My 5 year old child and I listen to Ke$ha together.
I know, just bear me out.
I like to talk with KidMakes about metaphors (BabyMakes, no more). I’m not sure she understands yet, but she will. We talk about how the songwriter is using images to simulate their experience, or describe it a imaginative way. “What does she mean, she’s not coming back?” Well, Kiddo, she’s gonna be out all night. “Mama, what’s junk?” Well, darlin, it’s a euphamism for vagina. Has anyone ever tried to touch your vagina? She laughs and says, “NO!” Phew… Ke$ha can open the door for many important conversations. I’m glad she’s asking me these things and not her friends or older cousins.
We also enjoy Pink’s Funhouse, which KidMakes calls the ‘witch song’, because of the deep and scratchy quality of Pink’s amazing voice in that song. “Mama, what are evil clowns?” Well, sweetie, that’s a metaphor. They once had fun, but now it’s over and scary and she’s gonna throw it all away.
Is Pink really going to burn her house down? Is Ke$ha really going to brush her teeth with Jack Daniels whiskey? Did Eminem truly murder his babymama? As with other genres, these artists are telling stories that do not reflect their real lives. But my impressionable 5 year old does not yet have the tools to understand what she’s being led to believe.
Is Ke$ha an empowering role model for young girls and women today, rather not. But she makes a damn catchy learning tool, something we can bop to in the car and then have a conversation about. A one-sided conversation right now, but I know she’s listening. And brilliant.