Monday, November 23, 2009

Latin Pop in DJ B's Jail Garden

The library is about to come after us for overdue CDs, so it's about time to share DJ B's take on Paulina Rubio's album "Ananda," which she so carefully selected from the shelves of the San Francisco Public Library. Do you think it was the hot pink cover art that appealed?

The music elicited smiles from Miss B who began dancing immediately to the Spanish-language pop. She jumped up and down while wearing 2 leotards and ballet shoes and invited her father to join her. Father and daughter shared a dance and then Miss B did a quick solo spin. She danced on her tip toes and shrieked, "I like this one! I'll show you how I dance."

A giddy grin spread over DJ B's face as she enjoyed the music. As the second track began she approached me, patted my knee and said, "I'm gonna stop it for a minute because I like the other one." She stopped the CD, started it up again with the first track, and resumed her happy dancing as she sashayed across the room. She kept repeating track one and would not start dancing until she heard the music, saying, "I have to dance when the music hears my ear."

She treated us to an elaborate performance before propping up the CD, saying, "I want to see it while I'm dancing." She then asked us to set up a curtain over our entertainment center so that she could have her own stage from which to make a grand entrance. After we set up the curtain she asked, "Do you want to see my shadow? This is my garden." After inviting me behind the curtain, she said, "Pretend we're in jail. It's a jail garden."

From there the performance devolved, but it was clear that DJ B found much inspiration in Paulina's Latin pop.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dean Lynch's Words did not Inspire...Or did they?

During our big listening session the other day I asked DJ B to take a look at all of the promotional CDs that I'd collected at the CMJ Music Marathon last month. The overall haul was pretty meager, certainly not like the olden days when one would come home with bags of music (CDs, tapes, and even LPs back in the '80s).

When presented with her choices, Miss B said, "I want the birds one." So, I stuck Dean Lynch's CD "Bird Songs" into the player. My music reviewing preschooler continued with her drawing project while the music played.

What DJ B Drew While Listening to Dean Lynch

Although I was somewhat intrigued by the "6 Million Dollar Man" samples amid the slow guitar, percussion and whispered male vocals; DJ B was not.

Her assessment: "I don't like this music. I don't like the words."

Even though she said she didn't like the music, I was super impressed by the art she created while listening, complete with a salvaged promo sticker.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DJ B Rates CMJ Promo CDs and Begins with Explicit Content

I had all the best intentions for my big pile of promotional CDs from the CMJ Music Marathon last year. If time had been on my side, I would have had DJ B immediately plow through them, giving her unique commentary on the sounds being pitched to the college radio crowd.

Well, now I'm back from the 2009 CMJ Music Marathon with yet another batch of music (although it's a smaller haul, a trend that I imagine will continue as promoters move towards digital music) and I'm determined to get Miss B to take a listen sooner rather than later.

DJ B Scrutinizes Her Stash of Promo CDs from the 2008 CMJ Music Marathon

Before I had a chance to present the 2009 goodies to her, she actually reached for a bucket full of the 2008 promo CDs stashed in our attic. She then spread them all out on the floor and explained her process, saying, "I'm counting them out to see which ones I like." Her eyes gravitated to the "Spring Awakening" sampler and she said, "I want this one." Since she's a huge fan of musicals, I wasn't surprised that this CD (which I picked up after seeing a CMJ panel about the musical last year) caught her eye.

We started to play the CD and I was surprised to hear an audible "F" word within the first few seconds. Miss B didn't notice and I hoped it was fleeting. I skipped to track 2 after hearing more swearing. This did not please DJ B at all. She got extremely huffy and turned it off. She stomped off, saying, "I turned it off. No more! I want that music! Bad news! Bummer! I don't like your words. I'm leaving. I'm going to my grandma and grandpa's house."

Later on I explained to her that the lyrics had bad words and it was for adults, not kids. Her response to me was, "I'm not gonna say bad words. I'm just going to dance to the mean music."

She's quite the negotiator.

But, unfortunately she's going to have to wait a few years before listening to this CD as I don't want to get busted for teaching my 3-year-old the F-word.

Perhaps next time I'll pay more attention to "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" labels on my CDs.

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Playing with Rocks More Fun than Listening to R.E.M.

It's always exciting when Miss B selects a CD from the public library from a band that we actually like; so I was very interested to see what she thought of the R.E.M. release "Accelerate." On a day when she wasn't particularly keen on listening to music, I popped this in the player to see what kind of reaction it would get.

Initially DJ B said, "Can I dance with you mom?," although it was clear that she wasn't paying attention to the music. Instead she played with some play-doh that was stuck inside a plastic bottle and asked me to feel it. She then turned her attention to her Cinderella shoes and by the third track (my favorite so far) she announced, "I'm Cinderella." I asked her what she thought of the music and she replied, "not great."

DJ B's Rock Arrangement

Miss B then left the room and returned with some fuzzy pink socks. She tried to get me to guess what was in the socks before spilling a bunch of rocks out of them onto the table. She asked me to feel the rocks and said, "see, that's a princess rock" before asking, "Which rock do you like better?" Miss B then arranged the rocks on a table and as the 6th track began she actually pulled herself away from her rock project to dance for a little bit. Abruptly she stopped the CD and put it away in its case, saying, "I didn't like the music!"

For DJ B today, rocks definitely trump rock.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Dearly Departed Teen Girl Group Huckapoo Speaks to DJ B

Last night I finished a big CD reorganization project and massive cleanup in our attic. Ever since, DJ B has been fascinated by the spacious music loft and has been interested in pulling CDs from our collection. The first one that she noticed was a promotional CD that I'd picked up at a youth culture conference in 2004. Huckapoo is (or perhaps was) a Spice Girls-esque teen girl band and the CD was a magnet for DJ B with its bright pink anime-style cover.

As the music started, DJ B smiled, saying, "you have to dance with me." She added, "I like it. It's good ballet music," as she shook her hips and pranced around on her new dance floor. She twirled and delighted in sliding across the floor, telling me, "it's slippery, so I can skate." She closed her eyes as she swayed to the music, danced on her tip toes and told me, "you're the purple ballerina and I'm the pink ballerina." She then announced, "I have to spell my name Stagia, so I can be on the stage." She lifted a shoulder in a half-shrug and then dramatically grabbed some plastic keys from our donation pile and began to dance with them. She stomped her foot, scrutinized the inserts in the CD case, and resumed her dancing. When the CD ended she said, "I want to hear this one again."

So, with her embrace of Huckapoo my worst fears are being realized. Some day soon my little girl may be one of those pre-teen Radio Disney-loving popsters and I will be unable to stop her. Although I'm a bit horrified that she's enamored with the saccharine pop of Huckapoo, at least I know that she still has an interest in a wide range of sounds. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this continues for a lifetime.

P.S. If this isn't creepy enough, take a look at this New York Times article from 2004 and this New York Magazine piece from 2005, which talk about the creation of the now defunct pre-fab band Huckapoo.