We gon’ light it up like it’s dynamite

In which the Ever-Suffering Mother listens to pop music.

Some months ago a friend posted on Facebook that some days, country music is a necessity. I know I will offend more than a few people when I say that country music is only a necessity if your aim is to drive people away. And up until a month or two ago, I would probably have said the same thing about pop.

Let’s travel back in time to see Beth as an Enlightened College Student, rather than an Ever-Suffering Mother. She (ten or fifteen pounds lighter) walks around her flower-bedecked college campus with her diary book, some pens, and a well-read copy of T. S. Eliot’s collected poems. American Beauty, although dead depressing, is the most meaningful movie she’s ever seen. The Enlightened College Student has just discovered Pink Floyd. She never heard such beautiful caterwauling. Such dips and valleys of emotion in a single Shine-on-you-crazy-diamond kind of song.

Pop music blares from the open window of a shiny white Jetta blazing down the street. She wrinkles her nose, distracted from translating her own dreamy/angsty poetry into French, naturellement. Pop music? Quelle horreur. It’s such a cliché. Please. That Jetta-driver is killing brain cells with every beat of the synthetic bass drum.

[Fast-forward sound effects, please.]

The Ever-Suffering Mother needs some pep. She’s sleepy. Unhappy in the mornings. Grouchy. She filled a prescription for antidepressants but was too afraid to take them. She’s tried re-reading all her favorite books, and they are great escapes. But she cannot read them while she’s driving. The Spanish radio stations are fun in their way, but she keeps searching, searching…there. Rihanna’s rich voice sounds from the speaker. The Ever-Suffering Mother turns up the volume. What is this? This is…shallow. Light. Easy to digest.

She is transported into another world. What are these sounds? This is nothing like the alternative rock she listened to as a teenager. Where is the anger, the creepy “give it up to me” the Toadies intoned over and over? It is not here! This is one-second teenage-dream infatuation! Pop stars slinging out slang she will never ever understand: like a G-six? What? The announcer comes on, name-dropping faster than a stuffy literature professor. The Ever-Suffering Mother cannot even interpret where the names end and the song titles begin.

What a great escape! For a few minutes, she pretends she’s in a club, where they go hardcore and there’s glitter on the floor and she’s just dancing dancing dancing (and not looking like an idiot because after all this is a fantasy).

Then a voice sounds from the back seat of her sport-utility Mom-Mobile: “Snack please?”


  1. Dana · October 6, 2010

    Sadly, I have “secretly” bought recently one of Ke$ha’s songs (I LOATHE HER NAME), along with some completely skanky song called “Sexy B**ch” that I love dancing around to. And I also found myself listening to some catchy song in a restaurant and then asking my friend what it was and recoil in horror when he told me it was Britney.

    I try to burn it out with some Metric or La Roux, but the shameful music still lurks there insidiously.

    • bethhull · October 6, 2010

      Haha Dana, I bought one of Ke$ha’s songs too! I wasn’t going to admit it in this post (or anywhere else), but your powers of interrogation through confession are formidable.
      I won’t say how many times I’ve listened to the song, even though iTunes keeps track.

      • Dana · October 6, 2010

        So which atrocious Ke$ha song did you buy? Was it Tik Tok? I totally blame this Star Trek video for making me buy it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZWaWrvJ7nA

        One pop singer I have no shame in admitting I like is Lady Gaga. She is fabu.

  2. Randi · October 6, 2010

    Should I put a Carpenters CD on your Christmas list?

  3. bethhull · October 7, 2010

    Dana…I cringe to admit it, but I bought “Animal.” The tune to the children’s dirty rhyme “There’s a place in France where the women wear no pants…” grabbed me from the very beginning of the song.

    I’ll check out Tik Tok now. We’ll be singin’ them both together in LA next weekend!

    • Dana · October 7, 2010

      Hmmmm……. *eyes suspiciously* Now I’m wondering if you bought TWO Ke$ha songs because the song you’re describing is not Animal, but a different song… HA!

      • bethhull · October 7, 2010

        Whoops, Animal is the album title. I bought “Take It Off.” (smooth recover, huh?)

  4. Alexandra · October 8, 2010

    Gotta go hear this.

    I secretly love eminem..I think his lyrics are genius.

    But I can’t let my kids know that…

    • bethhull · October 8, 2010

      Hi Alexandra, I agree: Eminem’s lyrics are smart. I wish sometimes they were a little less disturbing, but the songs have got a good beat and…yes. I have a few of them on old mix cds somewhere. The Ke$ha songs Dana and I were discussing…not quite so smart. But definitely peppy.

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