During a "Fresh Air" interview last year, Nick Lowe made me laugh out loud with his observation of overreaching, hipster parents. I'm bungling the quote, but here's the gist of what he said: "You hear these people saying, 'My 1-year-old loves The Clash.' No, they don't!"
How about 8-year-olds?
I'm one of those parents who decided early on that I wasn't trading in my Beck CDs for Barney or Kidz Bop. If you're riding in a car that I paid for, I'm in charge of the playlist. The only problem is that my son is a bit of a tyrant when it comes to the iPod. And it's my fault, because I cultivated his music snobbery very early. With the exception of Dan Zanes and They Might Be Giants, he has never listened to "children's music" at home. I think he might turn out to be one of those guys who chooses girlfriends based on whether they like Sigur Ros or Al Green.
Even before I've cranked up the car, he's ready with his list of musical requests. And lately, there have been morning playlist skirmishes. I mean, I'm not friggin’ Rick Dees.
"Can you play that na-na-na-na song? I wanna hear that today." (That would be Beck's "E-Pro.")
"No, I want to hear something else." (Cues Nancy Sinatra.)
"This is boring!" (Pouts)
"What about 'The Pretender?' Please?" (Whines)
"No. This is my car, not yours."
"You never let me do anything! It's not always about you."
"Be quiet so I can hear, thanks." (Defiantly turns up volume.)
I don't have this problem with my daughter, but that's because she doesn't care. Jon Brion? Fine. Outkast? Sure, whatever. Unfortunately, I think she's being influenced by her dad, whose tastes lean toward urban contemporary. Worse, he is fond of Nickelback. Do you see what I'm up against?
So while I admire my son's strong musical opinions, they're annoying. Which is something we have in common.
But at least he doesn't like Nickelback.