It was time to take our dance party to the next level. Sure, we were having a great time dancing around to Iggy Azalea, Billie Jean and the Star Wars Mega Mix on iTunes, but it was time to shake things up. It was time to add some...wait for it... MUSIC VIDEOS to the lineup.
I conjured up old memories from the 1980s, dancing around to Wham and Paula Abdul and Whitney Houston on MTV. It would be just like that for me and my girls! I would dance around with them, and teach them cool new moves like...the snake? The Running Man? Never mind.
Whatever. So which music videos to download for my 6-year-old and 3-year-old? I was stumped. Since giving up cable five years ago, we didn't really watch music videos. I had no idea what to download.
And it seemed like such dangerous territory these days, with all the over-sexualized content and rampant eagle-dropping. I decided to do some research and preview some videos on Apple TV before downloading them for the girls. Good thing I waited until they were in bed.
Jennifer Lopez, great! I thought as I previewed her latest video. I loved the "Waiting for Tonight" video from the 90s, and the Jenny-from-the-Block tune. Good clean fun! The new video was...uh...different. As in, soft porn. What the hell? Giant asses shaking around in leotards (apparently one of them is J-Lo's ass), some serious pelvic thrusting, topped off with a smattering of girl-on-girl groping. Seriously? It's like the entire video was made for the explicit purpose of showcasing J-Lo's ass, and how great it looked rubbing up against someone else's ass. FAIL. Onto the next.
Nicki Minaj, great! I thought as I previewed her new Anaconda video. I know, I know, I should have known better by the name. It was a DISASTER. Rabid ass shaking, eagle-dropping, and...again...girl on girl grinding. And once again, big, giant asses. When did giant asses become such a THING? Thank God they weren't so popular when I was single; I would have been screwed. (Or not screwed, depending on how you look at it.)
Ok, Chandelier by Sia, I love this song...doesn't everyone want to swing from the chandelier? I was disappointed to see that the music video consisted of what appears to be a heroin addict coming down from a drug high, flailing around in a crash pad.
Where was the choreography? Where was the artistry? Where was the fun? This is all our kids get? It's not their fault they were born in the 2000s.
There have to be some cool music videos with awesome choreography that don't look like they were made at a strip club, I fumed. If I can find size 11.5 wide Stride Rites for 50% off before they sell out on Zullily, I can do this.
And I did. I'm here to tell you that there ARE some cool music videos you can download for your kids, that are--well, almost--appropriate! (Please keep in mind, due to the limited avabaility of said "appropriate" music videos, I had to draw from the last 3 decades.)
Top 12 (Almost) Appropriate Music Videos for Kids
1. Shake it Off by Taylor Swift. I know, I know, it seems like the low-hanging fruit, but seriously this video is super fun. The constant wardrobe changes will delight any girl, especially if she has ADHD. The choreography is clean (except for some rump-shaking in one of the scenes) and no one talks about eating pussy or S&M. Thank you, Taylor.
2. Remember the Time by Michael Jackson. Anytime you showcase an MJ video, it's a great time to discuss topics like death (Mommy, is Janet dead too?) drug use (what does "overdose" mean?) and geography (where exactly is Egypt?) It also helps you introduce great personalities of the 1990s like Eddie Murphy, Magic Johnson and Iman. This video pops with cool special effects, but the badass dance sequences seal the deal.
3. What Does the Fox Say by Ylvis. Whoever thought of this video is a damn genius. Electronica + nursery rhyme = amazeballs. Nothing gets the party started faster then all the random and funny dance moves. When the fox actually appears at the end and we find out what he "says?" Fucking epic.
4. Oops I did it Again, by Britney Spears. Again, this video is a great opportunity to educate and enlighten. Do alien lifeforms exist? What do they look like? Do you think it would be hot dancing in head-to-toe red spandex? What if Britney was wearing a different material that breathed more, would she be more comfortable? Is Britney still alive? No. Wait, yes, she is! Warning: your child will inevitably bounce around singing "I'm not that innocent," pissing off Dads everywhere.
5. Happy by Pharrell. What's not to love about this music video? It's just...so...happy! It has minions in it, from Despicable Me. Need I say more?
6. I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston. Big hair! Bandanas! Splatter paint! Plucky lyrics! Neon tights! Mixed media! Frosted lipstick! Within seconds of seeing this video, Marley declared Whitney the "Most Beautiful Girl in the World." Too bad she asked me if she was still alive.
7. Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars. I know, he's a little annoying, but Uptown Funk is impossible not to love. He's wearing a pink blazer. He's wearing a Cubano hat. You can't help but dance to it. Warning: When your kid starts singing the lyrics "Uptown funk you up" in school, things might get interesting.
8. Hideaway by Kiesza. Oh my gosh this is the BEST MUSIC VIDEO EVER. Trust me, just download it. The entire video is busting at the seems with rad choreography, and was shot in one take in the streets of Brooklyn. The whole thing is a throwback to the 1990s, and you'll love the bustiers, high-waisted pants and old-school moves. The singer is dancing throughout the entire video, and she's an amazing dancer. I am so obsessed with this video that I did some research on it. Turns out this chick is Canadian (shocker, all Canadians are cool) and she's a trained ballerina-turned-sniper for the Navy. She actually broke a rib practicing one of the dance sequences and SHOT THE ENTIRE VIDEO WITH A BROKEN RIB IN IMMENSE PAIN. You would never know. She couldn't move for a month after this video was shot.
9. Take on Me by A-ha. My girls LOVE watching when the comic book hero reaches out and grabs the girls hand in the diner, inviting her into the eccentric world of sidecar motorcycle racing. Its weird, it's fun...sadly, my husband hates this video and freaks out whenever it comes on.
10. Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas. Space-age special effects and gravity-defying beats make this one a favorite. The flavor is futuristic, the sound is sweet and the visuals are va-va-voom. Can you believe this video is 8 years old? What??
11. Mickey by Toni Basil. First off, this video initiates some great questions about the use of makeup, including "how much blush is too much?" It also raises some interesting questions on casting...such as why is the main cheerleader so cute and skinny and the rest are big and husky, like boys with wigs? (Marley said this, not me.) But when it comes down to it, the video is flippant and fun, and even your 3-year-old can chant the lyrics.
12. Material Girl by Madonna. Material Girl has lots of life lessons going for it. First, you get to explain what it means to live in a "material world" and what it means when Madonna sings, "Only boys who save their pennies make my rainy day." A powerful voucher for the simplicity of life, Madonna trashes the fancy necklace and goes for the dude with the small bouquet of flowers. Also, why do all the boys run after Madonna? Because she runs away from them, and doesn't give them any attention, which IS WHAT YOU SHOULD DO TOO. Marley asks who Madonna's real husband is. You have to explain that she is divorced. But you decide not to tell her that Sean Penn tied her up in a chair and beat the crap out of her in 80s. We aren't ready for THAT life lesson yet. (Notice "Luca" is not on this list.)
So that's it folks, my list of (almost) appropriate music videos for kids. Is there anything I missed? If so, please share because I'm always looking for new material to put in rotation.
So start downloading, and start dancing!