Every Saturday morning, Mr. Right-Click and I take Mini to a place called My Gym. If you’re not familiar with My Gym, it is an indoor gymnastic recreation establishment (not unlike Gymboree) where you take your kids to tire them out and–hopefully–buy yourselves some naptime later in the day. Unlike some indoor playgrounds, the activities at My Gym are structured and led by impossibly peppy instructors in their early twenties who come from Elsewhere–you know, like Kansas, or whatever–and have names like Susie. Or, Jammin. Yes. Jammin. Not Jamm-ing. Jammin.
During these activities, they play music, and while some of it is your average kiddie music, a lot of it is aimed at the demographic of parents it imagines will be there with their toddler children. Therefore, much of it is from the early 80s. Which is fine. I love taking walks down memory lane via music. But on occasion, I’ll find myself humming along, and look at Mini racing down the slide on a plastic scooter, or belly flopping into the giant vat of plastic balls, and think, “Wait, isn’t this the music from the sex scene of Top Gun?”
And then I’ll think, maybe I should get upset about this. But the fact is, I find the whole thing much more valuable as a source of humor than for anything else. We spoke to Jammin about this, actually, and he said some parents actually complain about the music. Me? I’m much to lazy. I’d rather mock on my blog. So, yeah. Without further ado, let me present this week’s list, “6 Inappropriate Songs Played at My Gym,” complete with iTunes links, for your reading, listening, and headscratching enjoyment.
- Take My Breath Away by Berlin. Yeah, please cf. my earlier comment about the sex theme from Top Gun. I managed to talk my grandparents into taking me to see Top Gun when I was in 7th Grade, which was admittedly probably a little early to learn about Kelly McGillis’ love handles, but Mini is only 17 months. What does he need to know about “watching every motion in this foolish lover’s game.” ??
- YMCA by The Village People. As they loaded this one up for the second time, teaching the hand signals to the little ones, Mr. Right-Click said, “Do you know why it’s fun to stay at the YMCA, Jammin?” Not that there’s anything wrong with that. And certainly this is one of the all time great party dance songs. But that’s a conversation I’d rather save until Mini is at least into his terrible twos.
- Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benetar. We are young. Heartache through heartache, we stand. No promises, no demands. Hahahahaha. Nobody with a toddler wrote this song!
- Raspberry Beret by Prince. Listen, I liked this song a lot when I heard it the first time. And yeah, I suppose there’s nothing wrong with encouraging the kids to buy things at second hand stores. Reuse Recycle and all that. But let’s take a look at the story arc: 1) Prince is working part time in a five-and-dime; 2) his boss admonishes him for being lazy; 3) regularly substitutes single letters and numbers for complete words; 4) notices a girl wearing a raspberry beret; 5) follows her out of the store; and 6) loses his virginity to her. Is this is the kind of work ethic we want to instill in our youth? And what about fashion sense? This song seems very pro-French to me. I doubt Pat O’Reilly would approve. OTOH, this might be a recommendation for it, now that I think about it.
- Billy Jean by Michael Jackson. OK, first of all, I’m not sure that any song by Michael Jackson should really be played at My Gym. The associations are pretty strong and not so good. But also, I don’t know that it’s the most sensitive song to sing–surely there’s some kid in the class for whom “she’s just a girl / who thinks that I am the one / but the kid is not my son” is going to strike a little too close to home. I mean, paternity suits abound. Los Angeles is a city filled with Tom Leykis listeners. Who knows what these kids’ home lives are like?
- A View to a Kill by Duran Duran. This song advises, among other things, to “dance into the fire,” claiming “that fatal kiss is all we need.” OK, first of all, what does that even mean? I like the fact that it’s all 80s-era James Bond, and everything, but I’d like to keep Mini’s healthy fear of fire intact if possible, and avoid encouraging him to dance into it. That could only end badly. But more importantly, a child exposed to this kind of music on a regular basis might think that the following collection of words actually add up to coherent thoughts: “Night fall covers me, but you know the plans I’m making, / Still over sea, could it be the whole world opening wide / A sacred why? , a mystery gaping inside / The weekends why?” Yes, the weekends why, indeed, Simon LeBon. My son is at a critical point in the development of his language skills, and you come at me with “Between the shades, assination standing still” ???
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