o in the back of my mind I’ve always wondered when the “pop-music” was going to happen in our house. When Episode IV started kindergarten we knew that that was the time when her social growth would begin to be influenced more by her friends than by her parents. Up to that point, musically she’d been raised with the classics: Frank Sinatra, John Williams and all the major 80’s hair bands. But the day was coming when she would no longer be satisfied with what her mother and I put in the car CD player. Someday soon she’s going to want us to put the radio on some insidious pop station that belts whatever over-produced, over-stylized dreck happens to be trending at the moment. It was just a matter of how and when. Then the answer came.
The other day I had the opportunity to chauffeur for my daughter’s kindergarten field trip. Translation: I got to drive four kinder girls from point A to point B and back again. That was a new one for me, and what fun it was. As you might imagine the silliness and giggle-factor were off the charts. We laughed the entire trip (I seriously recommend the experience to anyone who’s brave enough to try it). On the way there I asked the girls what music they wanted to listen to. One girl (the one with two older sisters) immediately piped in with a radio frequency (which I can’t remember now) “blah blah blah point blah!” came the high happy kinder voice from the back seat – and right on cue one of Katy Perry’s signature songs filled the car. It’s one of those songs that everyone has heard somewhere, it’s super catchy, everyone recognizes the tune, but nobody knows the lyrics.
So we bumped along, the five of us singing “nah na na na na fiiiiiiiiiiireworks!! Nah na na na na fiiiiiiiiiireworks!! Nah na na na nah oh, oh, oh!!!” until the song was over. We were all out of breath from singing so loud, and we were all giggling.
During the commercial break the girls were all talking at the speed of sound until the music came back on. The 5-year-old in the back seat with the two older sisters piped up immediately, “That’s Justin Bieber. He’s probably going to get married to Selina Gomez because they’re in love with each other.”
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“It means that they kiss” she said, to which all four girls in unison brought their dimpled little hands up to their mouths and giggled slumber-party-style. She then went on to explain all the dynamics of Justin and Selina’s relationship – from a kindergarten perspective – for the duration of the song.
When the song was over and the 5-year-old in the back seat with the two older sisters was out of breath the girls sat quiet for a moment, pondering everything they had just learned. When the silence was finally broken a few moments later, it was my daughter who piped up with what I’m proud to say was probably the most profound, intelligent thing said during the entire trip. With a look of apathy on her face she turned around to the other girls and said:
“Justin Bieber sings like a girl”.