She sang what?

I was looking at Oprah’s interview with Tina Turner the other day and began reminiscing about some of Tina’s songs that were the “it” songs back in the day.  “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”  “We Don’t Need Another Hero.”  “Private Dancer.”  She sang what?  LOL!

No shade on Tina whatsoever.  My favorite Tina song is “Simply The Best,” which she is.  Followed closely by “Proud Mary.”   😆  I admire her and hope I look even one-quarter as good as she does in her early seventies when I get to her age.  Note I didn’t say if, but when. 😉

tina in vogue 1

And I’m certainly not singling her out because Lord knows folk are out there today singing waaaay crazier stuff.  I won’t name names.  There’s a Hall of Shame out there, except some of these folks have no shame.

But… some of those lyrics weren’t exactly sending positive messages worth emulating.  If we took the view that love is nothing more than “a sweet old-fashioned notion” and  “who needs a heart when a heart can be broken,” we’d certainly be a very callous tribe here on earth.  

Back when I was in high school, my cousin and I were set to sing a duet at a concert.  We had practiced and were all excited to participate.  For some reason (insert mother’s sixth sense here), my mom and grandmother asked us to sing part of the song for them to hear, because they’re weren’t going to be at the concert.  They nearly fell out when they heard the words!  It was Odyssey’s “Weekend Lover.”  

To be honest, my cuz and I had not given the lyrics too much thought.  We just liked the song and knew we weren’t anybody’s weekend lover, so it didn’t matter what the words said.  

Naive, I know.  And of course my mom shut down our little singing gig.  So much for our plans to shine onstage!  But to be honest, in retrospect,  I’m glad she did.

Many people approach songs much as my cousin and I did, and the way I did when Tina’s hits held sway back in the 1980s.  We loved the voice, the music, and the beat.  The lyrics were further down the list of “likes.”  

Because my job forces me to listen closely to what is said, I’ve really begun to pay attention to what I listen to, whether it’s someone’s words or the lyrics of a song.  I love a fairly wide cross-section of musical genres, but if people are singing tripe, I turn into Sweet Brown:  ain’t nobody got time for that!  

I do believe that by listening, we are changed.  We may act like I did, back in the day, and focus on the music, but the lyrics and the music both seep into our soul.  For better or for worse.

What’s in your earspace?  Do you think what you listen to makes a difference in your perspectives and values?  What , if anything, are you not willing to listen to lyrically?



  1. I do feel what we take in impacts our perspective and values. That is why I’m more conscious about what I watch and listen to. My family teases me that the only station ever on in my car is K-Love. There are times it may change but it is always something uplifting. My ears can no longer handle the “bad” noise.
    Your posts always make me smile…I do so love coming by to learn a bit more about you!
    Much love to you.
    Beth recently posted..Three Word Wednesday: Your Great GraceMy Profile

    • Hey Beth! It’s always great to have you stop by. I’m all about the uplifting sounds. Words carry power and the more we allow the positive in, there’s less room for the negative or less beneficial stuff.
      Alison recently posted..She sang what?My Profile

  2. I think that young minds are easily influenced, so yes, song lyrics do count as part of the culture they will inevitably be immersed in. So I would hate for songs to be vulgar, crude, disrespectful and full of cuss words. 🙂
    Alison recently posted..Not TalkingMy Profile

  3. I can admit that I listen to music that in no way reflects my real life, but I LOVE it! I don’t let my children listen to music that isn’t appropriate for them because they are like sponges and will repeat everything they hear and I don’t want to be embarassed! LOL! That’s a funny story about the “Weekend Lover” song!
    Britton recently posted..What to Wear…Football Game DayMy Profile

    • Britton, I can laugh now, but at the time it was so not funny! My mom was majorly pissed with me. We both got over it, of course, but I cringe when I think of the whole shebang. And yes, kids are very easily influenced, so it’s very wise to shield them from the less than desirable stuff.
      Alison recently posted..She sang what?My Profile

  4. When I was little, I knew all the words to Private Dancer! I had NO clue what I was singing. I still know every word, because I learned it so young. I used to hear it in the car with my Dad. We were all in the car going somewhere, and I started to belt it out, and my mom was like… no. You won’t be singing that. To this day, I can’t bring myself to sing it without looking around like she can hear me. I have kids and I closely monitor what they sing with all these Karaoke games and things. Their brains are just so wide open! I was nearly an adult before I knew what the words meant, but that day I realized that what I sang mattered to someone, and a song is never “just a song”. Thanks for posting about this! I hope I have great legs when I hit 70+ too… 🙂
    Eva recently posted..SocaMom Asks… With Pepper or Without? Caribbean Trivia Tuesday 10/29My Profile

    • I could imagine the look on your mom’s face when she heard you in Tina mode!! Ah, youth! Thing is, the words nowadays are waaaaay worse than what we sang growing up, as much as we thought we were cutting edge. The fact that some albums have clean and explicit versions of songs still leaves me shaking my head. But hey, I’m getting old… and loving it! LOL
      Alison recently posted..She sang what?My Profile

  5. I think lyrics are very important to me because I’m a writer and I’ve been influenced by the poetry of song lyrics. Counting Crows are a good example of that. Their early work had the most amazing lyrics! It’s totally changed how I write and how I listen to music.
    I will say that with knowing lyrics, it’s in one ear and out the other. I cannot get songs right when I sing them. My kids make fun of me for a reason!
    Tamara recently posted..Tenderheart.My Profile

    • Tamara, I was terrible at lyrics when I was younger! I made up my own words if I didn’t know the correct ones, and I’d be wrong and strong about it! LOL Only now with access online to song lyrics do I finally understand what the correct words are to some of my favorites.

      Like you, I deeply appreciate the poetry of song lyrics. I hold in high esteem the people who can capture emotion and translate it through words that can move me deeply. It’s such a gift!
      Alison recently posted..She sang what?My Profile

  6. I definitely think songs have a way of sinking down into the crevices of our thoughts and it’s wise to watch what we listen. There have been many times I found myself repeating words to a song that I wondered where did that come from.
    Wanda recently posted..The Friday Five: For the Love of BlogsMy Profile

  7. I love Tina. I’d totally settle for looking half as good as she does at my current age. She is a marvel!! But you know…I don’t think I ever actually stopped to listen to the lyrics, even as I was singing them. When you point out the Tiny Dancer lyrics, they are really awful! GAH!
    I agree that we have to be so careful with the things that feed our children–their bodies as well as their minds. It sinks in whether you think it does or not. They don’t say “you are what you eat” for nothing!! –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted..Pinterest Nightmare #516: Trick Or Treat?My Profile

    • This is the thing, Lisa: we really don’t tend to listen to lyrics. I know I didn’t that much (unless it was a love song that had me all moony and dewey-eyed). But for kids today, the stuff they’re hearing is waay more out there. I’m no prude, but some lyrics leave me going WTH???? LOL
      Alison recently posted..She sang what?My Profile

  8. Hi Alison! Your post made me smile…when I was a teenager, all record purchases had to be ‘ok’d’ by my Mom. I really liked the song Honky Tonk Women, by the Rolling Stones. Again, didn’t really listen to the lyrics, just loved the beat.

    Yeah..needless to say, no Honky Tonk Women for me! I agree with your thought that what we hear changes us. I guess I really did need my Mom 🙂
    Happy Friday!
    Ceil recently posted..A Pan, A Plan, and A PrayerMy Profile

  9. Hey Alison!! I too want to like “Mrs Tina” when I grow up…and those legs, gah! 🙂 Oh yes, what we let in our ear gate is so important. I find myself listening to the “The Spirit” channel ALL day while I’m blogging. The day of good music and television, for that matter, is practically over, sigh…
    Michell recently posted..Doing YOU WELL Wednesday #39 and a tribute to a dear friendMy Profile

    • Alas! There still are some good people out there producing quality music, Michell. Thing is, you really have to be intentional about discovering them, and sometimes I just don’t have the time or the energy for it. But I do keep my ears (and eyes) open for the good stuff!
      Alison recently posted..She sang what?My Profile

  10. I have a preacher friend that is always on me about the garbage that I listen to. I’m always like blah blah blah. He sings the same song you are singing here today. I get it, but I’m still listening to my music 🙂 I do have post coming up though because I had a recent incident that inspired me to at least pay a bit more attention to the lyrics of songs in the classes I teach. I have a bad habit of just bobbing my head to the beat.
    Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady recently posted..Student Spotlight #2 – An Appropriate FarewellMy Profile

  11. I am funny about my music if I don’t like the beat I never listen to the words I don’t know why I am so weird like that. I listen to everything from rap, to r&b, gospel, country everything but jazz
    Kita recently posted..The Power of ColorMy Profile

  12. I never forget my dad walking on me singing “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye. I was in the 7th grade. The lyrics didn’t mean anything to me. But after he had the deer in the headlights look, it may me pay attention to the lyrics. There was another one I had by Prince – a song I’ve never heard anywhere except for playing on my record player – I didn’t know what those lyrics meant until I was much older. I can’t say it influenced me at all because I didn’t pay attention to the lyrics. Still don’t really. When I really listen to the words in my workout playlist I’m like OMG – definitely wouldn’t play out loud.
    Kenya G. Johnson recently posted..Wordless Wednesday on Me TimeMy Profile

  13. I know what you mean Alison, I actually have a vlog series that I want to do based on all the songs that were AWFUL but I still sang them as a kid because I didn’t have a clue what the songs really meant! I love the diva Tina!
    Nellie recently posted..Olivia Pope Black and White Dress – Consider Me SlayedMy Profile

    • You should do it, Nellie! It would be a hoot. I know sometimes I used to make up my own lyrics when I wasn’t sure what the words were. Small days! Nuff fun!

  14. I get into this argument with people all the time…a lot of them tell me they just like the beat but when you watch them as they listen or sing long after it’s over they’re acting out the nonsense in the songs. Anything that 1-doesn’t even make sense! 2- is laden with b*tch this and B*tch that 3- would get my son popped in the mouth for repeating is NOT on my play list. I do have some ratchets that I might sing alone but that’s me 🙂 lol
    Candace recently posted..I Woke Up CraftyMy Profile

    • I’m in full agreement,Candace. People somehow can’t seem to get that the lyrics DO affect them in some way. I hope and pray that they will take heed at some point.

  15. I hate when lyrics are misogynistic or encourage violence. I will not let my kids listen to songs like that, but it becomes harder to control as they get older. I prefer songs with uplifting lyrics – words that speak to my soul.
    Dana recently posted..Why Halloween with older kids is awesomeMy Profile

  16. I love Tina. She’s amazing & talented & still going strong 🙂

    I LOL’d at your post regarding the singing & lyrics. Most times, we only listen to the beat & not to the words. As I matured, I do listen more to the words that the artist is speaking & what the intentions are behind them. I know, growing up, there were certain songs we couldn’t listen to; at the time, I didn’t understand “why”, but now I do 🙂

    • Yes indeed! Some songs really were not worth listening to but they got a lot of play on the radio. With maturity and discernment, we are able to make wiser decisions re: our listening choices.

  17. Hi Alison,
    I really appreciate this post. During my studies this morning, I read how music affects the anointing of God be it good or bad. On a natural standpoint, if the music and the lyrics aren’t right, it has to get out of my ear space. Period. I love good music: gospel, r&b, hip hop, country, you name it, as long as it is positive & gets my head and foot moving, I’m usually good.

    BTW: I love Tina, and I love the Tina Turner movie.

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