On receipt of an email of doom from a family member (yes it was my Dad), about the catastrophes and natural disasters that will befall planet Earth in my children’s life time my thoughts naturally turned to Rihanna. Perhaps it was fear displacement or perhaps the true catastrophe that is Rihanna and those like her to our children is, like global warming just accepted, not acted on and quite terrifying . Oh I know, I know, you can’t compare an annoying pop star with a husky voice to earthquakes, landslides, floods and hurricanes but I had nightmares for weeks after watching The Day After Tomorrow and I find annoyance and anger easier emotions than fear.
So Rihanna, she of the abusive boyfriend, the tendency to dress in underwear alone and the 25 million record sales. According to my usual taste in catchy music I should by rights actually like Rihanna and her many peers who sing ridiculously melodic and rhythmic tunes, but I just can’t stand her. It’s a sign of age probably, but to me, her lyrics are just plain offensive. Just as my generation’s parents were mortified when we requested Frankie Says Relax t-shirt, ‘but why is it rude Mummy?’, now the parents of today are horrified as their 8 years olds sing along to Rihanna, ‘Come here rude boy, boy, Can you get it up, come here rude boy, boy, is you big enough’, just wrong, and not just grammatically. Don’t even get me started on, ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me’. Really? You really think that is an acceptable lyric for a mainstream pop star? Well let me tell you Miss Rihanna, it is not.
Rihanna is not alone, just the other day I found myself humming along to Britney, ‘Mama I’m in love with a criminal’ (what?!!), and I am not sure I can even mention Flo Rider with his lessons on how to ‘whistle’, ‘you just put your lips together and you come real close’ without shuddering. What is all this doing to our children’s heads, their morals, their self respect? More importantly why is nothing being done about it? I am all for freedom of speech but vulgarity for the sake of it when your audience is mostly under 16, please. This is nothing to do with music and art and expression. It is just plain wrong.
I recently took the test that appeared on Facebook to see how many of the 100 most influential albums I owned. I figured zero but actually I own 7, 5 of which were bought in one bulk purchase from music mail order Britannia Music, (remember them?), back in my university days when I was probably trying to impress someone rather than actually knowing what I was purchasing. Cool, I am not and my taste in music underlines this fact. Not surprisingly then, on moving to Israel and listening to Israeli music on the radio I discovered that the only Israeli artist I can genuinely say I like turns out to be the favourite of the middle aged and reiterates my inability to be cool. Luckily it’s not something I need hide anymore.
The irony of my bad music taste is that I have amassed a huge number of friends who really are music aficionados and therefore by my definition, cool. I have friends who are DJs, friends who collect vinyl, friends who spent their childhood summers and their first jobs in record shops, friends who can talk music for hours and hours on end (DULL). I seem to be drawn to people who like music – a lot. Even my husband has a record collection that, although may not be everyone’s taste, is gigantic and varied. So why then am I just not interested? Why do I favour cheesy pop over just about everything else and why if I were left on a desert island would I request satellite TV rather than an ipod? If the world is collapsing around us and I am alone on island (albeit a flooded, windswept one) an ipod would certainly be more use than a TV, right? And no, Rihanna, I’d rather get wet than stand under your um-be-rella rella rella.
PS My 2 year old has just seen this and asked who’s the girl with the bottom…nuff said