I was listening to my iPhone playlist as I drove to work today, head bobbing beneath a Reverend Horton Heat beanie that I’d purchased at a show over 20 years ago, and I began to wonder at what point it’s safe to move your baby from soft lullabies to solid music.
Now I realize that my taste in music might be construed as rather…cacophonous. And, as such, I don’t want to frighten my poor girl. Read as: No JSBX in the nursery. (Man, I can already feel my wife narrowing her eyes at me for that one…)
Not to mention I don’t want to inadvertently burrow corruptive lyrics into her still forming little mind. You know, seditious things like, “Ob-la-di. Ob-la-da.” Or, “His name was ‘Rico.’ He wore a diamond.” Or “Life is demanding, without understanding.”
There’s also the consideration that she might grow up to shun artists like Sleater-Kinney and Rilo Kiley simply because, “ugh, that’s dad’s music.”
My God. She could even rebel against such paternal pressure and start listening to things like pop radio. Or… [*dry heave*] country.
So I ask you, where is the line between encouraging a broad spectrum within your child’s musical palate, and simply pushing them to like your stuff? I mean, when I was 8-years-old I listened to Phil Collins “No Jacket Required” and Peter Gabriel’s “So” on a Walkman while riding my bike around the neighborhood. In retrospect, both of these are fantastic albums. Yet they weren’t my choices, they were what my father was listening to at the time. So that’s all I knew. It wasn’t until about 6th or 7th grade where I started to develop my own musical preferences, much to his chagrin. Bruce Hornsby and Paul Simon were replaced by Beastie Boys and the Dead Milkmen.
Will I have the 2026 equivalent of LL Cool J to look forward to when my daughter turns 11? And a better question is, will I mind?
Hmm… Guess I’ll windmill strum that bridge when I get to it.
Until then, I’ll just sing her things like the lullaby version of “Enjoy the Silence” and hope it sticks.