Top 40 Kids

A good education, nice friends, and a healthy diet…

The answer is: “What do parents want for their children?”

Sure, education and all that other stuff is important. I suppose. But, there is something else I want for my children. I’ve tried to guide, model, encourage, and reward. What is this thing I am referring to, you may wonder? Well, I’m talking wise musical choices.

I’ve had this on my mind since BR was born, 8 years ago. I wanted to inculcate him into the finer things in life. For my wife and I, that means the music of Bruce Springsteen and the East Street Band. Those of you who read this blog know how I feel Bruce and the band (only one more month till the concert). Anyway, don’t we all want to expose our children to the things we enjoy and hope that they will share this enjoyment? I know it’s not just me. My blogger friend over at Life Takes Over ( literally had her children on her lap as she was listening to a favorite album. Who needs bedtime?

While I appreciate Life Takes Over’s direct approach, I’ve tried to be more subtle. And I was having success. BR really started getting into music when he was about 5. He would request that I turn on the radio in the car. As I flipped through the stations, I’d ask him;

“You like this song?”

“Do you like it, Daddy?”

“Ehh. Not one of my favorites.”

“Yeah. It’s just okay.”

This process would repeat itself till we found a song I liked. BR would announce afterwards that he liked the song as well. So obedient then – sigh.

During those “Glory Days” (Springsteen song title – subtle, right?), BR, SJ, (my 5.5 year-old) and I would have dance parties while listening to Springsteen’s greatest hits album. Those of you who know me well can pick yourselves off the floor – yes, I danced. BR memorized the first stanza of “Thunder Road” – my favorite Springsteen song. He wanted to learn the words – I was just there to facilitate. The musical indoctrination was going very well.

Times have changed.

I’m not sure when it happened or why. BR tolerated Springsteen, but he wanted something else. He turned into a – drum roll please – a top 40 kid. When I flipped through the dials and asked what he liked, he had a strong opinion, and my opinion no longer mattered. He wanted dance music, pop music, etc. Katy Perry seemed to be a particular favorite of his and the song “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz made his blood pressure rise.

My obedient boy was no longer. And he took his little brother SJ with him. I’m losing them. Now when we are in the car, the first thing BR asks is for Mom’s “music player” so he can plug in and tune us out. I am quite certain he is not listening to Bruce Springsteen.

Shall I adjust?

This summer the boys are hooked on “Call it Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen and “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction. I’ve heard the songs more than enough times. Both songs are catchy and singable. I’ll give them that. Razza frazza. My musical tastes might even be getting more diverse as their tastes grow.

I just hope my children leave a little room for Bruce as well. After all, I am trying to raise them the right way.


35 thoughts on “Top 40 Kids

  1. My mom would drag me to classical concerts when I was in high school!! I could not stand going, but my first year in college I went on my own! Now, I love the music! Keep hope my friend! Someday they will find out what true music is 🙂

  2. Keep on doing what you’re doing. Your boys will come back to Bruce. Doesn’t everyone eventually? 😉 I’m a bit eclectic in my musical tastes. And therefore, I have a hard time insisting that my kids stick to one kind of music over another. As long as they listen to and are moved by music, I’m good with that. I totally get what you’re saying in this post, though. When my daughter was younger, I was hard core into country music. And she seemed to be showing a real interest in that genre as well (I was so proud), but her father was less than impressed and started singing Nazareth’s This Flight Tonight to her as a bedtime song (in more of a lullaby tone, of course). Alas, my daughter is all about the top 40 now. I think it’s inevitable. But as long as she (and her brother) listen to music and develop their own respectable tastes (no gangsta rap in my house please), I’ll be happy.

    • It would be nie if could share the love of Bruce’s music. If not, that will have to be okay. Like you, I do hope they find some joy in music and I look forward to hearing where their tastes take them (ditto on the violent stuff).
      Thanks for commenting and the inspiration.

  3. Hahaha – top 40 kids. For some reason my boys have really attached themselves to They Might Be Giants since Husband played it in the car once. Cody’s favorite song is Istanbul, not Constantinople. We have to listen to it every time we get in the car. Good luck bringing your boys back to Bruce! 🙂

    • I wish my kids would listen to They Might be Giants! The three of them have different music tastes, but like many here, I have failed, (temporarily), to get them to listen to my beloved Grateful Dead. “This isn’t Rock n Roll”, my youngest says, as he requests Paradise CIty from GNR. *shakes head* I like this post.. it gives me hope that one day all my children will wear tie-dyes with me!

  4. As long as it is not death metal, modern jazz (noise with no direction), or any sort of rap (which is not music and most of it is dirty), I will listen to it.

    My son, Arron, loved bands like AC/DC and Led Zepplin. He also loved classical music. When he was a teenager, he would drive down the dirt roads of Oklahoma with Mozart blaring from his speakers in the car. Everyone thought he was nuts, but that was just Arron being Arron.

    My youngest son, Riley, loved and still loves, Southern Rock. Lynard Skinner Band, (some Bruce Springsteen). He loves the Blues (which I find depressing after a bit), and he loves old time Rock and roll. Surprisingly, he is a huge fan of old time Country and Western music – Johnny Cash, George Jones etc.

    I guess we influenced them in some ways, but my boys were always the ones to go their own way and not worry about what was in or cool. We had one hard and fast rule, however, the DRIVER of the car got to choose the music. Which worked out well, until they started driving. If I never hear a metal band again, I will be a happy camper.

    Road trips were not always pleasant, because we didn’t have all the gizmos kids have today, and the radio, cassette, and eventually, the CD were all we had for entertainment. Time was when we would throw our stuff in the back of the VW camper van, load up our kids, and take off. My boys would play in the back (with out restraints of any kind) while we toodled down the road with good old 50’s, 60’s, & 70’s music blaring.

    Your boys will always remember “Dad’s Music” and they will probably come round to listening to it often as adults. But, between now and then, be prepared to be educated.

    • I think you are right that it will take time and at some point, they may reconsider my music. After all, our musical tastes evolve – even mine are slightly.
      It’s funny the gadgets makes trips easier in so many ways but I am not sure they are better. So much can be said on this topic – compromise, sharing, etc. Anyway, the trips you describe sound great.
      Your tastes are certainly eclectic. Mine are wider than I state for the purppose of the article but I am not sure they are as wide as yours. Anyway, the story of your son and Mozart is awsome. I am trying to imagine it.
      Take it easy and thanks so much for your comments.

      • I agree, the gadgets make it easier for the parents but with everyone wearing headphones, no one talks to each other. One summer, we drove in our old van from Oklahoma to San Francisco to visit my husband’s parents. On the way there, Hal read A Wrinkle In Time outloud. My boys loved it. On the way back, he read The Time Machine by HG Wells. It was a great way to travel.

        On eclectic music, you must realize I have lived in 11 countries, and travelled to even more. I tend to pick up cultural things like music, art, and food from all that travel. Nothing like Christmas Carols being sung in Cantonese, or Mickey Mouse speaking French. The funniest was Donald Duck in German. A cross between the duck and Sgt. Schultz from that old sit come in the 1970’s.

  5. That’s funny! Music cancertainly make a lasting impression. My Dad would play the soundtrack LPs of Sergio Leone Westerns, like ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’. I have a strong attachment to Van Morrison and The Clash. So I’m sure my son will grow as tired of my music by the time he reaches 4 as I did with my Dad’s music. But maybe when he’s an adult he’ll appreciate it much more, as I do of those old soundtracks.

  6. Love this! I’m counting on Bruce winning them over in the long run! My girls also love the songs you mentioned and they’ve grown on me this summer too. We’re big fans of Adele in our house and I couldn’t be happier. I had way too many years of the Wiggles, Ralph’s World and Justin Roberts (though I really like Ralph’s World and Justin Roberts)! My husband’s done a better job of exposing them to his music. And that’s just what they call it – “dad’s music” – often with a groan!

    • Adele has an amazing voice. incredible talent.
      Ralph’s World kids had a phase with him. I thought he was neat. I found myself humming Wiggles tunes.
      However, now they are in the big leagues. I hope my kids will appreciate dad’s music.
      Thanks for sharing.

  7. My 3.5 year old already has opinions–it’s horribly depressing. I’ll put on something I like and he’ll come running into the room to say, “Oh, Mommy, turn this song off! I don’t like it! Can you listen to __ instead?” Thankfully I’ve only got stuff I don’t hate for him to listen to, but it kills me when some of my favorites are some of his least favorites.

  8. They will love Bruce in no time. I have to close the door when Bieber shouts about LOVE from the xx time. I need to get down to business and teach them good music I suppose, so good on you for at least trying!

  9. Okay I may sort of like Call me Maybe and the One Direction song a TON. But I also don’t listen to the radio that often so they haven’t been overplayed in my head. And it doesn’t hurt that someone told me that the One Direction song reminded them of me so that made me feel pretty good too.

    I definitely know what you mean. I feel like I was really influenced by my dad’s taste in music a lot growing up. And still very much so like it and appreciate his tastes. I feel like my kids listen to disney music and occasionally top 40 radio. There just isn’t the emphasis on music there once was. Though we do listen to a lot of Adele and its my 5 year old’s favorite cd. =)

    • I do think that One Direction song is catchy. Also, I think Adele has an amazing voice. I am not asking for Bruce only just that he should be part of their listening choices. So, I hope, like you, that my kids will be influenced by their dad’s taste.
      Thanks for commenting.

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