My Son’s Secret Music Preferences

Irina Pino

whamHAVANA TIMES — The other day, a friend of mine (who’s quite the oldies fan) gave me a CD with music by Wham!, a duo that was very popular in the 80s. Listening to it, I thought that, though commercial and deliberately catchy, their music was quite agreeable and harmless.

Their music videos, lively and naive, were also quite charming, particularly thanks to the appeal and voice of George Michael, a man with a mischievous look, blonde, flowing hair and suggestive dance moves.

As a child, my son shared my taste in music. The Beatles were something like a daily prayer for him. Mozart, Bach, Chopin, Vangelis, Cuba’s folk music new wave, famous romantic songs in English, movie soundtracks, even the sensual rhythms of Brazilian music – all of this was agreeable to his ears.

All of that changed, however, when he started the ninth grade. Suddenly, he stopped wanting to be part of that particular music scene. First, he stopped going to the places we used to visit together (museums, movie theaters, theaters) and to walk down the streets of Old Havana or take a dip at the coast with me.

Daddy Yankee- Foto:
Daddy Yankee- Foto:

Soccer and videogames became his priorities. Later on, parties and hanging out with friends joined the list. I also noticed he began listening to music in his mp4 player alone.

I came across a mysterious-looking folder in my computer. When I opened it, I noticed my son had been captivated by reggaeton music. When I asked him if he listened to that type of “music”, he gave me a resounding “no”. Afterwards, however, I found out he was lying, because, whenever he left his music player on the bed, I could hear that horrible combination of crass phrases and vulgar sounds coming out of the earphones, causing a very disagreeable feeling in me.

Many articles that criticize this type of music harshly have already been written. There are those who defend it as a positive phenomenon. I have to say, however, that most of these songs are designed to stifle feelings, that is, to bring the worst out of people, particularly to denigrate women and reduce them to sexual objects, tearing down the image women have managed to convey with their intelligence and talent (which place them on a par with men in all areas).

One need only pay close attention to their lyrics to get a sense of what this music is about…and cover up one’s ears.

5 thoughts on “My Son’s Secret Music Preferences

  • Michael, creo que
    debes volver a escuchar música del pasado, que sigue siendo buena. Y más si
    tienes 56 años, no porque no te sientas joven aun, sino por su valor y
    autenticidad. Tendría que viajar para ver a Wham en tu computadora. Gracias de
    todos modos.

  • As a Canadian with limited Spanish speaking skills I listen to a wide and varied range of music. And I have all of the usual traditional and new popular Cuban music CD’s, and quite a collection. And I also happen to like Reggaeton. And on every visit to Cuba I always try to buy the latest releases… And I am 56 years old… And as far as I can tell (again from my limited Spanish) it is no where near as selfish and as violent and degenerating as its American cousin rap (crap) From what I can decipher many Reggaeton songs tell of Cuban issues faced by real Cuban people, My first experience with Reggaeton was Elvis Manuel… Unfortunately he died chasing the American dream…I am sure my neighbours when I stay in Guanabo must think “who is this idiot who listens to listens to Reggaeton all day and Pink Floyd every night…” Irina you should come visit sometime and have a look at what I have in my computer… Yes I will even put some Wham in there for you… Cheers.

  • AC, its worse here. My son has a song on his iPod that says over and over again, “I like to fcuk but what I want right now is some head” I asked him if he knew what it meant and he just grinned at me. He’s 5 years old! Cuban reggaeton is still primarily dance music. Hip-hop is danceable but the goal is the message not the beat. So you ask how does a 5 year-old get that kind of song on his iPod. Older cousins who didn’t think it was a big deal. Still, I am not panicking because I believe parents must ‘counterbalance’ all the negative influences of the world with positive examples. And if that doesn’t work, take away the iPod!

  • Is not quite the same. What they are listening is mindless copy+paste from a music POV without any cultural value whatsoever and atrocious lyrics that don’t even deserve the name. You realize that something is seriously wrong when kindergarten kids singing explicit stuff about anal sex is common occurrence (I’ve witnessed it personally).

    I don’t thing is THAT bad up there in part because the parents would sue the hell of anyone exposing their underage kids to that kind of music.

  • American mothers shared the same fears 25 years ago when Hip-Hop, the precursor to reggaeton began to take hold in the US. Despite their concerns I just saw a photo the other day of Snoop Lion, formerly known as Snoop Dog, formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dog and a pioneer of West Coast hip-hop getting fist-bumped by our blue-blooded US Secretary of State John Kerry. Cuban reggaeton is child’s play in comparison to what my kids are exposed to. My bet is Cuba’s future has far bigger problems than Pit Bull lyrics.

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