Boy-toy music unsettling to Mom

A look at Lower Valley Life from resident Kate Russell

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