So the family, or 75% of us, went to see Pixar's movie Cars this weekend. I was struck by two things during my time at one of our local metroplexes:
1. Yes, Northern Arizona really does look like that. OK, the buttes really aren't that car-shaped, and I'm pretty sure parts of Northern Arizona have "dark skies" ordinances that would pretty much rule out the bevy of neon in one scene, but other than that, yeah, that's pretty darn close. And, boy, would I like to be there right now.
2. In the previews before the movie's start, two animated movies for kids used rock songs more than 25 years old. One of the movies used a famous song by the Clash (my perpetually overcrowded mind believes it was "Should I Stay or Should I Go?," but it doesn't really matter). And my thought was, since when is the Clash kids' music? Now perhaps that tune isn't actually heard in the movie (preview songs aren't always included in the movie they're promoting), but between that and Ben Folds' cover of "Lost in the Supermarket" from Over the Hedge, and we almost have a trend. Perhaps there's a nice Christmas movie that will use "Guns of Brixton."
Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't play the Clash for the kiddos on occasion, and I think the older kids might particularly appreciate what is, without a doubt, an essential rock album. Having said that, why can't movie producers use music that kids might actually... recognize? From a band that's released an album in the last 20 years? I mean, sure, maybe there might be a handful of adults who might decide to go to the movie because a preview uses a Clash tune, but doesn't that sell your primary target audience way short?
One of the reasons I've been writing here for so long is because I believe that "kids music" can -- and should -- engage kids on their level, in things they might be interested in, with voices they can relate to. That can cover a wide range of subjects and artists, some traditionally thought of as "kids-related," some not. And while London Calling is an awesome album, one I occasionally play on the stereo at home, it's not the first one I think of when I think source material for a kids' movie. It's a lack of imagination.
We're back to the rock this week, with a band you might possibly be aware of, an artist you're probably not aware of, and other stuff. Thanks as always for reading and commenting. And stay tuned, there are some cool announcements coming up in the next few weeks. OK, maybe they're not cool to you, but I've got a fairly low bar to clear.
Oh, and if you haven't read this post on whether or not kids' music is enjoying some sort of resurgence, you should do so.