Meanings of songs

Listening to songs can often magically transport you back to a different time in your life. Whether it is the lyrics of a particular song and how it resonates in your mind or just the song itself reflecting a certain time in your life, it’s a powerful thing.

For instance, when I hear fifties music, I think of car rides with my Dad since he would often listen to that music as we were driving. When I listen to eighties music, it reminds me of high school.

When my kids were a little younger, we went through the “children’s music” phase – primarily Raffi and The Wiggles. I embraced it because I saw how much the boys enjoyed it and I knew it was for a limited time. (I probably shouldn’t admit it, but I actually enjoyed The Wiggles – we even took the boys to see them in concert more than once, including the Farewell tour with Greg right before Jeff and Murray retired and to see Greg back in the group kinda felt like a Beatles reunion, kiddie-style).

Anyway, since then, we’ve introduced the kids to music that we enjoyed pre-kids (starting with The Beatles, of course). But since I’ve been listening to “Venus in Overdrive” and “Songs for the End of the World” in the car these past few months, it’s become a whole different level of sharing.

It’s been a really cool experience. I’ve always really enjoyed Rick Springfield’s lyrics and it’s fun to see how they respond to them, too. We discuss what the songs mean (sometimes with me relating details RS shared in interviews and sometimes about what I think it means). It’s also been somewhat educational.

History: When “3 Warning Shots” came on during a carpool ride after school the other day, my 8-year-old turned to his 9-year-old fellow passenger and said, “This song is about the man who shot John Lennon.”

Vocabulary: My 6-year-old: “Mommy, what does oblivious mean?”

Spelling: D-E-P-R-A-V-I-T-Y

Science: After this line from “One Passenger” –  “Why you’d change a worm into a butterfly”  – my 4-year-old said, “Actually, worms don’t turn into butterflies, caterpillars turn into butterflies.”

We’ve also discussed the songs about Sahara and they know she was a young girl who was friends with RS and how sad he was when she died. They wanted to know how she met him and whether they would get to be friends with RS, too.

Sometimes I play the “My Precious Little One” CD in the evenings when I’m trying to get them to settle down before bed (my 6-year-old recently asked why RS doesn’t scream in any of those songs) and they especially like “Don’t Keep the Sandman Waiting.”

I often hear them singing RS songs around the house (sometimes with completely different lyrics). They also like to point out when RS has said a bad word, which hopefully the carpool kids don’t repeat, and if I turn down the volume to discuss anything, they remind me to “turn it back up.”

I can appreciate that.

Another generation of fans

Since I have “rediscovered” Rick Springfield, I’ve been listening a lot to “Venus in Overdrive” and “Songs for the End of the World.”  For the past few weeks, it’s either one or the other that is in the CD player in my car so my kids have been listening to them often as well.

I have three sons, ages 4, 6 and 8 and they have all quickly become familiar with Rick Springfield. When I first started playing “Songs for the End of World,” my 8-year-old asked who was singing and I showed him the cover. “Does he look familiar?” I asked him. “Yes,” he replied. “From ‘Late, Late at Night,’ ” which he had seen around the house.

His favorite songs are “A Sign of Life”- because it’s about aliens – and “Our Ship’s Sinking”  – he likes singing the “woah woah woah wo.”

My 6-year-old says he likes all the songs and often instructs me to “turn up the volume” as we’re driving, after I turn it down to ask them questions about their day. The other day he informed me that “In song number nine, Rick Springfield says a bad word.” Fortunately he doesn’t quite understand the meaning of the songs – he was just walking around the house singing, “Six kids keep me buried alive – yah, yah…” (Venus in Overdrive) I didn’t correct him. One of his favorite songs is “Don’t Keep the Sandman Waiting.”

My 4-year-old has been heard singing, “Victoria’s seeeecret” and “Awaaay, awaaaay” (from “One Way Street”) around the house. He’s also picked up a few new vocabulary words (such as the one in song number 9 mentioned above) so I skip over some songs when they’re in the car. (When he first used that word, I asked him where he heard it – he replied, “from Rick Springfield.”) I always skip “I Hate Myself,” because I don’t want them walking around singing that.

One funny coincidence: last weekend I was home alone doing some work and was listening to a podcast of a RS interview from June on the computer that somebody had posted on a RS fan Facebook page. It was a fun interview during which RS and the interviewers were joking about the number of records RS has sold and at one point joked that they could say there were trillions of them.

A couple of hours later, I was in the car with my oldest son and out of nowhere he asked me, “Does Rick Springfield have billions of songs?” (He hadn’t heard the interview.) The timing was just weird because the interview was still in my mind.