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The Beat Goes On

I’ve always been a lover of music and the concept that music is timeless.

For example, the Red Hot Chili Peppers released their debut album the year I was born. Seven years later the band released “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” which, at 7 years old, I should definitely have been too young to appreciate, but now – 33 years later – not only do I know most of the words on the album, but so do people a generation younger than me.

Just the other day I heard “Under the Bridge Downtown” on the radio.

For some reason, until late, I kind of assumed that music playing in the car or at home is just background noise for Mikey. Obviously he knows nursery rhyme songs and music from certain movies, but I guess I just thought he wasn’t really listening.

However, Mikey suddenly now knows the words to many popular songs on the radio and I can only assume it’s because the kids listen to the radio on the bus. I will often hear him humming a tune or mumbling some words that sound familiar, and when I hone in on it, I can identify it as Taylor Swift, Coldplay or Justin Bieber.

The reason I blame the bus ride is that these artists aren’t exactly on my Spotify playlist. Don’t get me wrong, Selena Gomez seems like a wonderful young lady, but it’s not like we’re playing her music at home.

But at least those artists are ones he probably hears every morning and afternoon on his bus ride.

However, last week he started singing R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.” According to Google, that song was released in 1996 – a full 22 years before Mikey was even born. I asked my 5-year-old, “Where did you hear that song?”

“Gio sings it.”

“Who’s Gio?” (I’m assuming it’s short for Giovanni?)

“He rides my bus,” my child informs me.

Huh. Is it really possible that my child is learning the lyrics to songs that came out before the “new millennium” from other kids whose parents may be listening to or singing those songs? For some reason, I find this absolutely fascinating.

But something truly crazy happened at a recent Halloween dance party. The DJ was playing all the current popular songs which, again, Mikey and all the kids knew the lyrics and rhythms to, and were getting down to those beats. They were “flossing,” lasso-ing and break dancing. It was adorable.

Then the DJ announced that he was going to play a song “for all the parents out there,” and we heard the unmistakable start to Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It,” and all us middle-agers started gyrating and raising the roof until we were out of breath and our joints hurt.

And I looked over at my son and he was SINGING THE WORDS! How? When?

When on earth could my 5-year-old have heard that song? First, it’s pretty inappropriate. Second, it’s old. Third, it’s not even really a classic, in the way that Billy Joel or Jon Bon Jovi are classics. It’s a song my friends and I used to jive to at the roller rink. You know… those places that don’t even exist anymore!

I can’t deny that I was a little proud to be tearing up the dance floor to the sound of 90s music with my little guy, but my mind was definitely blown.

However, when the YMCA started, my little guy just looked at me, perplexed, as I threw my hands up in the air. Clearly, we still have work to do.

Holly Crocco is editor of the Putnam County Times/Press and mother of a 5-year-old. She can be reached at


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