Driving up the Merritt Parkway and listening to Disney Pandora with my boys a few weeks ago, I found myself jamming to “When Will My Life Begin?” from Tangled.
I’ve never seen Tangled, but I couldn’t resist that song.
I know. I’m a grown man bopping my head to silly princess music. But trust me: it is so catchy. I felt silly, I admit. I’m a musician and enjoy all types of music. But the under-sized Napoleons in my life dictate “ABC’s” or “Princesses” when we drive.
And I find myself bouncing my head to many of the songs on Pandora’s “Kid’s Pop” station.
But don’t we all secretly like Katy Perry? Just a little bit? I mean, when she was on that awkward firework-spewing contraption at the Super Bowl, didn’t we all feel a little thrill?
Well I did.
I’ve always had a penchant for catchy pop music, within reason. Pop radio stations are awful for more than 15 minutes. Everything’s interchangeable. Too much is even too superficial for me.
But those summer anthems and one-hit wonders are delicious candy. Catchy songs by Pharrel Williams, Robin Thicke, and Justin Timberlake get plenty of play on my phone.
But somehow, the guys’ music isn’t embarrassing. And what’s up with that? It’s all cheesey pop, isn’t it? I suppose we can dissect why pop music by women is emasculating while pop music by men is still “pretty cool”. But that’s for another time. Or not.
While belting Rapunzel’s song, I was reminded of Bill Maher’s “New Rule” from a few months ago: “Science has to figure out why little girls and gay men like the same music.”
It’s funny (cuz it’s true). And I couldn’t help but dissect his joke (cuz I’m me…and defensive).
I’d say little girls and gays like music that’s catchy, up-beat, and up-lifting.
Isn’t it amazing that music and dance are both art forms shared by every culture around the world? Kids and adults around the world love to dance. The exception is many Americans who are caught up in their social standing. Especially men…like Bill Maher.
But aren’t kids universally entertained by sunshiney music that inspires them to wiggle? And then what happens? We reach adolescence and rebel. Sunshiney music is no longer socially acceptable. And that’s great. “Mature” music lends itself to emotional introspection and artistic expression.
But what’s wrong with still appreciating “little girl/gay” music?
Our cult of cool trumps pleasure.
It seems to me Bill Maher and his fellow sticks-in-the-mud squelch their inner child by criticizing “little girl/gay” music. They repress their inner child who enjoys fun music. And heaven forbid their iTunes list seem remotely “feminine.”
Bill Maher, do you really protest “Call Me Maybe” when it comes on at a wedding? You never smile (even internally) when you hear Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”?
Is it too gay for you? Rather than be seen to enjoy yourself (like a kid), you’d sit and sulk in the corner?
Well, dude, real men know how to enjoy some bubble gum pop, too.
You’re missing out.