Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tween Music

A couple of J's friends were over for the afternoon recently and I got a crash course in what's cool in the music scene for tweens. The older girl is a rising 4th grader and was my censor. When her younger sister asked for me to look a certain number by Fergie on YouTube, she would point out that it would be inappropriate for J. They would back and forth on the age appropriateness of a few other songs until one could be found. The other singer they wanted was Taylor Swift. Swift apparently is more kid-friendly than Fergie. Given the kind of music, I am guessing Swift is less of a mainstreet tween favorite than Fergie is.

Needless to say, I had not been aware of the existence of either until these kids told me about them. J I am sure will be all caught up once she has her iPod and is in the mix of things swapping songs with her friends. It used to be mixed tapes in my day. Ten years ago, I lived as paying guest with a family in Kolkata. They had two kids - a seven year old girl and a ten year old boy. I remember having been introduced to Aqua, Mr President and Ricky Martin by them. Their favorite songs were Lambada, Barbie Doll, Coco Jambo and Livin' La Vi Da Loca.

I still remember the songs because of the catchy beats and of course the continuous playing of the tapes in my room - their favorite place to dance. It was reassuring to see that the standards of moral depravity have not plummeted that much as far as tween music. Barbie Doll has innuendo-laden lyrics that will probably not register with most tweens. Fergie may throw in a potty word every once in a while and even suffer a few wardrobe malfunctions while she is as it, but net-net the tween back home ten years ago was at about the same place as J and her friends are at here and now. As a bonus some of today's tweens love The Beatles thanks to the movie Across The Universe.

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