A reoccurring topic that has been popping up in my house lately is old music. I’m not talking classic Sound Garden or old 2-Pac. I’m talking the type of music that moves the soul… the type of music that creates the tingling feeling of goose-bumps on your skin… the kind that makes you want to get up and dance like your uncles would at family gatherings, or the kind that makes you want to drop everything you’re doing… go find your wife… and serenade the shit out of her…
…That’s right I’m talking Music.
See the problem with the conversation of music is that music preference is similar to food preferences. Some foods are universally loved–like pizza. Everyone loves pizza. Even if sausage isn’t your favorite topping… you’d still eat if if someone brought it to the party. Survivor’s – Eye of the Tiger can be compared to pizza. There is a very small percentage of people who hate pizza… or Eye of the Tiger.
However, Aqua’s – Barbie Girl is more like black licorice. There are very few people who can actually stomach it… and even fewer people seeking it out for pleasure.
Why music has been coming up a lot in the house? Well for different reasons. Recently Jack White put out some type of “super album” that has all kinds of bells and whistles such as playing backwards, hidden tracks, and even holograms while the vinyl is playing. This brought up the nostalgic memories of growing up with actual vinyl records in the home… listening to them on the record player through the old refrigerator-sized Hi-Fi speakers. My mom’s collection had the newest Patti LaBelle and Tina Turner albums, whereas my dad collected all the Earth, Wind, & Fire, and the Al Green albums.
Music has a very special part in my heart, for music was my childhood. Music shaped my future. Music was my life.
So naturally, my instinct as a parent is to introduce what I know to my child. And when it comes to music… I know good music. Everything I listen to is pizza, and even if it isn’t pizza, it’s cotton candy. Enticing…
I started introducing him to the classics in the womb with the Bellybuds. When my son and I go on walks around the park, I have the music playing in the stroller for him, whether he’s asleep or not. When my son goes to sleep I have Pandora on in the background, cause music seems to keep him keep asleep. But there aren’t lullabies playing… no… The Temptations station is on.
I want my son to know what real music is–No, I NEED my son to know what real music is. I’m not sure if you’ve seen this letter floating around the internet, or on Fox News, but recently there was a dad named Mike who wrote An Open Letter to Rap Music. In this letter he addressed his love and compassion for rap and hip-hop, beats and bass, but from the outside looking in from the fatherhood aspect, music today is not only garbage… it’s demeaning, rude, and there is no room in the home for it… and the kids.
I have pretty strong feelings that coincide with Dada Mike’s feelings toward Rap, let alone music in general… which leads into today’s testimony, and a feeling that so many people share with me…
Lyrics used to have meaning. Music used to have lyrics that told a story. Songs told a story, and summed up what love was supposed to be. Babies were made to music because it created love.
Music just ain’t what it used to be.
We know that. So I won’t beat the dead horse. Instead I want to share with you the revelation I had today.
Today the family went to the beach. Me, Paps, Baby JR, and a good family friend went to catch some of this California sun. While the girls went off to the water, I sat next to my child spawn and played for him a mix tape (playlist) that I’d made for his mother in our dating days.
The first song that came on was Musiq’s – Just Friends (Sunny). I love that freaking song… so much that I said to my 7-week old… “yo… this is my shit.”
After head bobbing and singing to him, BOOM… that instrumental beginning of Let’s Stay Together by The Reverend Al Green hit and just that warm feeling of, life is indeed good surrounds you, and for those few minutes that particular song was on, there are no worries. And I sat there and sang those lyrics;
I-I-I, I’m so in love with you
Whatever you want to do is all right with me
‘Cause you make me feel so brand new
And I want to spend my life with youLet me say that since, alright, since we’ve been together
Loving you forever is what I need
Oh let me be the one you come running to
I’ll never be untrue
Oh let’s, let’s stay together
Lovin’ you whether, whether
Times are good or bad, happy or sad…
I sang those lyrics out loud as my son watched my mouth move, and thought to myself, “this may be a love song kid, but those lyrics apply to you too.” And then then next song smoothly transitioned on…
Like sweet morning dew,
I took one look at you
And it was plain to see, you were my destiny
With arms open wide
I threw away my pride
I’ll sacrifice for you, dedicate my life to you
I will go, where you lead,
always there in time of need
And when I
lose my will
you’ll be there to push me up the hillThere’s no, no looking back for us
We got love sure enough, that’s enough
You’re all, you’re all I need to get by
Marvin Gaye and Tami Terrell serenaded each other with You’re All I Need to Get By. It was then that I put it together… A lot of these lyrics were meant from a man to a woman, or vice versa. Much of the lyrics have sexual innuendo, and strong underlying adult content… But a lot… and I mean a lot of the oldies have sweet messages from people that were just head over heels in love from one person to another.
Stevie Wonder claimed his love was “the sunshine of his life.” The Jackson 5 proclaimed “…whenever you need me, Ill be there… to protect you… with an unselfish love that respects you, just call my name and Ill be there.” Even Frankie Valli described loving another best when he told his love of his life “You’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you, you’d be like heaven to touch, I wanna hold you so much…”
It sounds like a stretch… but one can argue that the power of love is so strong it could move mountains… which I believe Miss Celine Dion once wrote.
So the stretch to me would be, telling me I couldn’t and shouldn’t relate some, not all, but a lot of the lyrics in our love songs from the past to the love we have for our children.
I wrote a post a few weeks ago wondering If I’ll love my kid from the first moment I laid eyes on him, and the easiest way to answer that is, I did and I didn’t. But I’ve spent 7-weeks with him now and I’ll be damned if that kid ain’t the driving force for me to be a better person. The love I have for my wife and kid surpasses anything imaginable, and Miss Gladys Knight and her Pips put it best with the song You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.
I’ve had my share of life’s ups and downs
But fate’s been kind, the downs have been few
I guess you could say that I’ve been lucky
Well, I guess you could say that it’s all because of youIf anyone should ever write my life story
For whatever reason there might be
Ooh, you’ll be there between each line of pain and glory
‘Cause you’re the best thing that ever happened to me
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