OHMYGOSH, I just looove the Backstreet Boys … I mean, who
is your favorite? Nick has those dreamy eyes but A.J. is such a bad boy!!!
Oops. I forgot. I am a grown up. I know it seems as if I lost my
mind, but you would too if everywhere you drove in your car (and all us
parents spend a lot of time in our cars), you had to listen to the endless playing
of the latest in pop music: “boy bands.”
There is an avalanche of “boy-toy” pop music and my daughters at six
and eight are the ideal age for catching pre-teen fever. In case you have been
lucky enough to miss the revolution, the bands go my such names as `N
Sync, Backstreet Boys, and 98 Degrees. The misspelling is intentional, to make
the groups sound cuddlier than a teddy bear. I cannot tell them apart. If that
is not bad enough, the company responsible for all this, Trans
Continental, also known as “Heartthrob Inc.”
is ready with an endless supply of boy- toys to part your lovely daughters
from their hard earned allowance.
I like to call them the “spice boys.” These groups are all
manufactured using Menudo and New Kids on the Block as the pattern. The singers
audition and are packaged with a certain mix of persona’s. The serious ones,
the bad boy or big brother types are mixed together, taught how to pout, and
how to make puppy dog eyes until the girls scream themselves into a frenzy.
Two skills I am sure will come in handy when they are broke in ten years.
They do also learn interview skills that highlight how adorable they are and
dance moves designed to delight little girls without offending their parents.
But I am offended, and I am not sure why. I feel like I am being a
snob. Goodness knows, I had my moment, a room plastered with David
Cassidy and Donny Osmond posters and a subscription to Tiger Beat. The music
is catchy, kind of like those McDonalds jingles that stick in your head
forever and drive you crazy. I think my biggest problem is that almost all of
the songs are about love. Not just love, but pre-pubescent LUV!!!!!!! There
is something innately disturbing about two little girls singing, “I’d go
anywhere for you, anywhere you asked me to, I’d do anything for you,
anything you want me to.”
Yeah, well how about clean your room!
The problem as I see it, is that there is a huge gap in American music
between the music of Barney or Raffi, and adult pop music with adult
themes. No one is out there writing and singing about homework, soccer
games and learning your multiplication tables. Music goes from ABC’s to
the birds and the bees with no stops in-between.
So what’s a mom to do? Allow your kids to listen to moaning
boy- bands and try to talk about what real love is verses the idolized love
being written about? That is bound to put the kids to sleep. Most parents I talk
to consider the new pop music a blessing. Better a heartthrob band
mooning over love lost, than the likes of Limp Bizkit screaming.
I tell you there has to be another alternative. Maybe I will get the
kids a poster of Louis J. Pearlman, the founder of the management
company that brought us all of these lovely boy- bands. That is a lesson I want my
kids to have. Smart business to be in, creating interchangeable
schoolboy groups. After all, there is an endless supply of screaming girls, and
new ones being born everyday.
In the meantime, if you see me singing “I’ll Never Break your
Heart” at the top of my lungs into a spear of broccoli at the local grocery story,
just slap me until I return to my senses. I will thank you in the morning.
Kate Russell lives in the lower Snoqualmie Valley. You can
reach her at Katemo1@msn.com