Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Happy Song

So if yesterday's post with the most was about the songs that were implanted in my brain during my childhood, then today's is about the music being drilled into the skull filler of my own children. I guess it was about a couple of months ago that my eldest started developing his infatuation with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It started with just one song, "Pin", a 2 minute bit of rocking goodness that he affectionately dubbed with the alternate title of "Dinna Dinna" because of the chorus, which goes pretty much
As for the rest of the lyrics, I don't know. They might be dirty or they might be telling a story from a grenade's point of view or they might be about acupuncture gone horribly wrong or the plight of a mounted insect or something else entirely. Who am I to say? Sure, it's an awesome enough song, but it's only 2 minutes, and it's the only song he wanted to hear, and, well, have you ever listened to one 2 minute song over and over and over and over and over again? It's a pretty surefire way to start building a hatred towards a song, any song. But I have to wonder, if you pushed through the hatred and kept listening, would a certain type of madness set in? Would you begin to love and need the song in a sick desperate kind of way? Would you begin to identify with its plight, like some sort of musical Stockholm Syndrome?

I have no intention of carrying out this experiment. Our morning commute's a bit longer than two minutes, so I had to expand our listening into the rest of the band's repertoire. It took a bit of doing to convince Henry that there might actually be another song that he'd like, but he came around, and I figured out that as long as it was rocking enough, he would dig it. Of course, some of the songs have a bit of profanity, so you'll have to excuse the kid if he ever refers to you as a "no good di-i-i-i-i-i-i-ick" or tells you he's got a man that makes him wanna kill. He doesn't mean it.

So now we had a bit of variety in the music of our morning commute, though not quite enough. While we were no longer listening to just one song, we were still listening to just one band, which eventually has the same affect, though it takes longer to set in. One day, I'd just had enough. Much love to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but I needed something else. I don't know why I chose it, but something else turned out to be "Gratitude" by the Beastie Boys. I popped it on, assuring the boychild that awesomeness was on the way. I watched his face in the rearview as the opening riff played. Then the lyrics. After the first verse, he asked me an interesting question.

"What's this one about, Daddy?"

Holy shit,
I thought, he knows that songs can be about stuff.

"It's, uh," think Holmes think, this is important! "It's about being happy!" Oh brilliant. "Yeah, it's about being happy with yourself and what you've got."

"Like with my toys?"

"Uh..." sort of? maybe? not exactly? "Sure!"

Since then, I've always been able to work in a bit of the Beastie Boys along with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, especially when I play "Gratitude" aka "The Happy Song." I had to take the boys with me to the store this evening and it happened to come up in the rotation. When we got home, Henry walked into the house and started singing to noone in particular.

"Gratitude. And that's riiight. Gratitude. And that's riiight."

Music to my ears.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Oh man, Stella has been asking what every song is about too! It drives me crazy. She even asks about the instrumentals. I guess I never listen to my music that closely because I usually don't know. I usually tell her it's about dancing or love or both.