Focus on the Family Friendly Playlists

This video was shot in 2007 and then posted in 2010, but it’s going viral just now. In it, two-year-old Penelope sings Pearl Jam’s “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.” I bought that CD, Vs., from Wal-Mart the day it came out in 1993, and I still don’t know the words!

Props to li’l Penelope for matching Eddie Vedder line by line. And +10 Cool Points to her family for playing good music in the car.

I recently talked to a friend whose band makes great music but got no interest from the Christian music industry. Their music was deemed “too artistic,” not radio friendly, and not something that moms would play for their kids. My take:

  • “Too artistic” is subjective, so I won’t debate it. However, they’re not exactly Sigur Rós. The music is accessible and catchy. And what does ‘too artistic’ mean anyway? The words are too meaningful? The musicians too skilled?
  • I remember the first time I heard my band on the radio. I admit it was thrilling to hear ourselves on the air, reaching anyone within 30 miles with an antenna tuned to that frequency. But today, or maybe even back then before my cynicism set in, it seems like the “not radio friendly” tag could be a compliment more than a curse. Chances are that if your songs stretch boundaries and provoke thought, they’re not radio friendly.

the-wigglesHowever, my biggest issue is with the presumption about parents. I think parents are more willing to play complex music for their kids than industry execs think they are. I like to surprise with the Cool Bros with Seeds Family Worship or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in the car, but it’s a surprise because the Cool ‘Rents’ playlists are normally on heavy rotation.

As in all facets of life, I won’t discount the possibility that I’m just weird and out of touch. I’d love to hear what you think – about the music thing, not about the me being weird thing. (That’s another post.)

What kind of music do you play for your kids?

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