I feel happy to terrify kids. —R. L. Stine
For most kids, their first taste of music comes from their parents. They hear what we play on the radio or our phones. We casually fire up our playlists while we do work around the house and don’t give a second thought to what our children are hearing.
Kids love music. Any music. They don’t care what the words mean. Last year, Little Man’s kindergarten class learned the Jackson Five’s ABC for their graduation program. You think that’s going to be cute until you hear the words coming out of your six-year-old kid’s mouth:
Shake it, shake it, baby, come on now!
Shake it, shake it, baby, ooh ooh!
Shake it shake it, baby, huh!
One, two, three, baby, ooh ooh!
ABC, baby, nah nah!
Do re mi, baby, huh!
That’s how easy love can be.
And then their little booty starts shaking and you damn near fall out of your seat from laughing so hard. You know the kids don’t have a clue that they’re singing about sex. Right now, it’s cute and funny. But then you hear them using the same language with each other. When little boys start demanding that little girls stand up and “shake it” for them, it’s time for some lessons in how to talk to people.
So, we took a look at some of the newest music videos released this week. All are bound to be chart toppers. Take a look, though, and think: is this something you can share with your kids?
Let’s start with the mildest video of the set. Rihanna’s Sledgehammer, which just dropped a couple of days ago, is part of the soundtrack for the next Star Trek movie, which I assume is due later this fall. Kids can probably watch this one and be okay. All the sensuality is muted and preserved in the subtleties of the video. In fact, this is probably the most dressed Rihanna has been for a video in quite a while. The lyrics are what will get you, though. Take a look.
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Fifth Harmony, ft. Fetty Wap
Five attractive young women, in swimwear, on a beach. Both the song and the video are sexy from top to bottom. However, while the sensuality is aggressive and the video frequently gets in the way of the music, it’s still at a level that most kids are likely to ignore the sexy and get more into the rhythm of the music and the bright colors. That is, until Fetty Wap chimes in. Say some of those words around the wrong person and you’ll be picking your little ass up off the floor. Some are already touting this as the song of the summer, though. Best get familiar with it now.
Watch All In My Head (Flex) by Fifth Harmony online at vevo.com. Discover the latest music videos by Fifth Harmony on Vevo.
Your kids are going to listen to this song and, hopefully, not have a clue what Nick means by the phrase, “under you.” There are also subtleties to the video that seem to infer a level of domestic violence. The imagery in this one could be rough for kids whose parents fight a lot. For adults, it’s just another breakup song, though, if his only regret is that he didn’t get to have sex with the girl then it’s probably a good thing they broke up. For kids, though, there is a lot here that might require some explanation when they start repeating it back to you.
Watch Under You by Nick Jonas online at vevo.com. Discover the latest music videos by Nick Jonas on Vevo.
Niykee Heaton ft. Migos
I really hesitated about including this one. There is a form of implied violence throughout this video that reflects the same kind of violence we see too often among inner-city teens. Toss in Niykee’s good looks dressed in little more than a swimsuit, and one can understand why forecasts for this song are pretty strong. There is a particular audience with which this song is going to resonate well. However, the video is not for kids. We can excuse much of the song as it talks around the topics rather than directly at them. When the first image one sees, though, is an automatic weapon, and gunshots are among the final sounds, one has to question whether this video is unnecessarily promoting a culture of violence that our country doesn’t need. Proceed with caution on this one.
Watch Bad Intentions by Niykee Heaton online at vevo.com. Discover the latest music videos by Niykee Heaton on Vevo.
We saved the sexiest for last. Fergie’s latest solo release will hit number one on the charts. Fortunately, there’s a radio edit and if your kids hear the song that’s the version that’s likely to tickle their ears. However, Fergie’s never been a shy one and she drops enough f-bombs to recapture every remaining Daesh stronghold in Syria. Why is it that kids pick up the word “fuck” so easily and quickly? It doesn’t even matter if they never hear a parent say the word. Fuck is part of the first-grade vocabulary whether anyone likes it or not. This song is not going to help that matter at all.
I must say that I love a lot of the pin-up style costuming used in the video. The bright colors and over-the-top styling are quite artistic. Much of the look here reminds me of Christina Aguilera’s Candy Man video. This is much hotter than Xtina’s take on the era. If one is concerned about a child’s body image, this may not be a video they need to see. Adults will love it, but kids are going to ask a lot of questions. Be prepared
Watch M.I.L.F. $ by Fergie online at vevo.com. Discover the latest music videos by Fergie on Vevo.
I’m certainly not one to make valid parenting suggestions. From an adult perspective, all these videos are about as sexy as they can get without turning to porn. They’re a pleasure to watch and to hear. I know we have trouble keeping adult words and phrases out of the mouths of our kids, and I’m guessing ours aren’t much different than yours. How you deal with the music and the videos are your business. You know what’s best for your family. Exercise caution as you see fit.
And meanwhile, we’ll be over here dancing.