Yesterday Amelia, five years old, started singing a song in the car with great enthusiasm and volume—or part of a song anyway. Something about “light the light … something, something … the 4th of July.” It took me a bit to figure out that this was not one of the many official songs being taught in her kindergarten class but rather something she had learned from friends at recess. (Those of you more au courant vis a vis pop music may already have figured that out.) Her rendition was dramatic if somewhat mumbly. As we were at the end of the long day, I grouchily had to insist that if she must sing, she had to sing softer. She claimed, with some justification, that it really needed to be sung loud.
This morning she was at it again when I was within reach of a computer so I was able to google up the actual song which turns out to be “Firework” by Katy Perry. Soon I had a video of the song going while she sat, enthralled, trying to master the lyrics of the chorus. Even little Tabby, sixteen months old, seemed to be joining in on the “oh-oh-oh” parts.
Now, this is not great music. I know that. The lyrics don’t really bear up under even cursory analysis. But the theme is at least something I can get behind, especially as a father—don’t be afraid, be yourself, show the world what you can do. And the chorus does build musically, the melody stepping slowly—almost one note per measure—up the scale over pulsing strings and a slow crescendo that leaves Perry belting out the key line, “baby you’re a firework” over a driving drum machine beat.
For whatever reason, something about the whole scene—the heartstring-tugging musical effects, Amelia’s little-girl-growing-up interest in her first pop song, and the fact that this is no doubt just the first of many interests, infatuations, and obsessions she’s going to bring home from the world outside—kept getting me all choked up.