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Mix Tapes as Education

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My niece, Mariah, 11, spends her time listening to hip hop on the radio. Her phone ringtone is that damn Pussycat Dolls song. If I have to hear “Buttons” one more time, I will shit. How can music in such horrible taste, tone and structure be so damn popular? Is it the stupidly sexual lyrics? The horribly formulaic music? The appearance by a certain aging Snoop Dogg? There is nothing more irritating than that song, and that is why I have arrived here at this blog entry.

I don’t question Mariah’s taste in music. I think back when I was eleven, I was listening to Tone Loc, to Bobby Brown, MC Hammer, C+C Music Factory, and even the occasional Too Short. There is often something about the hip and the hop in music that triggers feelings elemental. I believe that rap, especially rap, appeals to the limbic areas of the brain, the bass and staccato vocals call upon something earthy and urgent. I can understand and appreciate why people new to music respond so eagerly to hip hop/rap; it delivers what it promises. Not saying that at an advanced stage of musical appreciation one can’t enjoy this genre, oh no, on the contrary. I still love rap for the same reasons I did when I was 11 years old: for the gritty power and the bluntness of it.

However, the reason I don’t really listen to Bobby Brown or Too Short too much anymore has to do with 1)the radio 2)other people handing me music. Since the age of the radio is waning, and yet there is still so much good music to be heard, it is my duty as an auntish influence in Mariah, Morgan and Max’s life, to pass the proverbial musical torch and make sure they don’t make it through adolescence without having heard the classics. My oldest brother Don started sending me Jimi Hendrix when I was 13, and he was the one who told me to forget the Beatles and to start listening to Zeppelin.

I considered buying Mariah Pink Floyd’s The Wall as a Christmas gift. I got really into that album when I was 15, sometime after I had overdosed on the Beatles. So I’m thinking I may wait on that one for a while, until she’s a couple of years older. However, I came up with the idea that I should make them a mix tape of songs that I thought they would enjoy. (and when I say “tape”, i mead “CD”, “mix CD” just doesn’t roll of the tongue or the QWERTY the same way, you know?) An easy introduction to the world of (my) music.

And thus, the mix tapes began. Max, being only 4, told me he didn’t want music, only toys, so I’ve decided to give him a few years until I start pouring all my Grandaddy down a funnel into his throat.

In the mean time, I’ve come up with a list of songs that I burned off on a CD for Mariah or Morgan.

Not all of them are classics or musical feats, but I thought they would appeal to their respective ages (Mariah, 11 and Morgan, 8) and slowly get them prepped for the deeper stuff. Dammit, eight and eleven are formative years! If I don’t start feeding them books and music now, and then later they turn out, God forbid, to be cultural Philistines, I will consider myself personally responsible. So, let the music come…slowly at first, and then it will crescendo. So when the time comes and I hand them Dark Side of the Moon or Houses of the Holy, they’ll be ready, and appreciative. They had better be, anyway.

So, here’s Mariah’s list:
mariah

And here’s Morgan’s:
Morgan

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Written by pocheco

November 30, 2006 at 8:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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