7-Year-Old's Interpretation of Song Lyrics Are Better Than the Real Thing

headphonesMy friends and I got together with our kids recently, and a dance party broke out. The song was "Sexy and I Know It," and the kids were going wild. And then something awkward happened. Kids, none of them older than 8, took their shirts off.

None of the moms knew quite what to say. Were our kids just being silly? They're just kids, after all? Or did our kids really know what this song was about?

It's the question we all ask, isn't it? When we're listening to the latest hot song on the radio and the kids are singing along, is it the catchy beat that's getting to them or do they really understand the adult themes of most top 40 hits?

I decided to find out.

I asked parents what songs their kids just can't stop singing. Songs like Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" and Justin Timberlake's "Suit and Tie." Songs like P!nk's "Try" and Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire."

Then I sat my 7-year-old daughter down and played the songs, one by one, and I asked her to tell me what they're really about.

I should note that I'm aware my kid is not every kid in America. Some kids are probably more observant, some less.

I chose her for this experiment because, hey, she's cheap labor (all it cost me was one black cat Webkinz ... which should totally be a write-off, right?).

I also picked her because she's a fairly savvy 7-year-old (if I do say so myself). She knows that commercials on TV are just trying to sell her something. She is an avid reader with good comprehension. She tends to "get" things if she pays attention.

Most of all, I picked her because I was curious. She's listening to this music because I always assumed the "bad" stuff went over her head.

Turns out, it does ... and it doesn't. Some of her answers may surprise you; they did me. I learned that girl power translates to any age, and that apparently there is an actual reason little girls are obsessed with "Call Me Maybe."

I also found out there's a difference between playing a song on the radio in front of her and playing a song and asking her to actually listen -- a HUGE comfort!

I hope her answers help you with your fears over what your kid is listening to ... and I hope you try this experiment with YOUR kids!

What surprised you most?


Image by Jeanne Sager

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nonmember avatar KateG

My 7 year old goddaughter is obsessed with Luke Bryan's "Country Girl Shake It For Me." She's obsessed with country music, period, but that's her absolute favorite song. She knows the words to all those popular songs you mentioned, but country is her #1 preference. She will beg you to change the station to country. I think that surprises me more than anything! :)

nonmember avatar Susan

thanks for this....i have been wondering about this myself lately so I found this very interesting. I might just try this with my kids to see what they say.

nonmember avatar holly

this is great! I grew up in the 80's and 90's. my mom and aunt played all the coolest music back then. I recently was listening to a station I made on pandora which consisted of all 90's r&b and hip hop. I knew all the words as a kid and teenager. But listening to them now I was hysterical! I couldnt believe I was not only allowed to listen to some of these songs but I was allowed to sing them, aloud, in front of my mom! I can say that I sure as heck had NO IDEA what the meaning was to almost any of the songs back then. some lyrics were just soooo over my head, I must have just enjoyed the beat or style or maybe I only liked it because my older cousins thought it wsa cool.

nonmember avatar Carol

This is so funny to hear. I don't worry about it too much because I remember my reaction to Sheryl Crow's song "All I wanna do is have some fun..." I was about 11 when it came out and I thought it was just about skipping work to have fun and party. I was listening to it randomly about six years later when it finally dawned on me what it really meant!

nonmember avatar jamie

i'm sorry if your tryin to see if the kids are getting what its really about you should play the real version of it....

Elizabeth Stuevens-Mitchell

i hate that kind of music and think  it's  limited, boring and take no talent. My boys listen to the music i listen to, and seem to enjoy it. My eldest loves any music he hears and dances away. Even though i hate this type  of music, i do play some dance music  for him when we want to dance and get some wiggles out. i Will worry about what they understand in music when i no longer Can control what they listen to.

pagan... paganmommy4

Unfortunately, My kiddo cannot hear any of those songs because she knows way too much at her age

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