Music for Nine-Year-Olds

by J.D. Roth

Naomi is a writer. From time-to-time she sends out stories of her family life via e-mail. (She really needs a blog, but she won’t listen to reason.) Last weekend she sent out a bit entitled “Sk8er Boi on God’s Planet”, which describes the challenges of guiding her oldest daughter, Lydia, safely into the world of rock music. Naomi writes:

So suddenly my 9-year old daughter has become fascinated by the rock music scene. I had anticipated this, of course, but I was hoping that our Machiavellian plot of making her an early reader would serve to make her a late bloomer in the realm of teenager music. No such luck; she is apparently multifariously precocious.

But despite my misgivings, I was (at first) greatly comforted by the fact that her first love is Avril Lavigne and not Britany Spears. For those who don’t know, Avril is on the dark-eye-liner, black-clothes-wearing, pouty-lipped, politically cynical angry-at-the-entire-world end of rock music women, balanced on the other end by Brit’s cheerleader act. (no prejudices here, folks; as a Christian I love everybody equally. Really.)

As a fellow who loves music, I’m very excited that a kid I know has finally reached the age to be interested in rock. I don’t know Lydia well, but Naomi’s message still prompted me to spend two hours on Sunday (two hours that would have been better spent writing) gathering together songs that I hoped a nine-year-old would like (and that a nine-year-old’s mother might approve of). I was careful to choose songs that sounded “hip” without being risque.

But when Kris found out my plan she said, “What are you doing? You can’t make a mix for a nine-year-old girl. She’ll think this is her parents’ music. She’ll think this is lame.” I was mortified to realize that she was right. Still, I remember that I liked some of my parents’ music when I was a kid. And they listened to some of the stuff I liked. Maybe there’s hope.

I wrote to Naomi asking her advice. She replied:

I checked with Lydia, and she’d love to get your “Lydia mix.” She is not nearly as snobbish as she could be, partly because of her terrible isolation from anything pop culture. I kid you not, only a year ago she came home from school and asked “Mom, what’s Pokemon?” The scariest thing is not that she didn’t know Pokemon (scary enough) but that she still sees me as a source of accurate information about kid culture. That one will change soon enough!

So, in order to vet this mix for Naomi and for those of you hip to nine-year-old culture, here’s the pool of songs that I’ve managed to collect. This is slightly longer than a CD, so a couple of songs have to go. Which ones? Are there others that might be included? For each song I’ve listed the artist, provided a link to the lyrics, and posted a YouTube video. (I hope the latter doesn’t kill things for people.)

Lydia’s Mix

Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone

Gnarls Barkley – Smiley Faces

Hilary Duff – Come Clean

Wilson Phillips – Hold On

Kylie Minogue – I Believe in You

Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles

Green Day – I Fought the Law

Go-Go’s – We Got the Beat

Girls Aloud – Sound of the Underground

Rick Springfield – I’ve Done Everything For You

Sarah Washington – I Will Always Love You

This isn’t the version I’m putting on the CD

Natalie Merchant – Wonder

Diana Anaid – Last Thing

Jewel – Intuition

t.A.T.u. – How Soon is Now?

Avril Lavigne – Take Me Away

Us3 – Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)

The Decemberists – The Chimbley Sweep

This is not the official video, obviously, because there isn’t one.

Apples in Stereo – Signal in the Sky

The Might Be Giants – Why Does the Sun Shine?

R.E.M. – It’s the End of the World as We Know It

A*Teens – Mamma Mia (ABBA cover in Spanish)

Actually, I may send Lydia a copy of this CD. I love it.

  • Dandy Warhols – Bohemian Like You
  • The Postal Service – Such Great Heights

    Pat Benatar – We Belong

    Sixpence None the Richer – Kiss Me

    Basically, I’m looking for fun songs that I can imagine a young girl dancing around to. I tried to picture a young Kris Gates bellering along to these songs. If I could picture it, they stayed. (Of course, I had to draw the line at Helen Reddy, which I know Kris used to sing along with.) I really wanted to put on some other songs, like The Black-Eyed Peas’ Hey Mama, but I recognize they’re inappropriate. Please, readers, I beg of you: help me create a CD that a nine-year-old girl would love. (I hope to be able to use this for other nine-year-olds as they crop up during the next few years.)

    Updated: 21 February 2007

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