I just wrote a short article on my 2019 Apple Music Replay playlist and some of the stats on my music listening they exposed. Writing that got me thinking about my three year old, her relationship with music and our family’s relationship with devices.
Lauren is three so I don’t let her have devices. That’s not completely true – when she’s at my Mom’s she plays on Granny’s iPad, she uses my laptop when she Skypes with my Dad, and she gets to use my phone when I have to take her to a business meeting. Outside of those special times, she doesn’t get to touch devices.
At some point, that will have to change. Heck, some of her daycare friends already talk about their iPads and Lauren wants one too. She lives in a hyper-connected world and I’m a hyper-connected Dad, so she will want to be hyper-connected too. But honestly, I love the innocence of three and feel like a device will be the end of that, so I’m more resistant than I ever dreamed I would be.
When I finally cave and get Lauren her own device, I’m pretty sure it will be for music. At the end of my 2019 Replay article, I talked about Lauren’s taste in music and started thinking about what it would look like if she had her own Apple Music account.
Note – this is an indulgent article about my kid. It is based wholly on observation and my methodology is nowhere near scientific. Using similar methodology would have given dramatically different stats in my own Replay article, so there’s no way that these are accurate. But, it’s fun to think about and I’ll forward this article to her grandparents.
General notes on taste
The three year old has had an interesting experience with music. When she was born, I stupidly thought that I used to throw raves and have Technics 1200s. I reasoned that if my turntables and I could survive being around extremely high people until 8am about ten times a year, an infant wouldn’t be a problem. In good news, the turntables are tanks and they survived. But, when my kid was 16 months old, she channeled her inner DJ Jazzy Jeff and destroyed my favourite Bob Dylan record. (Thanks Christine!)
That’s when we went digital.
Going digital profoundly changed my kid’s relationship with music because digital music is a profoundly different experience than vinyl. Vinyl is slow and methodical – there is a process to changing an album and so it’s about listening to an entire side. With vinyl, the base unit is a side – an A side, a B side, etc. With digital, there is no process to changing a song, but there are no sides so the base unit can either be an entire album or a song. Because of this, I’m not sure that Lauren even knows that albums exist. Heck, I’m not sure that she even understands that there are bands. Instead, Lauren likes songs. She likes a particular sound, but I would hesitate to claim she likes particular genres. Instead, she likes songs.
Her taste in music has been mostly shaped by daycare and three particular people in her life – my sister, her mother and me. I hear Stephanie’s influence most in Lauren’s love of heavy music. Lauren’s tastes get much heavier than mine – for example, I have listened to Sepultura more since my kid discovered them on her second birthday than I have ever listened to them. I appreciate Black Sabbath for what they were, but I can’t claim that I listen to them. In all honesty, before Lauren got into “Byack Sabbat” I could only name one or two of their songs. But, she likes her Sabbath and now I do too.
Daycare has also been a profound influence. She went into daycare liking Paw Patrol, but she learned about Baby Shark at daycare. One of the people who work in her room really loves the Beatles and I’m pretty sure that Catie is responsible for Lauren’s love of the Beatles.
I know that I am 100% to blame for her love of Johnny Cash. Lauren has never been much for naps or sleep. There’s a point in the first year of parenting when all logic and everything goes out the window. You just want your kid to sleep because you haven’t slept in who knows how long. Then teething kicks into high gear when thicker teeth start cutting through their gums and everything really goes to hell. Your kid doesn’t sleep. You don’t sleep. And you can’t explain a thing to her because she’s little. It’s an eight month cuddle.
During our eight month cuddle, I learned that if I loaded Lauren up in the van and played Johnny Cash, no matter how tired she was, how bad teething was going or how unhappy she was with the state of the world, she would go to sleep. So, kiddo and I listened to a lot of Cash and she still loves him.
You can judge me all you want, but I had my first (and only) child when I was 39 years old. Having a kid in your late 30s is like being hungover for two years straight. I did what I had to do…hell, I’m just glad it was Johnny Cash.
Other music, I don’t really know how she got into. Lauren likes mumble rap, especially Lil Pump significantly more than anyone else I know in person. I have to admit that I don’t understand that genre of hip hop and it makes me have something between a midlife crisis and an old person/get off my lawn moment. Yet, every three or four days, I’ll ask what she wants to listen to on her way to daycare and she’ll say “Gucci Gang”.
How in the fuck did that happen?
Lauren’s top songs of 2019
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think Lauren is aware that albums or even bands exist. Songs are her base unit of music and they’re the unit that I’ll deal with in this article.
If I were to list Lauren’s top ten for 2019, it would look like this:
- Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles
- Blankenship by Diiv
- Baby Shark by Pinkfong
- Baby Shark by Malicia Darkwave
- Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division
- Move! by Public Enemy
- Root Down by Beastie Boys
- Roots Bloody Roots by Sepultura
- Gucci Gang by Lil Pump
- Paw Patrol Theme Song
- Poop Gets Stuck in your Bum by Greg Hluska
- I’m an Excavator by Blippi
- The wheels on the bus
- Princess Lauren is the Best by Monkey
There are some interesting songs on this list. When my kid is old enough to consent, I’m going to put up a video of her breakdancing to Move! by Public Enemy. It is the cutest thing I have ever seen and the kid certainly has respect for the elements. When I put that one up, I’ll put another one up of her in a very cool looking dress, with her hair thrown back in a loose ponytail, singing Love Will Tear Us Apart. There’s something about how she’s dressed, how she moves and how the music moves her that reminds me of Isobel Sollenberger from Bardo Pond. They’re the two cutest videos I have ever seen.
I hate Gucci Gang, but I’ve listened to it so much this year that it’s showing up on Apple’s Favourites mixes. Roots Bloody Roots is a little too heavy for my own taste, but I laugh whenever Lauren requests it, forms a little circle pit in the living room and runs around banging her head. I let her watch a couple of videos of Max Cavalera in concert and when she hears Roots Bloody Roots, her hand movements and facial expressions are visibly inspired by him. If you watch the first two minutes of this video, you’ll understand:
It reminds me of when our friend James and I took her to her first ever concert. Lauren was really interested in a shoegaze band from Moose Jaw called Sunny Day Encore. SDE was playing an outdoor show in Moose Jaw in 2018 and we decided that would be a good way to introduce Lauren to live music. So, we went and sure enough, little Lauren formed her own little circle pit and ran around in the circle, moving her little arms for their entire show. It was super rad…
I’m an Excavator by Blippi would have made the top ten but it was stuck in my head for an entire road construction season. I spent months stuck on the Ring Road, trying to zipper merge, singing that fucking song to myself. It wouldn’t be so bad if I was stuck on the Ring Road, trying to zipper merge, singing that song to my kid. But no, most of the time, I was singing it to myself. Needless to say, we had to take a break from Blippi.
Finally, if any bands are struggling to come up with new material, I wrote a song that has tested really well on the three year old. “Poop Gets Stuck in your Bum” is a gritty, real life song about common potty problems. Lauren constantly requests it on her ride home from daycare but she doesn’t like my singing. The three year old is something of a leader amongst the daycare set, so there’s a chance that “Poop Gets Stuck in Your Bum” will be a major hit. Write me and we’ll talk…:)