A Better Brand of Bubblegum
April 10, 2012 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Fun but not vacuous, positive, current pop for my Katie Perry, Nicki Minaj obsessed 9 and 10 year old daughters. Help me guide their musical tastes toward the eclectic and sophisticated, while still being young, poppy, and fun.

Back in the early aughts, I enticed my eldest daughter to trade me her Brittney Spears CD for the Josey and the Pussycats Soundtrack because Kay Hanley was a way cooler musical role model. After that I made her mixes of 8-year-old appropriate pop and rock music to guide her musical tastes toward the eclectic and sophisticated, while still being young, poppy, and fun.

But that was 2002, this is 2012 and I have a coupla other daughters coming up. I'm out of touch with this stuff now. Help me show them the wider world of pop music beyond the top 40 and the Disney Channel. But it's got to be as close to dancey pop as possible or they won't listen to it. Also no sex, drugs, cursing, violence, drinking, etc. (no singing about "bottles of Jack") or mom won't let them listen to it.

So what's left?
posted by cross_impact to Media & Arts (41 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ellie Goulding, Tegan and Sara, Sia, and Robyn might be something that you and your daughters can enjoy together.

If you are looking for specific song recommendations then send me a memail. I linked you to their wiki pages so that you can see their discography lists because they have a lot of great songs on various records.
posted by livinglearning at 2:01 PM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Marina and the Diamonds are right up the right style alley, though you'd maybe want to give them singles as some of the songs reference sex and drink.
posted by pickingupsticks at 2:02 PM on April 10, 2012


Annie crafts fantastic electronic pop music that has real substance and killer hooks.
posted by theartandsound at 2:03 PM on April 10, 2012


The Shins
Walk the Moon
Madi Diaz
The Orange Peels
Wondermints
M83

Another vote for Tegan and Sara, and a warning that you'll have to be very careful with Robyn when it comes to lyrical content.
posted by jbickers at 2:11 PM on April 10, 2012


The GoGos!
Cindy Lauper!
Early Madonna!
Blondie!
posted by thinkpiece at 2:28 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


My 8, 6, and 4 year old boys really like the Black Keys. It's not pop music, thankfully, but check it out and see if it sounds like something they'd be into.
posted by jhs at 2:34 PM on April 10, 2012


Kylie Minogue!
posted by schmod at 2:39 PM on April 10, 2012


Karmin! Great female vocal with an emphasis on being family-friendly. Their original songs are super kid-appropriate. They also do covers of a bunch of mainstream rap songs that are a lot of fun and are non-explicit (the paramour in Karmin's version of "SuperBass" drinks a lot of Coke), but I think the idea of the drugs and sex still gets across pretty clearly, so maybe wait on the covers.

Kerrie Roberts is a Christian singer, which might not be what you are looking for, but I ADORE her song "Outcast" as a girl anthem. It is not explicitly religious and focuses on staying true to yourself in the face of peer pressure. I think I would have loved it as a 10 year old. Her other stuff is more praise music-y, but "Outcast" is pretty contemporary sounding.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:47 PM on April 10, 2012


Pink

But my vote would be:
The GoGos!
Cindy Lauper!
Early Madonna!
Blondie!

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:54 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


No Doubt and Gwen Stefani.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:55 PM on April 10, 2012


Santigold
posted by cyphill at 2:59 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rihanna is pretty high quality pop music. Her subject matter is darkish (though not much more so than Nicki Minaj, I guess), but she has plenty of excellent tracks with softer themes. Try "Umbrella," "Pon de Replay," and "We Found Love." (Skip "Rude Boy" and "Love the Way You Lie.")
posted by milk white peacock at 3:06 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


La Roux, perhaps?
posted by vetala at 3:11 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think Best Coast (specifically Crazy for You) might work; maybe SBTRKT Pharoahs? If they might dig some Giorgio Moroderish-sounding electropop, perhaps Keren Ann My Name is Trouble, though that's not as danceable as Pharoahs ... I think KING Supernatural is pretty good too. (I'm just mentioning individual tracks, unfortunately, because this is all stuff I only know about because it's been in heavy rotation on KCRW's Eclectic24 -- they tend to play a lot of pop-sounding stuff that hasn't broken through yet. I heard Foster the People on there months before they hit commercial radio, for example.)
posted by orthicon halo at 3:14 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kelly Clarkson?
Some of the Christina Perri songs
Kate Miller-Heidke
Some of the Kimbra songs
Little Birdy
Sara Bareilles
Taylor Swift?
posted by latch24 at 3:17 PM on April 10, 2012


Uh Huh Her
Goldfrapp
Jem
Imogen Heap
Regina Spektor
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
MGMT
The Bangles
Joan Jett

Rihanna would be a great suggestion except you said it can't have sex, violence, etc. You'd need to choose the songs very carefully; for instance, "Umbrella" has blatantly sexual lyrics.
posted by John Cohen at 3:19 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kelly Clarkson is my current pop-Top 40 fave that fits all of your criteria. I'd also recommend Natasha Bedingfield (top 40... her big hit is "Unwritten" - very empowering lyrics).

(I'll probably think of more in a moment...)
posted by NikitaNikita at 3:25 PM on April 10, 2012


2nd-ing that Rihanna might not meet your criteria, considering that she has a Top 40 radio single called "S&M"...
posted by NikitaNikita at 3:26 PM on April 10, 2012




Seconding the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and adding another indie dance pop group.

You Say Party

posted by spunweb at 3:29 PM on April 10, 2012


Janelle MonĂ¡e is better than approximately everything, so there's that.
posted by blue t-shirt at 3:34 PM on April 10, 2012 [20 favorites]


Kimbra!
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 3:38 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Er, Regina Spektor's radio stuff is pretty kid friendly, but the deeper cuts on the albums are very not. Don't get me wrong, I love her stuff, but the happy quirky pop sometimes is "Love You're a Whore" or "Ode to Divorce." Which still sound all happy and quirky and poppy, but... Maybe go for I-tunes single song purchases versus buying the whole album. She's got a ton of stuff on You-tube so you should be able to preview it that way.

Feist would be another good one for that approach.
posted by Gygesringtone at 3:55 PM on April 10, 2012


Robyn is great, she toured with Katy Perry and makes just really excellent dance-pop; some of her lyrics are definitely too adult though, definitely a song-by-song basis.

I really like Janelle Monae as well. Estelle has a new album out that's meant to be good and includes a really awesome duet with her.

The Gossip maybe? Really danceable but slightly edgier than a lot of top 40 stuff. Lots of defiant but unspecific lyrics so probably fine content-wise.
posted by SoftRain at 4:08 PM on April 10, 2012


I can't remember if she's top 40 by now, but this is essentially why Carly Rae Jepsen exists.
posted by dekathelon at 4:18 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's always K Pop

Girls Generation.
Hyuna

there's a bunch of fun stuff out there...
posted by empath at 4:30 PM on April 10, 2012


I guess the "come in to me" line from "Umbrella" has a wink wink, nudge nudge suggestiveness, but in context she clearly means "come inside because it's raining," calling it blatantly sexual is kind of a stretch. But yeah, tread cautiously with her stuff for sure.

What about Beyonce? Her music is excellent and she keeps it pretty tasteful. As I recall her first album is tame as heck, excepting maybe "Naughty Girl" (she says "you want my body" and remarks that she feels "sexy" and "nasty").
posted by milk white peacock at 4:34 PM on April 10, 2012


Triangular Daisies by Rubblebucket is fun.
posted by belau at 4:42 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, Kelis MOST RECENT CD has no violence in it, and is basically an electropop dancey reflection on motherhood and life changes. I adore it, and it's very danceable.
posted by spunweb at 4:45 PM on April 10, 2012


Shakira, maybe?
posted by kettleoffish at 4:46 PM on April 10, 2012


How could I forget to recommend Selena?
posted by spunweb at 4:50 PM on April 10, 2012


What do *you* like to listen to? Why would a child want to listen to music their parents just gives them? If it's so great, why aren't their parents listening to it?

Play the music *you* think is sophisticated (which is, by the way, completely subjective) for yourself and often - they will pick up what you want them to. :-)
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 5:01 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Er, Regina Spektor's radio stuff is pretty kid friendly, but the deeper cuts on the albums are very not.

My understanding is that the OP isn't going to suddenly give the kids 10 or 20 whole albums to listen to (which I don't recommend), but just wants to make them a mix CD. That's why I linked to one of Regina Spektor's most poppy, energetic songs.

I guess the "come in to me" line from "Umbrella" has a wink wink, nudge nudge suggestiveness, but in context she clearly means "come inside because it's raining," calling it blatantly sexual is kind of a stretch.

The preposition following "come" is not "with" or "inside." She says "come into me." The line is sung very clearly and repeated several times. I don't think that's very subtle.
posted by John Cohen at 5:03 PM on April 10, 2012


They might like Roisin Murphy, or at least her crazy videos.

("You turn me on" is as racy as the linked songs get.)
posted by snorkmaiden at 5:51 PM on April 10, 2012


When it comes to bubblegum, Jpop might work well, especially because most of the lyrics aren't comprehensible to non-Japanese speakers, and what isn't Japanese is generally supercute and inoffensive. The Brilliant Green, Tommy heavenly6, and Tommy february6 are all good in that genre.
posted by limeonaire at 6:02 PM on April 10, 2012


Beatles are always current ... particularly with 9-10 year olds
posted by philip-random at 6:43 PM on April 10, 2012


Lipgloss by Lil' Mama; not sure about the appropiateness of the rest of her album, but that song is awesome!

All Girl Summer Fun Band!

Violet Vector & the Lovely Lovelies!


Definitely agree with the suggestions of Janelle Monae & Santigold. Now I want to go have a dance party!
posted by Fui Non Sum at 7:54 PM on April 10, 2012


A lot of good suggestions already, but here are some possibilities:

The Go-Gos (loved them at that age)
Natasha Bedingfield
Jewel
posted by R a c h e l at 9:21 PM on April 10, 2012


Band: Friendly Fires, Album: Pala
posted by 4midori at 10:12 PM on April 10, 2012


For super-extremely danceable J-pop, Perfume takes the cake.
posted by that girl at 1:49 AM on April 11, 2012


Swedish indie is always fun and upbeat while occasionally sounding glossily pop - Alphabeat springs to mind, Fascination is super-dancy and was a massive hit here. Those Dancing Days by Those Dancing Days is in a similar vein.

I also would recommend All-Girl Summer Fun Band and Antartica Takes It!. At their age I used to really like Madness, who have a lot of fun, upbeat songs; not sure whether it will sound dated to kids from the now. The Flaming Lips are wonderfully poppy - I can't think of anything on The Soft Bulletin which might be an issue for them. And, of course, there's They Might Be Giants.

Take care with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs - 'Bang' was playlisted on Radio 1 here for weeks until another DJ pointed out the repeated line was 'as a fuck, son you suck.' (Until then I thought it was something like 'and the birds on your shirt'.)

(Also: at their age I liked the Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Suede and the Happy Mondays - and Manic Street Preachers' La Tristesse Durera, oddly, a song about a war veteran and suicide - the drug and gay sex references went over my head. So if something escapes your/their mom's attention, don't worry too much.)
posted by mippy at 7:42 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


« Older Batteries for my phone   |   Help me rebuild my credit. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.