My poor mom fought an uphill battle with me about music since I was eight and singing "if you wanna be my lover you gotta get with my friends." As a kid growing up in the 90s and 00s (what's it called again?), my music choices were less than stellar. Some of it was harmless embarrassment, like the Hansens and Aqua, and some of it was.... not stuff I'd want my future children hearing. And some of it I've decided is best left in the dustbin of teenage bad decisions.
If you're young enough, do you remember those Ja Rule duets that were so popular in the early 2000s? He did one with Ashanti called "Always On Time" that my friends and I thought was killer. You know, "Baby, I'm not always there when you call, but I'm always on time, and I gave you my heart, now baby be mine." When it came on the radio we cranked it up and sang at the top of our lungs with the windows rolled down, to the chagrin of anyone nearby.
My mom once overheard this particular song and decided to have a Serious Talk. It went like this:
"I listened to a horrible song on that 101 station you and your friends like. The guy was saying that he keeps, um, women, drugged up on ecstasy. Do you listen to that song?"
"Oh mom, I don't even know what song that is. I don't listen to the lyrics, just the beat." As a connoisseur of 60s-70s tunes, I went on the offensive. "Besides, your generation's music was pretty bad too. What about that song that talks about giving head and how he was a she?"
"What? There wasn't a song like that."
"That's in Take a Walk on the Wild Side."
"Oh. Well, at least it doesn't talk about drugs." I watched the wheels turn as she realized that the 70s were mostly about drugs and decided to drop the subject.
Fast forward to last month. While putting on makeup I listened to Pandora and this lovely ballad came on. I found myself singing "Bitch you know better, we live M-O-B, Money over bitches, Murda I-N-C. I got two or three hoes for every V, and I keep them drugged up off that ecstasy." And then I switched to De La Soul. Sometimes moms are right.
Another rapper we loved was Ludacris. He was from the Dirty (that is, the South), which made him a hometown boy by proxy. One of the "hardcore" songs we loved was "Move Bitch." Yep, that's all I need to say about that one.
P.I.M.P. by 50 Cent was another radio hit. I was under no illusions that it was crap music - not with a title like that - but I had forgotten how awful the lyrics were until I heard it the other day: "Man, this ho you can have her, when I'm done I ain't gon' keep her.... Put my other hoes down, you get your ass beat." All righty then.
I was just a little too young to get into 2Pac while he lived, so I made up for it later. He's still one of my absolute favorite rappers - but not every song he did is good for the soul. I loved "I Get Around" for its "beat" and rhythm. And then I actually listened to the lyrics. Nope.
In college we liked to bang our heads to Korn's "Freak On A Leash," And while I laugh at people who think rock is devil music, there is something decidedly... evil about this one. It's also one of the most depressing songs I've ever heard, and while that darkness spoke to me then, it's best not to wallow in that kind of thing.
Not all my poor choices were contemporary either. I love the Rolling Stones, and for Christmas one year I was given their 40 licks double CD. There was one song that always made me slightly uncomfortable, but I told myself not to be a prude.
Sometime in grad school I decided that if being a prude means not listening to Jagger declare that "Under my thumb, her eyes are just kept to herself, under my thumb, well I can still look at someone else," then I'm happily a prude.
Do you have songs from your past that make you cringe?