SOMETIMES, after a long day of parenting—also known as luring small people into socks that have “weird seams” and picking warm raisins out of shag carpeting and changing diapers that would make a raccoon commit suicide and finally agreeing to disagree on how Gummi bears are born—sometimes, after all that, I like to unwind in the kitchen with a little Pandora radio and a cocktail.
Now, let me clarify, lest you think I’m talking about Joni Mitchell and a diminutive glass of sherry. By “Pandora radio” I mean the “Tupac channel” and by “cocktail” I mean “what pioneers used to drink before anesthesia was invented” and by “unwind” I mean “writhing on the floor with a spatula guitar.”
It’s not every evening that demands this sort of release; some nights can easily be brought to a dignified close with a cup of Earl Grey and the musical stylings of Roberta Flack. But sometimes modern parenting—with all its trappings of good intentions and organic beets—must be rewarded by getting the Led out. Every once in a while (and I’m talking AT LEAST twice a week), you just have to put the children to bed at 6:45 and go blast the Butthole Surfers. Because just listening to a band with the word “butthole” in it will make you feel like you’ve won at least one battle, if not the war. (Do I make myself clear, kids? Don’t let me catch you out of your bed ONE MORE TIME or I may have to also listen to the Sex Pistols and the Barenaked Ladies and Hole and the New Pornographers and Herbie HANCOCK.)
Anyway, if you ever have one of those days that involves too many puppet shows about bunnies who can’t find their ice cream bicycles, here are three excellent songs for parental uprising:
I’m pretty sure when most rappers sit around in the studio making music, they think: I want to write a song that speaks to both the gangsta who’s running from the cops AND the suburban mother who can’t find her corkscrew. How can I compose an inner city ballad that shows the similarities between racial profiling and Babies”R”Us once again being sold out of that certain type of sippy cup?
Yeah. I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re doing. In the same way I’m pretty sure Anne Murray’s “Snowbird” is about the Mexican cocaine trade.
So, while I can’t quite justify claiming Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” and Snoop Dogg’s “Vato” as my therapeutic theme songs, I sure as all heck am claiming “Ain’t No Fun.” Why? Because it is a song that you can never, NOT EVER EVER EVER IN ALL OF ETERNITY, listen to with your children around. I don’t care if your child is 65 years old and you are 97 years old and you both no longer have eardrums or morals or brain waves. This song is the reason the Bible was written. This song would make Tipper Gore’s face melt. This song, when played loudly enough, causes bunnies and kittens to explode into powder.
In short, this song is parental rebellion GOLD. On last count, it contained more than 55 words that you cannot say in 46 states. I like to listen to it while drinking a 24-ounce can of Natural Ice when my children are in Stage 3 Non-REM sleep, the deepest there is. Because if they hear just one line of it, they’ll have to go into the Witness Protection Program. Not to mention, I’ll have to come up with a good answer to: “Where can I get some nuts to juggle?”
Most of today’s parents came of age in the 1970s and early ’80s when this song found its way onto mix tapes with titles like “Rebel Songs” or “Anti-Establishment Tunes” or “Fuck You, Mommy And Daddy!” So, it’s nice to have things come full circle and for “Another Brick In The Wall” to now serve as a mid-life anthem.
For starters, this guttural classic opens with a nice, psychotic scream; it boasts a guitar riff that only people who understand real rock ‘n’ roll can appreciate; and it’s about being pissed off and fed up and let down. (It might also be about heroin a little bit. And WWII. And abject poverty. But don’t you forget: it’s also about a boy who isn’t going to get any pudding unless he eats his meat.) Trust me: you won’t remember how much you love this song until you’ve got it on the headphones and you’re holding a Scotch instead of a paci.
This is another one to keep away from the kids. Because it has lots of CHILDREN (British ones, no less!) singing about how pointless school is. And we don’t want anyone getting any ideas. Because, remember: if your kids don’t go to school, not only will they be uneducated and underpaid and destined for a life of mediocrity and low self-esteem, but it also means you’ll have to homeschool. Which, unbeknownst to most people, is why Roger Waters’ mother was such a bitch.
If your children aren’t already in therapy, you can put them on the fast track to psychiatric counseling by letting them witness you lip synching that one song you’re convinced was written expressly for you. For some, this song might be Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome To The Jungle” or Johnny Paycheck’s “Take This Job And Shove It.” For others, it may be Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” or Queen Latifah’s “Coochie Bang.” But suffice it to say, it’s a song that’s heavy on emotion and insubordination. It’s the song you’d pick to sing at karaoke after losing all your money at the craps table. It’s the song you’d sing while driving on the Autobahn. It’s the one that, had you been allowed to audition for Star Search back in 1984, might have actually gotten you to the second round.
For me, this song is Heart’s “Crazy On You.” It’s a little ditty that only the Wilson ladies can properly belt out, but that’s never stopped me from grabbing a wooden spoon, jumping on the kitchen counter, and kicking over a pot of goddamned vegetarian chili.
Become wild musicians, dear parents. Even if it’s only for four minutes a week, indulge your inner Eddie Vedders and Alanis Morissettes. Because one night, you just might throw a box of dried penne against the fridge, or kick an orthopedic sneaker through some drywall in the middle of a Foreigner cover, and the next morning, when your kids come down for breakfast and point at the mess and ask “What happened?” You can say, “I don’t know. Maybe your daddy’s a ROCK STAR!”
Listen to The Official Weeklings Power Trio Playlist on Spotify.