We’ve all been in a car when the solo on the radio turns into a duet. The listening experience turns into a singalong.
Not so long ago, a passenger’s voice belting out the tune led to an inevitable conversation.
“Who sings this?” I’d ask.
The passenger would respond with the correct answer.
“Good. Let them,” I’d answer.
Singing along with the radio just never made sense to me. You pick your favorite groups because you like the songs they sing and how they perform them. It baffles me why you’d sing overtop them.
There are only a few songs that induce me to sing along.
“Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett is made for singing along, as my college friends proved many late nights, improvising the lyrics on who’s fault something really was.
“The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band is just too catchy and fun. Who doesn’t like the line, “Some people call me Maurice”?
Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” reflects a melancholy from a certain time of my life: “I don’t want the world to see me ’cause I don’t think they’d understand.” (It’s also one of the very few songs I’ve ever tried to karaoke. Sorry to the five people there at the time.)
Then there’s Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” about the good and the bad in our lives. “It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.”
As is the case with most things, my children have softened me.
It started the first time I heard our middle daughter, 4 years old at the time, belting out the lyrics to the Laurie Berkner Band’s “I’m Not Perfect:” “I’m not perfect, and I hope you like me that way.”
Her slightly off-tune rendition showed an acknowledgement we all should have about our limitations.
Recently our 11-year-old discovered she could play songs from her iPod through the radio in the car. That led to a whole lot of teen sensations One Direction in the car and even more, “You don’t know, oh oh, you don’t know you’re beautiful.”
The silly, trite song takes on a new meaning when you hear a self-conscious girl singing it.
Similarly, our 4-year-old loves to sing along to Katy Perry’s “Firework,” lighting up our faces with this line: “’Cause baby, you’re a firework. Come on, show ‘em what you’re worth.”
I don’t necessarily like the originals on any of these songs. The version belted out from the backseat in the car, though, is good enough to make me want to sing along.
They have more in their repertoire than these, but they seem to be their favorites. Because of that, they’re becoming some of my favorites, even if I don’t like the originals.
Who sings those songs?
My kids do.
Good. Let them.