Back in May, when I made an epic solo car trip down south with the girls, they stuffed my CD player with a dozen CDs (and a penny!), effectively destroying it. Since then, we’ve been listening to FM radio (interspersed with NPR, but sometimes I just can’t handle the BBC World News). At first, we did so begrudgingly, but we came to appreciate the repetition and surprises FM radio still brings to the table. And Robin and Holly learned to sing along with the McGrath Kia commercial, which features Presidential impersonators and “You should be driving a Kia from McGrath Kia!!” shouted to the tune of La Bamba (a quick google search reveals how universally hated this commercial is in the Corridor area!).
Just before my birthday last month, my husband surprised me by purchasing and installing a new CD player/radio in the car. This one even has a USB to connect an iPod, which inspired me to (a) find my old iPod which was (b) at the bottom of a tote bag I used 3 years ago for teaching and (c) had not been charged in about that long. It worked! Since then, FM radio has fallen by the wayside as I surf my iPod remembering songs I downloaded and obsessively listened to the winter before Robin was conceived, and play the new Neil Young album that the lovely Strph sent. And so I offer this tribute to FM radio, which brought new music into our lives and taught us about our children’s emerging aesthetic preferences (dominated by infectious beats and the shouting of I LOVE and/or I WANT ROCK AND ROLL).
Robin and Holly’s FM Radio Mixtape
“867-5309″ by Tommy Tutone
This was by far the favoritest song we rediscovered by FM radio. Not only do the girls love the Sesame Street-esque chorus of numbers, the guitar part is actually really catchy (Brian immediately learned it) and Robin caught on to the call-and-response vocals as well. Plus, they liked to add the word “Butt!” to random parts of the song and scream-sing it in each others’ faces during bathtime. (Try to ignore the creepy stalker-themed video.)
“Centerfold” by the J. Geils Band
Continuing the theme of hyper-horny boy songs from the ’80s, the girls love “Centerfold,” especially the do-do-do-ahh and nananana chorus. And the whistling at the end!
“Rock of Ages” by Def Leppard
If you ask my 4 year old what her favorite song is, her answer will be, “Mom, what is the one that says ‘What do you want? I want rock and roll!’?” and I will say, “Rock of Ages.” And she will say, “That one.” Clearly, a love for Def Leppard flows strongly through my genes and into my platinum daughter’s ears.
“Kickstart My Heart” by Motley Crue
Continuing the hair band theme, the girls also super love this marginally unsucky tune by the largely talentless (but much beloved by me in elementary school) band Motley Crue. I owned Dr. Feelgood on CD (I really liked their power ballad, “Without You”), and every day in 4th grade (1989) I came home to watch the top 10 video countdown on MTV, and this was on the countdown for a long time (this and some song by Faster Pussycat). Then I played Donkey Kong Jr. for an hour and ate dinner. The girls especially like the WHOA! YEAH! part and the speedfreak guitar licks.
“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
Does it even require explanation? We also like the video. I emphatically encourage them to take up Lauper’s style and hair. Anything to counteract evil, evil Bratz Babies.
“Lucky Star” by Madonna
Mostly they love this for it’s sparkly synth soundz and the line “star light, star bright” from the nursery rhyme. Another fave is “Holiday” by Madonna, but the video for that is like a grim aerobics video for gothic convicts or something (seriously). The Fresh Beats and Yo Gabba Gabba do a much better cover.
“You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon
This is kind of a cheat, because we watch the video on youtube far more than we’ve heard it on the radio. The girls think this video is the funniest thing EVER, especially the part at the end where Chevy Chase blasts Paul Simon in the face with the trumpet. Trying to explain the song’s “plot” to Robin was a bit of a challenge (she really wants to know “what the guy is talking about” in every song we hear).
“You Might Think” by The Cars
Or really, any song by The Cars, amirite????
“Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan
When did classic rock stations stop playing cool hippie music? Sheesh. It shouldn’t be a total rarity to hear a Dylan classic on the radio. What is it about this song? I distinctly remember hearing it on the FM radio in my Mom’s 1980 Chevy Impala and being like this song is awesome but having no idea what it’s about. The girls feel the same way.
“Turn Turn Turn” by the Byrds
Another classic that should be played way more often. The girls apparently do yoga or some vague dancing to this song at their hippie daycare, so whenever it comes on they start rolling around on the floor and waving their arms. True story.
So there you have it. What’s your fave FM tune? How long has your iPod sat uncharged?