A year or so ago, Lana Del Ray’s ‘Video Games’ came up on my car stereo as I was driving my kid to her music class. Suddenly, she pressed the ‘skip’ button. I protested, as I liked the song. She brushed my objections aside, claiming the singer was saying ‘bad things.’ I thought back for a moment, and realised the lyrics had just gone ‘watching me get undressed.’ So I held my tongue as Taylor Swift resumed her torture of my long suffering ears.
Seems like I was not the only one pondering over the matter. Some time later, my kid and a bunch of her cousins all around her age, were in the car when the explicit version of some popular hit came on. The kids ignored it. Later when we were alone, my kid asked me why I let the song play.
I explained that when I like a song, it’s usually the melody and mood of the music, and the melody of the singer’s voice that hook me to that song. Lyrics are mostly secondary, to the point where the actual words and their meaning often do not even register with me.
In the Lana Del Ray number for instance, it’s the sound of her voice that hooks and draws me into the moody music. The lyrics of this song did catch my ear as they gel perfectly with the music, painting pictures and adding to the sultry mood. But I doubt if I would be listening to the song had it not been for her voice and music.
It took a while for what I said to sink in. But lately as far as music goes, I have noticed that she tends to ignore explicit language in songs playing on the car’s stereo, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand.
However when it comes to the way we talk at home, I’m the one doing the policing. She once used the F-word on me, and I went ballistic in the school parking lot, and that was the end of that.
But she insists what’s good for her goose is good for my gander. So I have to watch my language at home. Over time, I’ve learnt to speak decent English, though she still does catch me out for milder stuff like ‘damn.’
Naturally, I now have to be just as careful with the language I use while writing online. Medium for instance, has a lot of good writers, but when I see some of the language in their posts, I often wonder if the writer has kids. Or did they work out a deal with their kids, whereby they have a different standard for language online. And could they teach me how to do that.
Colourful language makes a piece more realistic as that is how people speak. On second thoughts, I don’t really mind, as achieving that effect without being able to use everyday expletives, is a lot more of a challenge.
And where’s the fun in a life without challenges?