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I’m very concerned about the lyrics to some of the songs my daughter listens to. They are obscene and denigrating. How can I set some guidelines?
Mrs TY, Medowie
Dear Mrs TY,
Throughout the ages, people have been concerned about song lyrics with each new generation whipping up a reinvigorated state of moral panic. In hindsight, some of those songs seem positively innocent, but they were still about sex and drugs. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was clearly a reference to LSD, Elvis was constantly wanting a little more action, Afternoon Delight was the go-to tune for toey Baby Boomers, Do That To Me One More Time wasn’t referring to a tooth extraction, and so on.
Today, the lyrics are far more explicit, but also harder to understand due to a whole new era of singers who mumble so much they are incomprehensible. Your daughter may not even hear the words let alone be able to make sense of them.
Interpretations can also vary over time. The Divinyls’ I Touch Myself, formerly the song of choice for men’s pre-marital booze ups, has now been given new life as a Breast Cancer Awareness anthem, a fitting tribute since Chrissy Amphlett battled the cancer before her death.
I think it is the swearing that annoys a lot of parents. I used to mute swear words when listening to music in the car, but then the kids got sick of that so they said they would just make a ‘beep’ sound whenever a swear word occurred. The obvious issue here was that they already knew the exact moment the singer was about to hurl an expletive-laden sentence. It defeated the purpose and instead drew attention to it.
You could perhaps ask her to only make playlists that don’t include obscene language or dubious themes or angst or sexual deviance, but I don’t know how many times you can put up with Coldplay’s The Scientist. It even led Gwyneth to a conscious uncoupling.