Our kids love music.
Much of this is thanks to Elysha. As much as I love music, she loves it even more.
But it’s also in large part the result to hours of Spotify playlists playing in the car, the music playing often in our home, the endless conversations about music, and our before-bed ritual of climbing onto our bed as a family and listening to a final song to end the day.
As a result of all of this, Clara and Charlie care deeply about music and already have a great deal of background knowledge about music and the artists who make it.
This is almost always a good thing.
But yesterday morning, I was playing a playlist that featured Queen songs when “Bohemian Rhapsody” came on. Clara was in the front of the house, playing with toys, and Charlie was in the back of the house, doing the same. But about a minute into the song, both of them converged in the middle of the house, where I was working, to listen more closely to the song.
“What is this?” Charlie asked. “It makes no sense.”
“Is he okay?” Clara asked. “And why is he singing about Galileo? Does he even know who Galileo is? I don’t think he knows anything about Galileo?”
“What is this?” Charlie repeated, becoming more irritated by the second.
I tried to explain “Bohemian Rhapsody” to my children, but how do you explain “Bohemian Rhapsody” to anyone?
I tried to tell them that it’s a combination of hard rock, an opera, a ballad, and probably some other stuff that I’m not hearing or have forgotten. I told them that I think it’s a song about a man who is waiting to be executed for murder, but that might not be right at all.
I said, “It’s not supposed to make perfect sense.”
“No kidding,” Charlie said and stormed off.
Clara listened until the song was done. Then she turned to me. “Do you like that song, Daddy?”
“Yes,” I said. “A lot.”
“Okay,” she said and walked away. Unimpressed. Back to her toys.
I can’t help but wonder what Freddy Mercury would think all these years later if he knew how angry and befuddled my children became upon hearing his song.
I also can’t help but wonder how I reacted when I heard the song for the first time.
Maybe I was annoyed, too. Maybe it’’s the eventual, inevitable transformation of annoyance and befuddlement to acceptance and love that makes us love that song so much. Rather than a simple song with a simple message, “Bohemian Rhapsody” demands something from you, and as a result, it leaves its mark on your heart and soul.
I look forward to watching my kids fall in love with it like I have.