Kiddo#2 was singing while I washed dishes, when suddenly she stopped. “Why are all the songs you like about love?”
I honestly cannot remember which song it was she had been singing at the time, but does it really matter? If you’re listening to the current gleanings from pop/light rock radio, you’re going to be surfeit of love songs.
I replied, “Most of the songs out there are love songs.”
Then I returned to washing dishes. A moment or two later, Kiddo#2 ventured, “How about If I Had A Million Dollars?”
I said, “It is. He says ‘if I had a million dollars, I’d buy you love.’”
She gave a pensive frown, but fortunately she didn’t dredge up any more samples. Maybe “Life’s Been Good” or “Bicycle Race” (the chorus to which, to my chagrin, the Kiddos can sing even though they’ve never heard the song. Don’t ask.) Or “Mr. Roboto,” which Kiddo#1 used to call “Secret-Secret-I’ve-Got-A-Secret.” He was delighted to realize two of his favorite songs were actually the same song.
I didn’t even touch the crop of failed-love songs (“How the hell’d we wind up like this?” Indeed.) Someday, somehow she’ll realize that American culture glorifies pair-bonding and romantic love to the point of insanity, and it’s quite possible I’m helping her along that primrose path. The Christian rock which makes its way onto my playlists isn’t sufficient to offset the romance songs, but I guess the kid-songs that she hears from Music Together have given her a basic grounding in non-love songs. Jim-Along Josie, anyone? How about Ally-Bally-Bee?
And yes, she knows from my forays into Mozart that you can have really powerful music with no words at all. (This is the same little girl who was barking Eine Kleine Nachtmusik to her stuffed puppy last year, or who inserts her own running monologue into the Ode To Joy and makes it scan.)
The funny thing is, I remember making the same realization as a young girl, that all these people on the radio sang about love, and didn’t they have anything better to talk about?
Kiddo#1, about six months ago, said dreamily, “The songs on the radio are all so unselfish,” causing me and my Patient Husband to choke on our coffee before feebly managing, “How do you figure?”
K#1 replied, “Every single song mentions you.”
Er, yeah: in the context of how YOU can gratify ME. I hardly call that unselfish. But of course, that led to a week and a half of me and the Patient Husband abruptly calling song titles across the house to verify that maybe we’d found a youless song.
Me: Bohemian Rhapsody?
PH: ‘Didn’t mean to make you cry.’
PH: It’s A Kind Of Magic
Me: ‘A bell that rings inside your mind.’
PH: That’s ‘your.’
Me: Does that count?
PH: Well, maybe.
Yes, we are sick and have too many wasted brain cells.
If you’re curious, “Come Sail Away,” though addressed to someone offstage and filled with you-understood, never actually uses the word “you.”