Bush of Goats

Life's too short for empty slog. ans.

Day 04 – A Song That Makes You Sad

Laura Marling – Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)

A few months back, a man of about my age was killed not far from here. He was hit by upwards of four vehicles on the road between Shepton Mallet and Glastonbury. It was dark and he was trying to herd some cows which had got onto the road back into the field. None of the cars stopped. The cows weren’t his.

He was buried at the church opposite by his wife and four children and several hundred people from here and about. The sense of injustice done to the family of a hard-working man who was helping a fellow farmer can’t be easily described, nor can the wailing anguish of his parents, or the cold hard set of his wife’s jaw or the confusion of his children as they were herded into the car and away, or the hundreds (literally, hundreds) of people consoling one another in the crisp cold afternoon sun. I stood at my window and I watched all this happen and this song played and I cried at how unfair fate can be and how some song’s played at certain times become indelibly linked to events you don’t want to think of every day.

Laura Marling – Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)

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Day 03 – A song that makes you happy

3 Steely Dan – Reelin’ In The Years

‘You’ve been telling me you’re a genius since you were seventeen,
in all the time I’ve known you, I still don’t know what you mean.’

*And* Jimmy Paige’s favourite riff – all in the one song. Epic win, dude.

Steely Dan – Reeling In The Years

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Day 02 – Your least favourite song

2 – Aqua – Barbie Girl

I used to just dislike this song, but then I had children. Specifically, daughters. Before I could ignore it; now, I have to deal with it. There’s no MP3 for this as I dislike it so much. Instead, and in order that anyone mercifully unfamiliar with it can at least get the jist, here are the lyrics. The song is sung by a man and a woman; the male vocals are italicised:

– Hi Barbie!
– Hi Ken!
– You Wanna Go For A Ride?
– Sure, Ken!
– Jump In!
– Ha Ha Ha Ha!

I’m A Barbie Girl In The Barbie World
Life In Plastic, It’s Fantastic
You Can Brush My Hair, Undress Me Everywhere
Imagination, Life Is Your Creation

Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party

I’m A Barbie Girl In The Barbie World
Life In Plastic, It’s Fantastic
You Can Brush My Hair, Undress Me Everywhere
Imagination, Life Is Your Creation

I’m A Blonde Single Girl In The Fantasy World
Dress Me Up, Take Your Time, I’m Your Dollie
You’re My Doll, Rock And Roll, Feel The Glamour And Pain
Kiss Me Here, Touch Me There, Hanky-Panky

You Can Touch, You Can Play
You Can Say I’m Always Yours, Oooh Whoa

I’m A Barbie Girl In The Barbie World
Life In Plastic, It’s Fantastic
You Can Brush My Hair, Undress Me Everywhere
Imagination, Life Is Your Creation

Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party, Ha Ha Ha, Yeah
Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party,
Oooh, Oooh
Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party, Ha Ha Ha, Yeah
Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party, Oooh, Oooh

Make Me Walk, Make Me Talk, Do Whatever You Please
I Can Act Like A Star, I Can Beg On My Knees
Come Jump In, Be My Friend, Let Us Do It Again
Hit The Town, Fool Around, Let’s Go Party

You Can Touch, You Can Play
You Can Say I’m Always Yours
You Can Touch, You Can Play
You Can Say I’m Always Yours

Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party, Ha Ha Ha, Yeah
Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party, Oooh, Oooh
Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party, Ha Ha Ha, Yeah
Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party, Oooh, Oooh

I’m A Barbie Girl In The Barbie World
Life In Plastic, It’s Fantastic
You Can Brush My Hair, Undress Me Everywhere
Imagination, Life Is Your Creation

I’m A Barbie Girl In The Barbie World
Life In Plastic, It’s Fantastic
You Can Brush My Hair, Undress Me Everywhere
Imagination, Life Is Your Creation

Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party, Ha Ha Ha, Yeah
Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party, Oooh, Oooh
Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party, Ha Ha Ha, Yeah
Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party, Oooh, Oooh

– Oh, I’m Having So Much Fun!
– Well, Barbie, We’re Just Getting Started!
– Oh, I Love You Ken!

(c) MCA Music Scandanavia AB

Hmm. Mostly, it’s  jibberish – despite the occasional stumbled-upon metaphysical truth (‘Imagination, life is your creation’? Whoa, dude.) but they’re basically espousing plasticised mass consumerism, which pretty much defines most 6 year-old girls’ fantasy worldview.

And it isn’t that it’s a lifeless, soulless piece of clumsily manufactured europop – if you’ve got children, you’ll know that description covers most of the music aimed at them.

I also know this is a popular hate tune for many people and the repeated refrain, ‘you can brush my hair, undress me anywhere’ is often cited as being the dark heart of the song. But children have no concept of the possible implications of being naked, or of making their dollies naked. The few Barbies the girl’s have, have been naked, bald (having had the hair brushed off their heads) lumps of plastic from the minute they appeared in the house. In fact, having issue with such an idea that nakedness as part of play – and by that I mean innocent, childish play – is somehow wrong or improper seems to say more about the objector than the child they profess concern for. No, the line I object to particularly is, ‘Kiss Me Here, Touch Me There, Hanky-Panky’ because it expressly blurs the line between children’s obsessions and adult knowledge.

The male singer manages to imbue this line with a meaning that cannot be misconstrued by adults and can only lead to questions that a teenager should be revelling in. I’m fairly sure I’m not a prude. I have no problem with sexual imagery in songs (I might find Lady Gaga a bit tedious musically, but she is talking to teenagers, not 6 year olds – even if 6 year-olds do listen to Lady Gaga, but they also know it isn’t for them or about things they understand). Aqua, on the other hand, with their play world parameters and co-opting of the games children play have made a song that sounds unpleasantly like entirely the wrong sort of grooming.

Trying to keep mass culture out of children’s lives is a near impossible feat, and frankly doesn’t create empowered children who are able to make their own decisions. They go to school and they hang out with other kids whose parents might not bother to care quite so much about fleeting fads. I remember the kids who were forced to live outside of mass culture. They were outcasts by dint of their parents isolationism. So I find myself in the awkward position of lying to the girls about why this is my least favourite song.

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