Song Association with The Roesgens
Animal Collective, Radiohead, and The Velvet Underground according to my daughters

by Emma Roesgen (age 3) and Hannah Roesgen (age 1), daughters of JeffRoesgen

Freud be damned; my daughters and I played a little game of word association. Well, really a variation of it. I'd play some music and then ask them for the first words that they could conjure regarding it. (My eldest daughter, Emma, is almost four and my youngest, Hannah, is one and a half.) What I hoped to understand was whether or not all of my self-righteous, analytical, over-intellectualized, jaded views of modern music had any effect on them. Happily, I found that it didn't. What I found was an innocent and pristine take on music that, since completing this, I've vowed to attempt to recapture.

Honestly, the actual results of this experiment were mixed; there were a few sessions where all we could accomplish was this: I'd play The Beatles, “Octopus' Garden,” and they'd ask if it was time for oatmeal. Due to creative differences, conflicting schedules, and a new tricycle, this piece was compiled over several sittings. Any absence in cohesion therefore may be attributed to this. To avoid this going the way of the "Christmas Card Family Update Letter," I'll stop here.

So here are the views of two young children on the music in which we indulge.

“Did You the Words” (Animal Collective)
- Emma: “I know it's a goldfish.”
- Hannah: Flaps her arms like they're on fire

“Nellie the Elephant” (Toydolls)
- Emma: “A birthday party”
- Hannah: Trumpets and raises her arm like a trunk

“Tiptoe through the Tulips” (Tiny Tim)
- Emma: “Cha-cha-cha”
- Hannah: Sits with mouth gaping open

“Little Queenie” (Chuck Berry)
- Emma: “Catty”
- Hannah: Claps her hands

“Shoehorn with Teeth” (They Might Be Giants)
- Emma: “A parade”
- Hannah: Stomps on a sheet of bubble wrap

“Eyeball Kid” (Tom Waits)
- Emma: “I don't know”
- Hannah: Mouth gapes open again

“I'm Sticking With You” (The Velvet Underground)
- Emma: puts finger to lips, “nice piano”
- Hannah: Claps her hands... again

“Little Red Rooster” (Howlin' Wolf)
- Emma: “It's Oscar!”
- Hannah: nods to what Emma said

“No Suprises” (Radiohead)
- Emma: “Xylophone”
- Hannah: Wobbles back and forth on her feet

“Anniemal” (Annie)
- Emma: “It's a big show”
- Hannah: Returns to the bubble wraps, dances on it

“Engine” (Neutral Milk Hotel)
- Emma: “I'm really happy, are you?”
- Hannah: puts head on my knee

[This feature is part of our Take Your Kids to Work Day special]

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