Michael Armstrong: “I’m laughing the whole time; it’s all tongue-in-cheek,”

How we introduce our children to the culture that made us – us – is a complicated thing. It’s far harder then I thought it would be.

The Baby Boomers didn’t seem to fret that their culture, which glorified counter-culture, was the mainstream, while Gen-Xers were growing up. Reduced to a series of insidious marketing messages that taught us to spend our youthful energies consuming goods that made us look rebellious, and feel rebellious.

They hypocritically fretted over the lyrical content of Prince, W.A.S.P., and Metallica, when The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin, laid it all down twenty years before. And it was broadcasted to Gen-X wherever we went.

It’s always do as I say, not as I do. Isn’t it?

We live in the age of niche media now. Broadcast doesn’t have that kind of access to our children it once had. Chances are my neighbors kids listen to different music then the neighbors next to them.

So we have decisions to make.

Right now it’s what is appropriate music for a baby?

Tonight I plan to learn the guitar to “This Little Light of Mine” and sing it for Emma. Inspired by last night’s re-broadcast of “When the Levees Broke”. Just an unbeliebable song on so many levels. I remember singing it in elementary school choir.

She loves The Ramones. “I Wanna Be Sedated” gets her feet moving and her face lights up as she laughs. And she likes Bon Jovi. Especially “It’s My Life”. You start singing the pre-chorus and you can see the look in her face waiting for the hook to kicks in. She loves the Annie soundtrack, especially “Dumb Dog”, and The Sound of Music soundtrack, especially “Do-Re-Mi”. The bigger the score, the louder the chorus, the better.

Who am I to argue with a smile and a laugh like hers?


Anyway, via dangerousmeta comes the following Washingtonpost.com story that kicked off this train of thought: “The Cradle Will Rock, to Metallica”:

Behold the dulcet tones of Metallica, my sweet little cherub-rockers!

Out are the roaring guitars, pummeling drums and howling lyrics such as “pounding out aggression / turns into obsession / cannot kill the battery / cannot kill the family.” In: glockenspiel, Mellotron, vibraphone and chimes.

If you listen closely enough, you might even hear the people behind the “Rockabye Baby” series laughing. They’re totally in on the joke, which they plan on repeating often: Albums of lullabyzed Radiohead and Coldplay songs are also out today — never mind that some of Coldplay’s originals are already soporific. And many more will follow — from Tool and Pink Floyd, both due next month, to Nirvana, the Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins and Queens of the Stone Age.

“I’m laughing the whole time; it’s all tongue-in-cheek,” says Michael Armstrong, who is producing and performing the albums — a process that involves extracting the lyrics and musical teeth from the songs.

It’s not a joke really. Is it? And no – I’m not buying this crap.