I feel like I need to preface this with a warning: A Rant is Coming. I’m not big on rants, as a rule. Reading them OR writing them. Because I really do mostly think even this fallen world is pretty wonderful. But this started as the first of my seven takes and was so, so very long that it just took over the whole thing. Bear with me, we’ll be back to happy and constructive soon . . . 

Apparently, the Bad Catholic would disagree with me, but I think last summer was a great time to be a human being with a radio. The songs of summer were catchy and mostly morally neutral. Which, really, for background music at a theme park or swim team party is good enough for me.

We had: girl gives boy her phone number, a bit forward, sure, but she leaves without him; there was a cautionary tale about shacking up; the one about a fella trying to patch things up with his old lady; and a song that wasn’t in English so nobody knew what we were singing about, but, hey, it turns out that it’s all: modest is hottest, who knew? Even the Katy Perry song wasn’t bad. (There was that whistle nonsense, which really was awful, but at least it was the only one all summer that had me diving for the radio dial.) 

But good heavens above the songs this summer are just not okay with me. Let’s have a look shall we? These seem to be the contenders for “the” song of summer 2013:

“Blurred Lines”
—Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams

Well, we saved the worst for first — because this is the song that seems to be winning. It’s ubiquitous. Critics have called it misogynistic and “rapey”  but if you are in public this summer, you can’t get away from it. And apparently, the video is basically pornography. Terrific.

This is what Thicke had to say IN DEFENSE of his video to GQ (there’s some language if you click over):

We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections,
and everything that is completely derogatory towards women. Because all
three of us are happily married with children, we were like, “We’re the
perfect guys to make fun of this.”

People say, “Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?” I’m
like, “Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve
never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.” So we just
wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go, “Women and their
bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around.”

I’m just trying to imagine what he might have said that could possibly have sounded worse if he wasn’t trying to convince you that his video was lovely.
It makes you wonder what Mr. Seaver’s TV son and his real-life son could possibly find to make small talk about at a party. 

It’s really difficult for me to understand how we’ve gotten to the point where not only does this music exists (risque music is nothing new after all) but it’s apparently considered all in good fun and appropriate for all ages. And if you think there aren’t YouTube videos of little kids covering this song, well, you’d be wrong.

“Get Lucky”
—Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers

 
Compared to the above, this one is downright charming, but still — it’s about a girl who is staying up all night to “have fun” while the fella is staying up all night to “get some.” There are SO many phrases in the lyrics of this song that I do not wish to explain to my children.

“Can’t Hold Us” 
– Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton

 
As far as my kids happening to hear it, I guess this one isn’t so bad (at least it’s not their other current song). But can I just really dislike it for NOT MAKING ANY SENSE? “So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us.” Huh? Since when do ceilings hold us? They are above us. Does he mean support us? . . . or confine us? And how would putting our hands up help in either case?  

I don’t know, I’m tired of thinking about it.

 “We Can’t Stop”
—Miley Cyrus

So this one seems to be in competition with number one for the title of “Song by the Child of a Famous Father With a Super-Racy Video and the Most Inappropriate Lyrics Ever.”
I can only hope that all those kids who watched her on the Disney Channel aren’t now singing along as she promotes doing lines in the bathroom, and “dancing with molly” (which is apparently what the kids are calling doing ecstasy these days), or watching as she simulates sex acts in the video (or so I hear).
Remember back in 2009 when she wondered if she’d fit in to the land of “fame excess”? Whatever that is, I think it’s safe to say she does. Hey-y-y-y-y it’s a party in the U-S-A.
 

 “I Love It”
—Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX

I don’t know, I guess I don’t have a huge problem with this one. There’s some unladylike language in it and repeated crashing of one’s car into the bridge and lots of simultaneous and contradictory not caring and loving it.

Apparently Sweden is ALSO a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

I do care. And I don’t particularly love it. 

 “Come & Get It”
—Selena Gomez
This song really makes me miss “Call Me Maybe.” Miss Jepsen seems awfully demure in comparison to Miss Gomez (Na-na-na-na, Na-na-na-na.) But it is catchy and she does claim to be committed “for life” to the gentleman who is invited to “come and get it,” so I guess that’s something.
Hey, did you know she used to be on Barney?
 
“The Other Side”
—Jason Derulo

Because if you’re friends with a guy, you really should plan to get drunk and sleep with him one night, because otherwise how would you know?
What could possibly go wrong? 
— bonus takes —
I can’t tell you how much I’d like to be able to say to Taylor Swift, “When I was twenty-two, I was a wife and a mother and running a home and taking care of a family. What you seem to be feeling is fourteen.” Except it would be utterly untrue. When I was twenty-two I was pretty much right where she seems to be, but with less clubbing and more binge-reading. Fortunately for me the Good Lord and my husband-to-be rescued me from all that shallow frivolity when I was twenty-four. So, Taylor, there’s hope sweetie.

I’d also like to tell Bruno Mars that if you’re doing it right, it can take you to paradise and totally NOT lock you out of heaven. There’s actually quite a lot of theology of the body going on in that song. But, it, um, lacks subtlety. 

So, yeah. Slim pickin’s this summer. I guess I should take my own advice and just turn off the radio. But then I might miss this:

or click here, I can’t find one that will show up on an iPad, sorry!
 “Cups (Pitch Perfect’s When I’m Gone)”
—Anna Kendrick

It’s totally my favorite catchy, silly, fun, summer song of the year. I also think it’s the ONLY catchy, silly, fun, summer song of the year. I love the story behind it too. (I haven’t seen the movie in which it appears, so I can’t vouch for that. But the video is awesome. I have every intention of teaching the kids how to do this.)

And lest you think I’m knocking pop music as a genre or pop culture in general, I AM NOT. That’s what makes this so frustrating. 

I know there are plenty of Catholics who do not wish to spend one single moment on anything less than the sublime, but I am with Bonnie on this one. I like pop music. I also like classical music, and that’s what we usually listen to during the school year. But in the summertime, I enjoy being able to rock out with my kids to some catchy tunes in the car. But that’s hard to do when so many songs are flat-out not-okay like they are this year.

It’s not intentional, but we do end up a bit sequestered during the school year. We do school-work at home each morning, our afternoons are usually spent at sports practices at the park or in the car running errands. My kids really don’t have many outside influences. In the summer, we spend a lot more time out in the culture in places with piped-in music. Usually, I consider that a good thing. We’re out, having fun, experiencing the culture, interacting with the people. But it means I don’t have as much control over their exposure to music. Frankly, it’s bugging me this year. I’m feeling imposed upon. My eleven year old pays attention, so we’ve had to have some talks that probably could have waited if I’d had my druthers.

At least I can control it in my own car. We’ll just have to keep trying to remember the words to “Dynamite,” which for reasons unknown to me is the one pop song that all of my children know some of the words to.

And speaking of Bonnie . . . we drove out to Goodfield from Chicago this week to meet Bonnie and the gang IRL, including new baby Joseph, and had a super lovely time. Her kids are sweet and charming and chatty, even James who chats without talking. I think he must know he’s a miracle, he’s just so happy!

Somehow in the uploading process I managed to delete the pictures I wanted to keep and uploaded the outtakes instead. But, even those are pretty great:

Congratulations to the Engstroms on their new baby and general awesomeness and we look forward to getting together again next summer!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!