Tuesday, April 17th, 2007
I’m a huge music fan, and it’s always a crap shoot when an artist writes and/or performs a song inspired by parenthood. It’s a tricky subject matter to cover without getting too gooey, you know? But then again, you pop this puppy out (and it probably hurt if you were the mother), so who says you can’t get a little über emotional over your very own Mini Me?
Either way, I submit to you my official top ten list of favorite songs written for or about kids. Think I got some wrong? Left something off? Included a clunker? Let me know. But be nice. This list is my baby. And, yes, it did hurt getting it all out …
10. Adrian Belew’s "Oh, Daddy" A fun little tune about a dad’s discussion on music biz fame and success with his little girl, who provides adorable guest vocals on the track. Favorite lyric: Oh daddy, when you gonna write that big hit? Oh daddy, when you gonna hit it real big, real big? Well, now that’s a tall request for such a small little girl, but I’ll try, try, till I get it just right.
9. Madonna’s "Little Star": Oh, Lourdes! The Material Girl turns Maternal Mama with this dreamy ditty with a light electronic edge. Think of an audible version of blowing bubbles with your baby! Favorite lyric: May the angels protect you, and sadness forget you, little star.
8. Eros Ramazzotti’s "Per Me Per Sempre": Va bene. You’ve probably never heard of this Italian pop singer, but you don’t even have to capisci Italian to melt over this lullaby he sings to his daughter. Believe me, that’s amore! Favorite lyric: Infiniti voli del cuore, infinita felicità, quando penso che tu sei, per me … per sempre. Which loosely translates to "Endless flights of the heart, endless happiness, when I think that you’re mine, forever."
7. The Dixie Chicks’ "Lullaby": Simple. Elegant. Haunting. And sweet. All at the same time. These three mommies are definitely ready to make night-night with this entrancing modern soother. Favorite lyric: Tomorrow there’ll be so much to do, so tonight I’ll drift in a dream with you. How long do you want to be loved? Is forever enough?
6. Harry Chapin’s "Cat’s In the Cradle": If any guy you know switches the station when this song comes on in the car because he says he doesn’t like it, don’t believe him for a nanosecond. You have my permission to call his sorry butt out on it: He just doesn’t want you to see him cry. Favorite lyric (or, the one that requires the most hankies): "When you coming home, son?" "I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, dad. You know we’ll have a good time then." Trivia: The song was actually penned by Harry’s wife, Sandy, a poet, who wrote it about her first husband’s distant relationship with his father. Upon initially hearing the poem, Harry wasn’t impressed. In spite of that fact, Harry and Sandy still went on and had their first child … but not until more than a year later.
5. Sade’s "The Sweetest Gift": It’s about time this sultry singer (a female Johnny Mathis, if you will) paid the public back. Her sexy songs have no doubt led to some baby makin’ over the years, so why not complete the circle and give her fans a beautiful song about the magical love of parenthood? Favorite lyric: Quietly while you were asleep, the moon and I were talking. I asked that she’d always keep you protected.
4. Cyndi Lauper’s "Above the Clouds": Another 80s pop diva turned cool mom. ("She Bop" meets "She Burp". Too much?) This song, inspired by her son Declyn, passes down the one-of-a-kind singer’s keen sense of individuality. Favorite lyric: Stand tall, and glide, when you’re all alone in the crowd. Don’t fall. Don’t hide. When you walk above the clouds."
3. LeeAnn Womack’s "I Hope You Dance": A crossover country song with a killer hook and soaring chorus. It’s a guide to life’s hard lessons, given from a parent to a child. When my niece was born, I gave the CD single and lyrics to everyone in my family. And we all cried. My niece is now 6 and, yes, she loves to dance. And every time she does, we all still cry. (I’m half Italian. So sue us.) Favorite lyric: Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter. When you come close to selling out, reconsider.
2. Radney Foster’s "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)": After this Texas based singer-songwriter and his wife divorced, she moved to Paris with their young son. Foster penned this heartbreaking lullaby for the little guy so that he could play it whenever he missed his father, who couldn’t be there to tuck him in at night. This tune’s a shot of southern discomfort, and boy does it burn going down. Favorite lyric: God bless mommy and match box cars. God bless dad, and thanks for the stars. God hears amen wherever we are, and I love you. Godspeed, little man. Sweet dreams, little man.
And now, to change the mood completely and to finally reveal the meaning behind the bulldog-in-a-baby-carriage photo, my all-time favorite song about or inspired by kids is …
1. Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty’s "You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly": Loretta Lynn is tops on my list of everything, just so y’all know. (Favorite hair? Yup. Favorite roasted ‘possum recipe? Yes ma’am!!) And this song is definitely one of her funniest. The banter at the end between her and Conway is hysterical. It’s like a Hee Haw sketch in the middle of a song. In a good way. Favorite lyric: You’re the reason our kids are ugly, little darlin’. Ah, but looks ain’t ev’rythin’, and money ain’t ev’rythin’, but I love you just the same. I guess that we won’t ever have everything we need, ’cause when we get ahead, it’s got another mouth to feed.
If you’re out there reading this somewhere, Loretta, I love you. And you’re more than welcome to write for us anytime. You’ll be the reason our blog is funny.
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Entertainment, Time for Fun
Tuesday, March 6th, 2007
… but let’s talk about sex. I saw a story on TV tonight about these things called Purity Balls—formal dances for which girls, some as young as 12, get all gussied up to attend with their fathers as dates. (It was the first story that came on ABC News when I got home from work.) At these father-daughter functions, all attendees make vows to one another: The girls sign a pledge stating that they’ll abstain from sex until they’re married, and the dads promise to help protect their chastity. Then everyone dances, has their picture taken, and chows down on a big, white, fluffy cake. A little creepy? C’mon, show of hands.
One girl in the report, 12, went so far as to insist that she wasn’t even going to date or kiss (blech!) a boy until she’s married, as her father smiled cooly in the background. (Apparently he’s got some mail order groom type thing planned, wherein she’ll wake up years down the road and the rest of the family will randomly introduce her to her husband over breakfast. "Pass the bacon, honey.") I mean, no one will argue that this girl wasn’t way too young to even be thinking about the "s" word, but was it realistic or fair to lead her to believe that she wouldn’t ever kiss a boy out of wedlock?
Still, perhaps the most grating comment in the report came from another father at the same dance. He made it quite clear that he was probably one of the most selfish, out-for-himself teenage boys in his group of high school friends. He knew the pleasure-seeking enemy so well, you see, because—aha!!!—he used to be the enemy. Okay. So there’s no big revelation there. I mean, I’ve seen Grease. Teenage boys are horn dogs who are always on the prowl for some action. And when they get it, or sometimes even just almost get it, they brag about such conquests via extravagantly choreographed musical numbers. Yeah, we’ve all lived through high school. We get it.
Now, I know there are other virginity movements that target both genders. But do you think these Purity Balls and other functions like them place too big an emotional burden on only the girls? And very young ones at that? Should there not be some sort of mother-son camping trip where young boys are taken out into a field and given a good talking to about how they need to act responsibly so that they can reduce the rate of teen pregnancies and the spread of STDs and HIV? Formally put them on call that if they don’t act responsibly, mom and dad are gonna be utterly disappointed? And if everyone wants to have a rousing round of ghost stories and a hot batch of s’mores after the responsibility contracts are signed, I’m all for it. When can we start?
Without a balance, it just seems to me that these Purity Balls might be better labeled "Boys Will Be Boys and You’re On Your Own, Sister!" dances. Or maybe that’s a tad clunky? Let us know what you think.
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