Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One Tribe Ya'll

I have the great privilege of putting together the 6th grade Continuation slideshow, filled with pictures and songs permanently recording this momentous year. I say privilege, but I really mean “guilt-driven responsibility because I was raised by an Irish/Catholic/Jewish/Mormon mother/grandmother (have I insulted everyone?) and I also have a need to control all media experiences.” The email sent by the teacher went roughly, “Last year, an overachieving parent put together a slideshow for the graduation which we symbolically call ‘continuation’. Since that parent set the standard, your children will all feel unloved and will suffer for the rest of their lives if one of you doesn’t step forward to volunteer to put the slideshow together. You will get nominal help from us and absolutely no support from any other parent because they all know that a) no one will watch the DVD and b) you’re going to screw up somehow and will anger everyone.”

So, with a sell job like that, I shot back an email saying that I’d love to do it and it would be a breeze. Of course, I hadn’t actually made a slideshow on this particular computer before, so the term “breeze” may have been an overstatement. Also, since getting the job (only one other parent volunteered and she was going into surgery 2 weeks before Continuation, lucky dog) I’ve done nothing but complain, so I haven’t really loved doing it. What can I say? I’m a total liar.

But I’m also smart. Or, rather, I remember being a pre-teen. The kids nominated songs. I read all of the lyrics on one of the reliable lyrics websites and tossed out all but 9. Then I tossed out 2 more because they were too old. One was Motley Crue, one was Modern English (while I love M.E., no 12 year old except those who are overly-controlled voluntarily listen to M.E., and I happen to know that the parents of the child who nominated that song do, in fact, control every facet of her life. Even more than I control my children.) Then, I threw out Stronger by Kanye because you just can’t get a clean version. And I threw out Moment 4 Life by Nicki Minaj ft. Drake because it’s stupid and because Drake just can’t help himself, he’s rated R.

Now, this next step is important, and you should take notes in case you are ever asked to put together music for 12 year olds.

After verifying that the lyrics were clean, I YouTubed the videos.

Because I know that what I read as an adult and what the kids see as 12 year olds is completely different.

One of the songs nominated was called Howlin’ for You. Pretty bland lyrics, all about a dog who likes a girl. Catchy tune, made it to my list of possibilities.

But the video? OHMYGOSH, I need to scrub by eyeballs with bleach.

I feel so dirty, so used.

And I promptly balled up that song request and tossed it in the garbage. I did not even recycle the contaminated paper it was written on.

So, in conclusion, out of 9 songs, I narrowed it down to 4 we could use, which was the exact number I needed to be the backdrop for the stunning visuals that are the focal point for this scintillating full-length (16 minutes) feature. The songs are (in case you need to do the same thing this year and I can save you the trouble): Firework, Katy Perry; Unstoppable, Rascal Flats; One Tribe, Black Eyed Peas; Forget You, Cee Lo Green.

Now, I know Forget You has been changed from the original. I debated that. But, in the end, I needed 4 songs and the clean version squeaks. Oh, and if you’re doing this for school, I recommend not putting One Tribe on while you show pictures of the administration. One of the lines says, “Forget about all that evil, the evil that they feed ya.” While it may not mean much to the kids, it may make the adults burst into gales of laughter, and laughter is not allowed at Continuation.