me, I'm not at my best, I've been gone for a month, I've been drunk since I left.) Various Greenday songs in all their f-bomb-dropping glory. And so on.

Posted by: alison at May 14, 2009 11:32 AM

Jesus Weasel would be a great name for a band.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at May 14, 2009 11:49 AM

Here's a tweet of mine from last week: "Is it just me who thinks it's weird to listen to a 9 yo girl singing a song about a quadruple-amputee war-vet? ("One", not the U2 version)"

Yes there is something very... odd... about listing to a little-girl voice singing:

"Hoooold my breath as I wish for deeaaath. Oh please God take me!"

She is taking guitar lessons and has rejected the regular "Polly Wolly Doodle" fare for "Thunderstruck", "One", and "Master of Puppets" [sigh] Do you think CFS will be concerned? Please don't mention to them that we're taking her to AC/DC later this summer (if it happens to slip out, don't forget to mention that we'll make her wear ear plugs.)

Posted by: harmzie at May 14, 2009 11:54 AM

we used the rockabye baby cds, too, although those are for little babies, not toddlers looking to develop their musical tastes. some are better than others. the bob marley one was my absolute favorite.

in general, i find most things geared for toddlers TERRIFYING and INSIDIOUS. my mother in law gave lola a set of victoria osteen books for easter that creep me out.

Posted by: kati at May 14, 2009 12:07 PM

Maiden lullabies

Rock-a-bye Satan
the itsy-bitsy-addict

Posted by: Dozenroses13 at May 14, 2009 12:08 PM

Twenty years later and I still resent my parents for letting me listen to a tape about Squeeky the mouse and her love of the Jesus. Every time I say or think the phrase 'this is the end,' my mind somehow automatically fills in 'of a life of sin.' Because that was a verse in a Squeeky the mouse song.

Posted by: at May 14, 2009 12:11 PM

This is hilarious. But only because I don't have to listen to it.

Posted by: jessica at May 14, 2009 2:01 PM

Kidz Bop is of the devil. I hate that crap and I don't let my daughter listen to it.

Also, I'm a Christian and I don't like most Christian music. I was so proud of Jars of Clay when they strapped on the Seattle and put out their radio-ready CD in the mid-nineties. O! The days.

I feel your pain, Chris. Sorry.

Posted by: Brooke at May 14, 2009 2:03 PM

At least you don't have to do the Jungle Book's elephant parade 12 times a day while walking on your hands & feet!

Posted by: Nadine at May 14, 2009 2:52 PM

Screamo. That's what my oldest two listen to. Suicidal vocal cords spewing...well hell, I don't even know what the lyrics are.

Listen to Kings of Leon? I happen to enjoy them (oddly enough), and discovered one of my 10 year old twins listening to 'Sex is on Fire.' Yeah, that was fun.

Posted by: Theresa at May 14, 2009 7:23 PM

Okay, you need to turn her on to some good kids' music.

I recommend Tom Paxton's Goin' to the Zoo, The Laurie Berkner Band - start with Victor Vito, and Papillion's Cajun for Kids. Those are all fun and won't make *your* ears bleed.

Posted by: Kelley at May 14, 2009 11:51 PM

I was so happy that my kids took to Laurie Berkner and Dan Zanes. Both are awesome contributors to the kids' music scene. And the only Christian music they listen to is from VeggieTales (although I highly recommend the secular offerings on the "Silly Songs with Larry" collections. You haven't lived until you've heard a cucumber express his love for a soap opera manatee, set to a nice tango beat.) Even my professional musician/music snob husband is OK with the stylings we get from VeggieTales.

Posted by: MamaKaren at May 15, 2009 11:52 AM

Those nursery rhymes rock.

Posted by: Heather at May 15, 2009 12:45 PM

omg! I love progressive rock. Marillion is one of my favorite bands EVER. I cannot believe it, I thought I was the only one!!

Posted by: La Petite Belle at May 15, 2009 3:38 PM

My daughter is obsessed with the kidsbop CD we got in her happy meal while we were in the midst of moving. If I have to listen to kids singing Funky Town one more time I might just shoot myself.

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