My car is generously appointed with speakers. There’s one in each door, two in the cargo area and a couple of tweeters next to the door handles. All this is designed so that I can blast myself silly to some testosterone fuelled guitar-God driven rock mayhem. Only this never actually happens because my musical taste, along with most other things in my life, is dictated to me by the three hecklers in the back seat.
Every time I go to load a new CD into the car stereo I have to be ready for the immediate judgement of my very own Kyle, Dicko and Marcia. “No daddy! Don’t want it!” is Frances’ definite thumbs down, while Maisie’s “turn it up, daddy!” is more potent than any Mark Holden touch down.
Having fine tuned the in-car listening experience with Maisie, Frances and Rita I can offer a few simple rules for toddler listening pleasure:
Rule 1: No inappropriate lyrics.
This is the hardest rule to follow, but is essential. What might sound cool and sultry out of the mouth of a 24 year-old diva from South London doesn’t quiet work out of the mouth of a four year old from the ‘burbs. After weeks of Frances singing “They tried to send me back to Rehab but I said No! No! No!” she finally dropped it only in favour of the Rolling Stones’ “Doctor, please help me, I’m damaged”. Not a good look in aisle 7 of the local supermarket. And Susie knows exactly where she’s picking it up from.
As for Maisie constantly parroting Lady GaGa’s “I wanna take a ride on your disco stick”, I can only pray that this is a phase she will soon grow out of. And while I’m praying, I will ask forgiveness for having bought the CD in the first place.
Rule 2: Reggae is King.
I was never a fan of Reggae, steel drums and dread locks just not my style. But given the choice between listening to Taylor Swift for the 700th time or listening to some new tunes, I’m happy to mellow into the reggae groove. And the kids love it. The absolutely best thing about reggae is that, even if the kids can decipher a lyric, it’s highly unlikely to be inappropriate or even sensible, such as Maisie constantly urging Frances to “Lively up yourself”. Everyone wins!
Rule 3: All Hail the Ladies of Rock!
If Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin got into my speakers and implored Maisie, Frances and Rita to flee the impending Vikings, they would all rightly freak out. Likewise, if the Artic Monkeys told them they looked good on the dance floor, Maisie or Frances would try and chew their way out of the car.
But if Missy Elliot tells them to get their freak on, they’re there. If Beyonce, Pink, Britney or GaGa tell them to hit the dance floor, they ask “where’s the party?” Even when Sinead O’Conner is graphically detailing the intricacies of her latest relationship break down, the girls want to know. As long as she’s not singing country, the girls want to hear from their sisters in rock.
Rule 4: No Country. Ever.
I love country music. Maisie and Frances don’t. Even when I’ve invited such luminaries as Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris to share our car, the girls have been savage in their appraisals. This is not to be confused with Folk music, which is definitely in with the girls. Bob Dylan singing about God giving names to all the animals – in. Gram Parsons singing about how much love hurts – out.
Are there any other rules for music harmony in your family’s people mover? Discuss in the Essential Baby Forums.