The most important record I could play to my child (, 2017)


This post formed part of a longer piece about what records fathers would try to indoctrinate their children with. Naturally, I hedged my bets…

My fragile eggshell childmind was first cracked open by pop music – or rather the maelstrom of madness surrounding it – by the keyboard player from glam-rock stompers Mud eating flowers from the vase on top of his piano on Top Of The Pops. Soon afterwards, more intoxicating surrealism rushed in from the same source, including Freddie Mercury, teeth the size of marble tombstones and hair like a latino Roy Of The Rovers, mooching his way through Bohemian Rhapsody.

Put your faith in me, child…

That’s why for me, the most important thing a parent can teach a child is the understanding that pop music is about so much more than just a tune to sing along to. They’ll do that from toddler age upwards, and they’ll latch onto something timeless like Abba Gold, The Beatles 1962-66 or The Eagles Greatest Hits as easily as they develop a taste for strawberry jam.

But I was more excited when my own seven-year-old daughter was truly captivated by more than just a tune – a few months back she became obsessed with the mildly barking video for Sia’s soaring pop epic ‘Chandelier’, featuring 11-year-old Maddie Ziegler in a blonde wig prancing around like a sleepwalking pixie to a song written by a 39-year-old about blotting out existential pain with hedonism, heavy drinking and gymnastic sex (well, I presume that’s what she means by “I wanna swing from the chandelier”).

Sia, as represented by an 11-year-old in a wig

I bought the album for my daughter to play in the car, and regularly broadcast the song from my phone so she could attempt to emulate the dance moves. I’m hoping my little ‘un missed those rather adult reference points just as I once assumed ‘The Jack’ by AC/DC referred to a playing card. Instead, I hope ‘Chandelier’ is the first sign of her being beckoned her into a world of unbridled self-expression, unashamed immersion in art, and top-quality hairpieces. The possibilities from that point are endless.

Johnny Sharp

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