Musical Differences

On the way into school this morning, I let my oldest son control the radio. He landed on a collaboration between Eminem and Nate Ruess. By way of context, Nate is the lead singer of Fun, my son’s favorite band, and Eminem is an angry white rapper.

A lot of songs these days have a rap element. The music fades to the background, the rapper does his thing, then the music surges again. It’s an effective combination, and my son loves it. I like it too… sometimes. I’m handicapped by an urge to understand lyrics, and that often destroys the song for me.

This particular song features Eminem rapping an angry apology to his mom, while at the same time talking about how hard his life has been.

I couldn’t help myself. I turned off the radio.


“It’s an angry rich guy shouting about how tough his life is. I don’t need to hear that.”

He turned the radio on again.

“But, Ma, I forgive you, so does Nathan, yo
All you did, all you said, you did your best to raise us both”

Apparently, the lead singer of Fun also forgives Eminem’s mom.

“See?” my son said. “He’s apologizing to his mom.”

I turned it off again. There’s something about angry people shouting into a microphone that I just don’t like. “And that matters to me because?”

“Um. . .”

“You’d think he could afford a phone. Then we wouldn’t have to hear him yelling how sorry he is at his mom.”

He reached for the radio, but I blocked him. “How about the iPod? You can pick whatever you’d like.”

“Fine.” He pulled out the iPod, scrolled through it for a minute, then plugged it into the car stereo.

“Oh momma I’m in fear for my life from the long arm of the law
Lawman has put an end to my running and I’m so far from my home
Oh momma I can hear you a’crying you’re so scared and all alone
Hangman is comin’ down from the gallows and I don’t have very long.”

“Much better,” I said. I gotta hand it to the kid, though. He’s certainly developing a flare for irony.

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