Is it possible to experience youthful exuberance with beer or music not intended for children?
One of the things I love about Tune-Yards (AKA Merrill Garbus) is the fun, youthful naivete she captures in her music. This is perfectly exhibited in her new video for “My Country.” Children dance, lip-synch, and pretend to play instruments, but the energy in the music is even more child-like.
Unlike Kimya Dawson, Tune-Yards doesn’t write kid songs. However, her music still appeals to children. My daughter loves Whokill, particularly “Gangsta.” She sings the chorus like a pro even though its sense of danger “crawling out the wood” is decidedly non-childlike.
How is something so not meant for children also so filled with youthful exuberance? This can be answered in exploring the joy adults display when their song is played or they discover a beer that completely blows them away. Still, as a parent, I want to know how this all fits into a child’s experience.
My daughter is all I have in regards to a test subject. She dances and sings with the music I play for her. She enjoys songs I sing to her by the likes of Pavement or The Flaming Lips. I still remember the day as a not-quite-two-year-old when she refused to leave the car before school until the Arcade Fire song on the car stereo was finished.
I often ask my daughter if she wants a beer when I pour my own. She, of course, turns me down, informing me that she can only have beer when she’s older. Additionally, she likes to tell me that she’ll help me brew beer once she’s older.
Music and beer that aren’t meant for her still have a place in her life. These interests sometimes make me as giddy as a child. So, there is a youthful experience in things that are not exactly G-rated.
What do you think of this? Is there music or beer that makes you feel young again? Don’t you miss that feeling sometimes? Or is this whole discussion really inappropriate?
1 I saw Dawson play a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I was a bit under the weather and had to skip out early. Before I left, she found half the audience enthusiastically greeting her and the other half back at the bar, talking over the music. Her solution was to lead the audience in a few of her kid songs, which was pretty fun. The sad part was that I knew those songs better than her other work.
2 I recognize that she has no idea what she’s singing, but the combination of words and rhythm can be addictive even when we don’t know the real meaning. She totally caught me off-guard when we got out of the car one day after the song had just been playing and she continued to sing.
3 Obviously, this is a joke, and she knows it. I have some liberal ideas on when kids should first try alcohol, specifically beer. I used to stick my finger in my beer and let her lick it while she was an infant, but I stopped that as she can be pretty demanding. I’m considering giving her a full sip around ten and building from there. I want to make her a beer snob so that she turns her nose up at the swill being served at high school keggers.