The 1985 Yoda Song started it. If you have kids who love Star Wars, be sure to introduce them to Weird Al Yankovic’s song all set to the “Lola” song. (Which is, unfortunately, catchy.) The kids played it over and over. And then they asked for more music like it. So. I’ve taken it one step further and started using music to send subliminal messages.
Exhibit A: Weird Al’s wildly popular “Eat It” song. I suggest you put this on the CD you make them but make sure to react to it as if it was a mistake. You do not want them to think you like this song, nor that you quote it at every meal you serve them.
If the lyrics sound familiar to them, do not acknowledge the echo of your voice in it. Instead, try to skip the song on the CD. Or, better yet, leave the room just before it plays. The children will fall under its Michael Jackson spell by the time you return to the room and try to “fix” things and move on to the next song. They will fight for this song. Give in, but only after a lot of protesting and moments before serving asparagus.
Exhibit B: “The Best Day Ever” song from SpongeBob. Who can start the day on a bad note with this yellow guy running the show? Follow this song close on the heels of “Eat It.” Not only will they feel compelled to eat their vegetables despite every instinct, they will feel they should do so with a smile. This song is also handy to play before the children start their daily Lego negotiations.
Exhibit C: “Gary’s Song.” This is from SpongeBob as well. It’s a song about how Gary (SpongeBob’s meowing snail) feels neglected, taken for granted and runs away from home. I sometimes like to substitute “Kandy” for Gary in this song after a particularly rough Lego standoff. The kids don’t seem to understand the melancholy in this song, but I do.
Actually, this song, the more I think about it, is really for me. I like to play this because it’s the closest thing to an apology for their behavior that I might ever get. I hope they listen to it, wonder where their cat is for a split second, and ask me. At which point, I will meow.
Exhibit D: Back to the Yoda song. It’s a 4-minute song that they have, despite forgetting what I said a moment ago, memorized word for word. It’s cute listening to them in the next room, helping each other find the words, the beat. And so, while I am no Star Wars fan, the song has brought me into the fold. I’m not sure what subliminal message this sends but I credit it for turning them on to music in a way, apparently, that Alan Jackson never could.
And so, when I pulled out Grandpa Nelson’s guitar the other day, I found myself with the makings of a Boy Band. Within moments, they had dug out their microphone, pulled on their radical new back-to-school hats and sweatshirts and pulled up a couple chairs in their studio (the cleanest corner of my bedroom).
I was shocked. My 6- and 8-year-old looked, well, edgy. Teenagerish, tough, trendy. Wow, I thought to myself, they love music! Won’t their music teachers love this new development! A new hobby for them, even if their Grandpa Barry would keel over at the “look” they’d put together.
Then. The song began. And I realized that I wasn’t going to get a Kidz Bop rendition of “Dynamite” or “Party in the USA.” No, it was going to be all about Yoda, with various lyric modifications and wardrobe malfunctions. And so it was that the Boy Band brought it full-circle, bringing Yoda back centerstage, the heart of their music.