Listen to Iron Maiden, Baby, With Me

Athena likes music, which should comes as no surprise since all kids like music. However, she likes some music more than other kinds and I have to say that both as a father and a person who evaluates music on a professional level, I’m pleased with the musical choices she’s been making.

For example, number one on the Athena Hit Parade recently is “Cruel to Be Kind,” the late 70s pop gem as covered by Letters to Cleo. I played her the 70s version as well, but she’s less enamored of it because she’s all about the girl power these days. Be that as it may, she’s the only kid at her preschool who knows the words to a Nick Lowe song, and that’s got to count for something. Also big on Radio Athena: “Song 2” by Blur, “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus, “Istanbul (Not Constantinople) by They Might Be Giants,” “Spiderwebs” by No Doubt, “Octopuses’ Garden” by the Beatles and “MMMBop” by Hanson, which, before you say anything, is the best Jackson 5 song of the last 25 years, and they wrote it themselves. So you know, cut them some slack.

Now obviously, she’s being fed music by me, so to some extent her tastes reflect my tastes. But on the other hand, there’s lots of music I like she doesn’t have the time of day for, and that’s fine with me. The ultimate plan here, of course, is to get her used to good music (of all sorts of types) so that she doesn’t go through childhood without the cultural defenses that will allow her to listen to whomever the next Britney/Hillary Duff might be, and understand on how many levels that kind of music truly sucks. This might make her an outcast, sure. But she’ll be an outcast with exquisite musical taste.

The picture above, incidentally, has a story behind it (how could it not?). In the “Teenage Dirtbag” song, there’s the line that goes “I’m just a teenage dirtbag, baby/ Listen to Iron Maiden maybe/ With me”. Athena was singing the line, so I asked her if she would like to listen to some Iron Maiden. Her response: “Sure!” So I pulled up “Wasted Years” (one of the tamer Maiden tracks in terms of lyrical content, in case you’re wondering — it muses about life on the road as opposed to, say, slaughtering Indians by the thousands or dying with one’s boots on) and let her have a listen.

Her verdict: “Well, I kind of liked it. But I kind of hated it, too. All at the same time.” That sounds about right.

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