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 all 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 that are appropriate but still enjoyable for adults.
1. “Give A Little” — Maggie Rogers
When it comes to this particular genre — kid-safe pop you’ll genuinely enjoy — Maggie Rogers is kind of a godsend. While a few songs contain *adult* language, this young Maryland star usually keeps it clean.
2. “Happier” — Marshmello ft. Bastille
While this song sounds intense (we don’t recommend full volume for the chorus), the lyrics are totally harmless — and the hook is alarmingly catchy. Bottom line: your kid could be repeating way worse than “I want you to be happier.”
3. “I’ll Be There” — Jess Glynne
While there’s a slight alcohol mention early in this song, it’s general enough to be inoffensive, and it helps that there’s a nice message behind the lyrics. But consider yourself warned: You (and your kiddos) will be humming this for hours after you hear it.
Next: “What About Us” — Pink