One of my earliest memories consists of riding around in my mom's old white Volvo screaming the lyrics to Bobby Brown's "Don't Be Cruel." My brothers and I knew every word and bopped around in the backseat having the time of our lives. The beat was funky and we just felt so... cool.
It seems like in the '80s and '90s, it was a whole lot easier to let your kids listen to the radio. Sure, there were some songs back then that were about sex and drugs, but most of them weren't making it onto pop stations. We may not be able to say the same for Brown's personal life, but even the lyrics to his songs back then were pretty clean. And, hey, we were listening to him back in the dark ages before the internet, so we were blissfully unaware of what went on behind the scenes.
Fast-forward to today, and when you turn the radio on with kids in the car, it's a total cringefest. If you've ever heard a child under the age of 8 sweetly sing all of the lyrics to Tove Lo's "Habits (Stay High)," then you know what I'm talking about.
But then again, blasting Raffi on a road trip doesn't exactly sound like fun — and listening to the Frozen soundtrack even one more time might lead to a parental meltdown of epic proportions at this point. There has to be a happy medium between raunchy sex- and violence-filled lyrics and annoying kids tunes, right?
Thankfully, there are some kid-friendly pop songs out there that are enjoyable for adults.
Who doesn't love Ed Sheeran? This song is all about saving the world with music and love. Positive vibes and so catchy too.
I mean, "clean" is in the name of the band, so this song has to be a winner, right? This ditty has clean lyrics and is total dance-party material.
The lyrics are obviously open to interpretation, but it seems to us like "Something Just Like This" is celebrating the superheroes that walk among us and the fact that there is something fantastic about being "normal." Kids will love singing about superheroes and grown-ups love the positive message. Both will love the fun, futuristic beat. We'll just cross our fingers that no one under the age of 17 asks what a chain-smoker is.
Next Up: "Malibu" — Miley Cyrus
Originally published October 2012. Updated June 2017.
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