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Dear Demi Lovato, Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor: WTF?

Musings from a Fangirl Mom about the Musical Influencers of Today

I’ll admit it: I have the musical tastes of a 14-year-old girl.

But I blame my kids — the 15-year-old, 13-year-old and 2-year-old.

Which means, all told, their ages averaged = 10. So really, judging by that number, my tastes are WAY mature.

I had such promising beginnings, too. My first concert was Tom Petty, who, at the time, I thought was super sexy.

I was 18. Clearly with oddly scary, questionable taste.

But in my defense: I also slept in the alley behind the Scolari’s Warehouse Market on Lakeside waiting in line for Garth Brooks tickets in the early ‘90s.

Then I saw Billy Joel and Elton John in concert in San Francisco in the mid-90s.

(And I probably shouldn’t mention that I saw Michael Bolton in concert. But I totally did. A few times.)

Anyhow, having children changed me. At first, that change was veiled in nobility: I’ll never forget innocently purchasing my first Wiggles video for my toddler son, dreaming about the value of music and color and rhyming words and musically inspired, artistic stimulation.

The not-so-noble result: I had a sex dream about Greg Wiggle (which still haunts me — some things can’t be unseen, even in dreams).

Also, I still remember to this day running errands one afternoon, getting home and only THEN realizing I had been listening to the entirety of the “Yummy Yummy” album.


No kids in the car.

So perhaps it’s understandable that I actively choose to reflect the musical interests of my children now that they are at an age where they listen to “real” music.

I mean, after all, at least it’s not the Wiggles. Hence, “real music.” So there’s that. And please forget about the fact that I have a 2-year-old, because it turns out, she’d rather listen to “The Promise” by When in Rome or “Blame it on the Rain” by Milli Vanilli.

Because she’s a child of the ‘80s born in the ‘10s.

But my older kids are definitely in a different stage, and their tastes are more mainstream. Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, Charlie Puth and Maroon 5 are all featured artists on their Spotify accounts. Of course they also reflect more diverse interests, but these mainstreamers are the point of my rant today.

Because I have something to say to them.

Namely: Thafuq?

You see, I’m a fangirl. But first and foremost, I’m a mom.

So let’s talk songs. The super-duper AWESOME ones. That my kids love, but I don’t.

  1. Demi Lovato/Cool for the Summer.

This one is being billed the “Song of the Summer.”

Prolly because the word “summer” is in it. Just a guess.

But it’s also chock full o’ bad ideas.

Like this one: “Don’t tell your mother/kiss one another/die for each other/we’re cool for the summer.”

I call bullshit.

Yes, please: Let’s advise our children to not tell our mothers important things. That’s a FABULOUS idea.

I have absolutely no qualms about the potentially bi-curious nature of the lyrics from the songstress, who (perhaps appropriately) began her career alongside a giant purple (thus gay-friendly, Jerry Falwell might suggest) dinosaur, then accompanied the Jonas Brothers to Camp Rock, then graduated to the optimistic sounding “Sonny with a Chance.”

But the secret part of the story? That, I reject summarily.


The Mother (…whom you said “not to tell,” but who found out anyhow. Because that’s how we roll. Every. Time.)

  1. The Weeknd/Earned It.

I have three concepts for you:

  • Sex toys;
  • Pasties;
  • Ass “X”s that pulsate individually on each cheek.

‘Nuff said.

But wait: Where did that other “e” go in the name of the group?

It’s like a conspiracy. Where’s the “E”? What happened to the “E”?

All I can say: It’s not on those asses with the “X”s.

  1. Charlie Puth feat Meghan Trainor/Marvin Gaye.

So Trainor is a perennial favorite in my house, because her sweet “All About that Bass” is so pure.


(And just FYI, we may or may not change “skinny bitches” to “skinny babies” while belting out that song in the car. You know, because: baby on board.)

And Puth? One word: ADORBS.

Actually, another word: eyebrow. As in, what happened to it?

But I digress.

So the latest entry by Puth and Trainor, Marvin Gaye, is such a fun song. Or at least it was. Until I saw this video.


I’m a mom, yes. But also, I’m a realist. I know SOME kids in high school are “getting it on,” but do we need to portray that at a high school dance, EVERY high schooler is doing the deed?

I think not, Mr. letterman-jacket-wearing, totes ADORBS Puth.

Plus, I just don’t know how much longer I can avoid an explanation of what “Kama Sutra show and tell” is.

Especially now that I’ve written this post.

Hi, kids! (*hands waving, blowing kisses, avoiding direct eye contact…)

  1. Ariana Granda feat. Izzy Azalea/Problem.

The video is relatively tame; the lyrics are relatively tame.

Except: Grammar.

“Fewer,” Ms. Donut Licker.

It should be “…one fewer problem without you.” Not “…one less problem without you.”

Like when you go to Raley’s, that sign at the checkout reads “10 Items or Fewer.”

Or at least it should.

Just sayin’.

Well there you have it: Four songs of the summer that don’t sit well with this fangirl/mom.

And I’ll tell you what: I’m longing for some innocent, pure, chaste Taylor Swift right now. Though if I hear about her red lips in one more song, I think I might have to punch her in the throat.

Which is located just below her red lips. In case you were wondering.

So how about you?

  1. What songs did your kids ADORE when they were little? And did you have sex dreams about the singers, or is this just my issue?
  2. What songs do your kids belt out at the top of their lungs that makes you question your integrity as a parent?
  3. Any idea where the third “E” in “the Weeknd” went?

Now back to our regularly scheduled Spotify playlist. Featuring Erasure and Information Society.

Because in the ‘80s, high schoolers were pure and chaste.

Just don’t ask Rick Springfield to tell you about Jessie’s Girl.


About Mikalee Byerman

Mikalee Byerman
Voted "Best Creative Writer" in 2018 by readers of the Reno News & Review, Mikalee Byerman will henceforth be talking about this distinction ad nauseam because it's the first and only popularity contest this former buck-toothed nerd has ever won in her life. She is a humor essayist whose highly controversial blog, Me 2.0, has been featured on the Huffington Post and TIME Magazine's websites. Her writing also has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, Southwest Spirit Magazine and Alaska Airlines Magazine. Her debut book — 100 Things to Do in Reno Before You Die — was published last year by Reedy Press. During the day, she is VP of Strategy for the Estipona Group. Oh, and her name rhymes with "prickly fireman," though FYI, she's neither prickly nor a fireman.


  1. Excellent writing. Funny too!

    I’m a mother of 2 girls and I worry about the messages they get from these young main

  2. Stupid phone.

    As I was writing. .
    That they get from today’s music. Too sexual. Thankfully we don’t have cable or internet so they don’t get to see those videos. Absolutely no listening to Nicki Minaj, so that means even the collaboration with Jesse J and Ariana. I don’t want them thinking their worth is their body and face.
    I love Bruno but they can’t. But hey I’m 38. They are 11 and 9. And I’m trying to raise strong, confident women.

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