A few weeks ago, I was telling my sister about listening to some of the Oldies but Goodies in my music collection. I can't remember exactly what started the conversation, but I got to talking about songs by Sam Cooke, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Frankie Valli, Aretha Franklin: the music we listened to growing up. My dad mostly introduced us to the glories of music from the 60s while on car trips.
She asked me if I would make a mix CD of songs for her and my niece, and I've been working on it ever since.
My niece is now somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 months old, and she loves dancing (particularly to Tejano music, with its polka beats and rockin' accordions). I decided I would make two CDs: one for my sister with all those fabulous old love songs, and one so my niece could have a rollicking good dance party.
I just finished the two CDs, and I have to say that the one for my sister was much easier.
Why was the CD for my niece so difficult? Because I listen to songs' lyrics.
I had initially included several songs by Diana Ross and The Supremes on the CD, but when I went back and listened, their lyrics were not the light-hearted love songs I remembered them to be.
Diana Ross repeatedly sings about giving up all of her friends and making her family sad so she can be with some guy who doesn't care about her, who has broken up with her, in fact, and who she's pining away for.
That is not the message I want my niece to hear, even if music is, at present, just something to bop to while she eats eggs and ham at Goode Company Taqueria. (You should see her "Ham Dance": it's adorable!)
I've been pretty lyric-aware since high school, when I realized that my mother was paying attention to what the people in my music were singing (even if I wasn't). She was open-minded about Metallica, but not so much about Rob Zombie, which was completely understandable. It's kind of strange to be on the other side of that situation: paying attention to lyrics so that my niece - the love of my life - doesn't grow up thinking that she should be an emotional slave to any man.
Strange how a baby can change your perspective on things, even when the baby isn't yours.