Saturday, April 02, 2005

It's got a good beat, and I can dance to it

One of the challenges of contemporary parenting is fighting off the onslaught of the pervasive musical dreck that is targeted at little ears. By dreck, I mean it's devoid of artistic, poetic or spiritual value. As for naming the, ahem, artists, (performer is more accurate) I'm sure you know the litany of names: Brittany Spears, Christine Aguilera, Ashley Simpson, and so forth. Honestly, however, I don't really care to catalog those artists whom I wish to keep from my kids. My personal ethic is simply to avoid FM radio at all costs. (Except for college radio when I'm alone in the car and near a college.)

Rather than taking the negative tack, I've taken a route that has been far more interesting and fun than I originally expected. I've been looking for artists that meet my criteria or expand it. I've done this now for several years and have come across a few bands that both my kids and myself enjoy: Sixpence None the Richer, Switchfoot, Jaci Velasquez and Plumb come to mind. Jump5 is a great energetic band for kids. Being that artistic merit is a continuum and not binary, I allow my child's indulgence in less enriching fare, such as Hilary Duff (acceptably platitudinous) Cheetah Girls (jam packed with cliches! At least it's not tawdry). Then there's Lindsay Lohan, who I am afraid has sailed over the precipice to the dreck side. Since I don't count on this material to come to me, I've been using "Focus on the Family" "Plugged In" web site, for both music and movie reviews. www.allmusic.com has also been good in finding common artists. I also beg people for ideas on new music. (Hint, hint)

This Easter, the Easter Bunny (a.k.a., Mrs. DancingOx) brought our girls what appears to an album that fits most of the criteria above, "Room to Breath" by ZOEGirl. It's an uneven effort overall and the lyrics are less poetic than I'd like but where it errs, it is at least safe (i.e., poor, not vulgar, poetry) This doesn't appeal to me musically but the girls are loving the music.

I'd love to hear from others on kid-friendly music and resources for the artistically starved parent.
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