Ah, sing-alongs in the car . . . It’s the stuff of childhood memories. Long, rambling road trips, the CD player hard at work, children singing with all their might . . . children singing the same two songs over and over and over and over.
I have a six-CD player in my car. Each CD contains at least 20 songs, songs, I might add, carefully selected from my enviable collection of ’80’s pop, the soundtrack from Hair, and roughly two dozen releases post-1990.
In other words, there is plenty to pick from.
But for Oscar and Edgar, there are two songs–tracks five and six on a mix CD I like to call “CD #1”–that they want to hear; and they’re the only two songs they want to hear.
This, of course, got me thinking (because what else is there to do after you’ve heard the same two songs roughly 412 times each?).
It goes without saying that I like these songs (though I may have liked them a lot more prior to this recent saturation)–they’re catchy and certainly not inappropriate for young ears. But as I listened to the lyrics, I realized something more.
The first song–track five–is by Kaiser Chiefs, a swell band from Leeds. The song is called “Oh My God.” This is Edgar’s favorite. Track six is Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida.” This is the song Oscar prefers.
And as we have ping-ponged these two songs day after day, I realized something. The themes of the two songs not only parallel the personalities and proclivities of my two oldest sons, but they also put forth the lessons we, as parents, endeavor to instill.
“Oh My God” is an ode to personal empowerment and a plea to flee from the drudgery of life while “Viva la Vida” is a reminder to remain humble and live simply.
As we drive along and I listen to Oscar and Edgar sing along to these songs, I know they’re too young to register what these songs are saying–at least thematically; but there will come a day, and it won’t be long, when a song’s message might be one of their most profound influences.
So, I think for my creative boy who may need to fight to ensure that the world not discriminate against him and for my very accomplished young man who is quite attracted to material objects, I might like these songs to stay on their playlists.
And I’ll keep playing them as long as they want to listen–because getting the message from these guys is probably a whole lot cooler than getting it from us.