Thursday, March 3, 2011


The very first record I ever bought was Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”.  My mother accompanied me to McDonnell & East and didn’t bat an eyelid when I took my hot piece of Vinyl up to the counter and paid for it with my hard earned pocket money.   I played that sucker on repeat in the lounge room on the record player repeatedly.   The following is just a snipped of the lyrics I would sing as loud as possible at any given time.  Yeah, I was 9.

Like a Virgin ooh, ooh
Like a Virgin
Feels so good inside
When you hold me, when your heart beats, and you love me.


Oh yeah, inappropriate much??

Clearly I didn’t know what a virgin was.  Or what something feeling so good inside was.  But my mother did and she was either choosing to ignore me or was just not paying attention.  Or both.


But I, well I am a prolific lyric knower (technical term).  I love them.  I love knowing what a song is about.  Although to this day, no matter how much I love them, I still don’t know what the fuck Crowded House were on about.  Apparently if you can work that out, the meaning of life is yours.   

And, I still remember the days of pressing play on my double tape deck, listening, pressing pause, writing the song line down and repeating the process through the entire way through the song.   Imagine how many misheard lyrics were going down.  Although even with all the goodness that is Google available to my 11yo, she still sings “Like a G6” as “Like a Cheesestick”.  Just for shits and giggles I don’t correct her. 


But now, now that I’m a Mum and I do give a shit what my children are listening to, I get panicky when I hear the following come out of Maddisons mouth when she’s beside me in the car seat on the way to school:

Blindfold, feather bed,
tickle me, slippery,
G spot,nasty pose,
in a video,
love machine, by myself,
climax,hot wax

Keep in mind, this song is played by most every major Radio Station in the country.   A song about dirty talking.  Now Mads doesn’t know what the heck this chick is singing about, much the same as me ala Madonna and her cherry popping, but man, it feels all kinds of wrong to hear your little girl singing about Legs up on the bar in the backseat of your car.  All kinds.


Rhianna is another one.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually really enjoy most of her songs, it’s just that when you hear this from the off-key eleven year old kicking around beside you in Woolies on a Saturday, shit gets kinda real:

Cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it
Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But chains and whips excite me


Let’s just say that and a few other choice songs have recently been erased from her iPod.


But is that what I should be doing? Ban them from listening to the radio?  Certain songs?  The thing is, even when it’s not completely obvious the lyrics can be sly.  Remember Lady GaGa and her disco Stick?  Well Maddie questioned her school principal whether they would be selling any at her school Disco last year.  I believe his response was “No” with a very quick retreat.   What about Kelis bringing all the boys to the yard with her milkshake?  My kids loved singing that song with Sam even hoping it was “a chocolate milkshake” she was bringing because “he loves them the most”.  Don’t think about that too much.


Am I just being ridiculous or is this getting a little out of control?  Any other songs out there you find inappropriate, or were when you were a kid?  More to the point, how many people are going to land on my blog now after I've mentioned climax and G-Spot in one post?


4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle said...

I reckon I must have been about 8 when I sang "I want a lover with a slow hand and an easy touch". I had no idea. I don't have a problem with the lyrics but I have a real problem with the music videos. Is it just me or does anyone else think they look like soft porn?


Penbleth said...

I'm afraid I just pretended I didn't hear when mine were that age, they didn't know what it meant, now they are older I just give them the dead eye.

And to your last question - lots. Even more than I get because I wrote once about breastfeeding and still being sexy.

Denyse said...

That is long coming as a post .. Thanks Bern! As a parent, grandparent and teacher it appals me that not only are the lyrics of so many songs " innapropriate much" but when the musc clip goes on MTV etc the sexual nature of movements is OTT.
I have ideas how all of this could be monitored.. Ratings etc as on iTunes but so many "parents who want to be their kids' friends" aren't going to say no. B/c it's cool!'s hard being a,parent... Where did those fun days go.. Now you will keep watching Maddie & wondering... Is she knowing more than I'd like..who by

Purple_cath said...

Aah this post was like you read my childhood diary! So many similarities. I used to tape the hot 40 to listen and then get all the lyrics. Heck I even had a lyric book :) I too need to know what a song is about and love songs having meanings. I look back now and am suprised my parents let me have blood sugar sex magik on repeat 24-7. With song lines like "if u have to ask...funky m-f's" and sir psycho sexy the whole song. Interestingly I think I was still fairly naive as to what I was actually singing. My little ppl are still young so dont really know what they are singing but I admit to changing the lyrics for kings of Leon when they were on massive radio play it was 'chocolates on fire' what the? Yes I know and I totally agree Rihanna the station gets changed I don't feel comfortable with them hearing about whips and chains. Great post. (sorry comment so long) xx

Lucy said...

Bern, I'll be honest, we don;t have the radio on in the car because jusy canpt be chewed with all the explaining. I suspect I am avoiding the issue. It'll come up eventually. Argggh.

Although on a mix CD in the car the other day I had Pink on (Fun House) and Charlie asked me "Why does she want to burn the bucket down, Mum?". Fucker? Bucket? Whatever....

Fun Mum said...

No words of wisdom, just an "I hear ya, Sista!". D'you remember "You spin me right round baby, right round like a record baby right round right round..." by some big haired 80's band? Well, it's back by some other band (probably last year's music) and my 12 yo has it on his iPod. Imagine my surprise when Ms 5 was sitting in the back seat listening to his playlist and singing along (you know, in that lovely voice that assumes that because she has headphones on that no one can hear her ...) "You spin me right round baby right round when you go down, go down on me". Oh my.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

Well now, in answer to your last question I'd imagine all kinds of wrong spam bots are on their way - not to mention those late-night Googlers. So far my children have zero interest in pop music. Zero. We listen to Triple J in the car, with strong adherance to language warnings, or CDs. I think they are actually stuck in some kind of weird time warp, taking in soul songs, 1980s Australian rock (don't ask) and an assortment of female singer/songwriters who wail a lot about lost love. God only knows what this will do to them in the future, but at least I'm not listening to legs on the bar right now.

Tinkertines said...

Our boys are just young, 2 & 4 so they have not a clue to the meaning of what my husband & I like to listen to in the car. Although Hubby has gotten really good at loudly clearing his throat over inappropriate words. I suppose that will only work for so long. I'm still learning as well, I've only recently learned what Rihanna means when she says "go downtown with a girl like me".

Annieb25 said...

LOL you will get some magnificent spam. I was exactly the same with the lyrics and used to stop my Teac Radio Cassette Player to write them down. It was so exciting when those little song lyrics books came out. I was in heaven. My kids love music and we had a bit of argy bargy over Eminem during their early teens. Boys aren't really into the sexual girl type songs so didn't have to deal with that. They just like lyrics with the "F" word in them.

I remember singing the song "I touch myself" in the car and freaking the kids out. Totally didn't think about the lyrics. It's probably good not to sing that with your kids around, hindsight is a marvelous thing.

Wanderlust said...

You know, when I was younger I remember spending an entire evening flipping through the whole Bible trying to find the reference for U2's song "40". Being the brilliant person I was, it never occurred to me that the title might give me a clue as to where to look. I finally found it (Psalm 40 - duh). Such a sense of accomplishment!

My 8-yr-old daughter's current fav song is Creep. In my defense, I don't let her listen to the explicit version. :P

Bryna said...

I was super naive as a kid. Uber. So, I really had no clue... I have mixed feelings about raising my girls as in the dark as I was. My parents listened to a lot of country music which, as a genre, are much tamer in lyrics. But it wasn't until I listened to Kenny Rogers as an adult and heard "Ruby, don't take your love yo town." that I realized what he was talking about! HA!

Lisa Heidke said...

Bern, fab post - so timely. Yesterday afternoon I was driving around with my daughter, 10, listening to 'talk dirty to me'. Can't say I was entirely comfortable. But back in the day, I sang and pranced to 'Like A Vigin', 'I Touch Myself' etc. I absoltely adore Lily Allen's 'Fuck You' which I play loud and often. I don't know what the answer is. I don't think Mia knows what the words to 'talk dirty to me' mean but I'm damn sure my 13 and 15 yr old boys do. Those songs are on the radio, being blasted out at shopping centres...what to do? Make your kids wear cotton balls in their ears and blinkers on their eyes? My fabvourite at the moment is 'I'm addicted' by Black Eyed Peas...and I have a fair idea about what they're addicted to...

Lauren Finn said...

I had no idea when I banned Barney from the car and took control back of the radio that Miss 9 and Miss 6 at the time would just naturally switch over to hip hop slang without hesitation. It was the Sunday afternoon with Mr B in the car and them belting out "I wanna spend the night with you, yeah, yeah" that nearly caused said car to collide with a bus. Now we only play Barney for Mr B :)

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Oh, I love that Maddie asked about the 'disco sticks'. Fun-ny.

You know, I don't play the radio around the kids. Which is pretty easy for me because we don't have the school runs, seeing that we walk up the road. And whenever we go places in the arvo, I might flick it on, but Rihanna comes on with her latest song and it's OFF.

I have some inappropriate songs on my iPod, so I always fwd thru the ones that I think might be a bit dodgy, and I have a playlist called "G rated" that I've set up purely with songs that I deem ok for the boys to listen to. The 4yo doesn't notice too much, but the 8 and 6 yr olds do. You forget, when you're young, you really 'hear' the words so much easier than when, like me, you're 40! Having said that, there's def still some stuff they don't get - double meaning and all that - but I'm also conscious that they might 'work it out' at some stage and then I'll be embarrassed I played it around them! ;)

They are *not* allowed to watch music videos. Ever. Dod-gy.


Kylie L said...

I don't play music around my kids, or let them watch video clips, and thought I was protecting them... until Cam's 7yo group danced and sang to "Candyman" at her end of year ballet concert: "He's a one stop shop/makes my panties drop"
Thanks for that, dance teacher. Also the lyrics about how he "makes my cherry pop". Cam has been looking for exploding fruit ever since.

Jodie said...

Hi Bern,
we are battling this one too. I now only play CD's in the car. Lisa Mitchell, taylor Swift etc. I have talked with miss 10 about how inappropriate the radio is, not just the songs but the inane sexual talk the Dj's carry on with. and definately NO video hits.
I am still her example for a little while yet so i am going to make the most of that. xx

Ms Styling You said...

Oh, Bern, I'm still in fits from your daughter asking her Catholic school principal about disco sticks!
I fall into the camp of non-censorship (my eldest are teenagers and there isn't anything they're hearing in a song they haven't heard at school or watching a DVD); my youngest is 5 and he knows way too much already but like any kid his age the nitty gritty of the dirty stuff goes right over his head.
And over my head it went when I was 9 and 10 and my parents would be blasting Sweet Transvestite from Rocky Horror at their parties. I knew ALL the words and sang off-key too them.
It too me to about 20 to understand what I was singing.
So I figure that's what's going on with our kids too.
On a lighter musical note, the Glee preview last night had them belting out Human League's "Don't You Want Me Baby". I told my kids that was on one of the first CDs I ever bought. Teenage daughter looked at me strangely, muttered something about cassette and being old and switched on her ipod.
PS. I hope we get to do a bit of Madonna at ausblogcon

Colin Wee said...

Music videos like you say are getting from bad to worse. What really gets me however are music parodies. Kids absolutely LOVE them - many include comedy or feature caricatures of the original ... and on many counts they contain lyrics and themes that are worse than the original video.

traceyb65 said...

"My pea-cock, cock, cock … [repeat incessantly]" got wiped pretty quickly when it went into high rotation on Miss7's songlist. but i'll admit sometimes you don't pick up on the nasty bits till after it has been downloaded and put onto a cd of new faves for the long car trips.

is it just me or have the most innocuous of mass-produced pop pap artists decided to pump up their cred by swearing? we do try to walk a line … ignore what we think is over their heads, allow a little naughtiness and hit erase pretty darn fast when it slides into porn.

just don't get me started on the videos … that's a whole issue on its own!


Trish@Show and Tell said...

I have 4 older brothers and I grew up listening to stuff that I can't believe my mother allowed, in hindsight. But honestly, I had absolutely no idea what it meant, so maybe that's why she let it go.
I mostly play CDs in the car now. I know I do this because I am trying to control what my daughter listens to.
My BIG problem, however, is the music videos. I can quite proudly say that my 8yo has seen about 4 music videos on TV in her entire life. We watch a lot on YouTube (she and I together. so I can monitor it). At the moment we're having fun. But I know the day will come when watching YouTube with mum won't exactly be a cool thing to do.


~~Kallie~~ said...

I ban some songs. My 12 (almost 13) yo daughter really wants to listen to current crap & so she's allowed to at school, friends places etc but if there's inappropriate lyrics it doesn't get played at home. I've explained why to her & she's fine with it. The reason is her brother. At 6 he doesn't need to be thinking that little girls or boys asking for/talking about extreme sex is ok or that sending dirty pictures is what you do. She gets that it's over the top or behaviour you don't indulge in (at her age anyway), that it's just words that sound good, he won't get that.

As to the music videos... no way in my house. Soft porn was banned years ago.

Terry said...

Well i have G Spot on Google Notifications (or whatever its called) so thats how i found this blog. :)

And what is not to get with "The sounds of Te Awamutu have a really sacred ring"?

Naomi said...

It's tricky. We don't listen to commercial radio, but the radio is on in the car. I am usually OK with most songs played on the station we do listen to, but that new Kanye West "song" I HATE it, I HATE the lyrics, and the radio gets turned off for that.
I let Miss10 watch Glee... and sometimes I even wonder about that, but we have had a few good discussions about various issues, like homophobia so for now the show stays.
As for video clips... I hope to god my kids never watch them. At the moment they don't see them in our house... but I see plenty of kids copying dance moves straight out of a pole dancing strip club. I hate it. I hate it more than the lyrics.

Maxabella said...

Madonna's lyrics are positively virginal compared with what's out there today. Every two-bit 'artist' is just throwing dirtier and dirtier lyrics into their songs to cover up for the fact that they suck.

The early sexualisation of kids is something that I loathe with a passion so I would tend to want to keep that shit locked away from them for as long as possible. And don't get me started on the videos that accompany them!

Fark, what can we do about this? I hate feeling so powerless. x

Being Me said...

Isn't it a cheese stick? Oh. I'm still bad at lyrics. I thought those Gallagher brothers were really mean for calling Nino's Little Son A Wanker (sorry... will that cause you more bots to come calling?) - of course, it was Need A Little Time To Wake Up. Sigh.

Correct me if I'm wrong - I am way out of touch with today's music because I think most if it is utter rot - but aren't the lyrics these days far more explicit that they ever were? I mean, they leave nothing to the imagination. I find it hard to believe a child older than 10 (at the very least) doesn't understand what they're singing, no matter how sheltered their upbringing has been. It's quite awful, that they have no choice but to be exposed to it (because it is everywhere, on commercials, at the shops, etc.). I am going to cotton wool my daughter's ears for as long as is humanly possible and I don't care if she ends up hating me for it.

River said...

All this makes me glad my kids were a bit older when they discovered Madonna. Well, the eldest was 13 and the younger ones didn't care much.

I think it might be a good idea to ask your girl, just casually, what's that song about? Do you understand what they're saying? What they mean? If she doesn't understand, this could open up the way for a mother/daughter talk about things you may not be ready for, but maybe she is. Because of listening to these types of lyrics.

LisaC said...

Hi Bern,
After watching the Madonna Episode on Glee, Maeve(9) wandered around the house singing "Like a Version!" - luckily she's like her dad, and often gets the lyrics wrong!
I love Lily Allen and we listen to her cd in the car, but I must admit I either skip over "Not Fair", or talk really loudly when it comes to the "lying in the wetspot" part.
Isla(6) did make me chuckle, when one day she said "she's not saying Thankyou very much, is she!!"
When it comes to music videos, we don't watch them either - that would mean missing "Wizards of Waverley Place" or "Sunny, With a Chance"
P.S. Sorry, I hope wetspot doesn't attract too many weirdos!

Thea said...

I'm 100% with Kirsty one this one.
We all sang songs and we had no idea what we were saying/singing.
But the images on the bad for children.
And it is so sad because we all love the music, what can kids watch?? Not much these days.

Kerri Sackville said...

I STILL remember going with my parents to see Grease & hearing Rizzo sing 'I could flirt with all the guys, smile at them and bat my eyes, press against them when we date, make them think they stand a chance then refuse to see it thru... that's a thing I'll never do' and asking my mum "what's 'seeing it through'". "Er... to hugging and kissing," she said. Jeez, I thought. That Rizzo must be totally frigid.

Angela said...

I stopped listening to Triple J in the car due to the swearing allowed but it might be safer to go back there after hearing some of the more commercial stuff.
My 5 year old has been singing about getting sexified. Thanks Ke$ha!

Victoria said...

I really liked that song, I never thought it was bad but now after reading what you wrote, I see it through my mummy eyes, I forget that they pick up on all those little things.

Anonymous said...

I remember buying the 12" version of Lets go Crazy by Prince when I was around 14 solely for the B side Erotic City! "f*cks are fee for you and me erotic city cant you see?" just to name one line... my mother wasnt happy but hey the more something is naughty the more the kids want it!
We have no problem "editing songs" in our house, the little kids are too young to understand and the older ones listen to whatever suits them.
We dont ban music videos either but the kids dont have much interest in watching them anyway. It was only my eldest daughter that loved those as much as I did on the foxtel music channels!
I think its just part of life, there have always been songs out there with controversial lyrics but its just music and radio does censor most of them!
Kids just love the music, hasnt hurt anyone that I know of! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who doesn't know what Crowded House were on about!!

Carly Findlay said...

Hey - just linked to this post here:
I hate most music of today. It's too sexualised. I wasn't allowed to listen to so much music when I was a kid - Mum went off at me for listening to I like big butts, and Alanis was banned.

Faybian said...

One of my older sisters friends sat me down and played the sex pistols for me when I was about 11, around the time that sid vicious killed himself. I thought all the swearing was hilarious. Years later my 23 year old saved up her pocket money (at age 10) and bought Alannis morisette's jagged little pill. I was quite adamant that she change one of the words to you aughta know from f#%k to slap. I used to hear her singing it, that too made me giggle. We listen to rebel fm (goes to beau desert and the gold coast) and they play a lot of straight rock, much of it from my era and my younger kids don't get to hear swearing.

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed said...

Oh no, you're not being ridiculous - I am shocked too! I found this through Carly's blog. I heard that Dirty Talk song the other day and actually listened to the lyrics. My mouth was open with shock when I realised what she was saying. I hear this at 7am on Nova sometimes!! I do love Madonna's Like a Virgin (& actually kind of like Rhianna's song - so catchy!) but the lyrics are 100% absurd! Not something I would want my kids listening to.
Heidi xo

yveblogs said...

Oh so many memories of cringeworthy moments... like sitting next to my mother in law at a dance concert watching my ten year old daughter wriggle her bottom around to 'its getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes'. Even nana's bad hearing didnt miss that one.

Rachel said...

Love it, Bern! And since our Tweetfest the other night, I've removed The Camel Song (AKA The Black Eyed Peas - My Hump) from the car playlist. Gone back to ABBA's Greatest Hits for now until I find something in between Christian rock (GOD, NO) and something my kids won't lose their aural virginity to...
I'm totally open to suggestions though, as Dancing Queen is getting pretty old, pretty fast...

Wombat Central said...

I still remember my mom turning around in disgust when my two friends and I were crooning some Pink Floyd in the back seat:

"Fills me with the urge to defecate!"

Mom: "Do you know what defecate means?"
Clueless girls: "Um, no?"

Now it's a whole different ball game. I know when to turn down Lily Allen so they miss the cursing, but there certainly is a whole lot of trash out there now, and my kids are starting to tune into the lyrics. Particularly my 8-year-old son.

I do try to be cognizant of what I play when they're in the car, so thank goodness he only has to ask things like, "What does 'take the weather with you' mean?" (Crowded House) :)

suburp said...

ah.. inappropriate music -not to mention music videos..! while at 5 Tornado has now figured out most of the more common bad words and knows we avoid them (if we can), we had a phase of confusion where I was glad he would mishear certain lyrics. He absolutely LOVED Sydney Samson's "Riverside" (beep beep beep etc..) and for some reason would belt out "BUCKA!" instead of the big inappropriate word. I let him be. We have a special rule in the car and for music where 'bad words' are ok.
As for the random mainstream bdsm and other sexed lyrics they aren't as much on my radio, so I guess I am buying some time until he choses his own bad taste of music, lol.
This all said, I now looked up G6 and am kinda disappointed, is it really just the name of a plane..d'uh!?

Julia @ Boredom Abounds said...

Oh man, that Dirty Talk is so, so horrible. The lyrics are just appalling. And I'm not even a mother!

Love your blog - found it while browsing the Aussie Bloggers Conference site.

Becci said...

You must be in our house because they are exactly the same songs my 12yr daughter is singing and somehow she knows what most of it means. I made the mistake of answering all of her questions honestly from the beginning so I can't start making stuff up - "legs up in the air" omg! I was far from a prude but the thought of having this beautiful innocent girl out there in the big bad world makes me turn into a 50's mum. Thank gawd 8yr old son can sing along to all the ACDC etc and not want to know what it all means ... yet ....
p.s. Crowded House lyrics were perfectly clear to me! But then I am a kiwi....

Stomper Girl said...

This is why we listen to my ipod in the car. The occasional swear word but no full bore sex. We used to try and cough very loudly at appropriate moments when the odd song (like Lily Allen's The Fear) used the F-word. The kids are wise to that now, which does save a bit of bother, I could never time my coughs exactly right..

Go Girl said...

This is brilliant. I have just sat through a 12 year olds dance to Rhianna's S&M. She knew every word.

jtlam said...

Growing up, my mum had George Michael on repeat in the car so "I want your sex" was a constant little ditty after breaky on the way to school. Classy.

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