Words Get in the Way

As much fun as nonsense lyrics and silly songs are when we’re kids, there comes a time when the words have to start making sense. Think about this sweet little French song Mom taught me:

In case it’s not clear from that cute little video, the song is about plucking the feathers from a skylark. First from his head, then from his beak, neck, wings, back, legs and, finally, tail. Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether beaks or feet have feathers and acknowledging that this song is often used as a tool to teach small children names of body parts that they are supposed to point to when named, you gotta admit: it’s a little twisted.

I’m also reminded of the tune that goes “squishing up a baby bumble-bee”–eek!

Words have power. Were I a parent would I teach these songs to my kid knowing their not-so-cheery back-story? Tough call, but I’d definitely think twice about it.

Even still, I tend to be pretty eclectic with the music I listen to, only switching off a song if I find the lyrics truly “out there.” There is one song I will always turn off, no matter what, because it creeps me out to no end: Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire.” It was in heavy rotation during a particularly rough year of my childhood and the lyrics are disturbing when taken in personal context.

What about you: Any song you just can’t stand? Why? Any kid’s song you’re re-thinking? Remember we’re talking lyrics and share it in the comments.

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