The original idea wasn't even that original, which is why it didn't work, I suppose.
In 2003, a ferociously cool writer named Rob Harvilla (Google him; he's a vocabularian superhero) wrote an article about how he played a Radiohead album for a group of fifth graders and then asked them to draw pictures while they listened to it.
Read it. It's smart and funny and fun.
I had intended to do the something similar, except I'd adjusted the premise slightly. Rather than using one group, I was going to use rap from different artists with noticeably different sounds, and rather than using fifth graders, I was going to use my four-year-old twin sons, and their friends, who are five, six and eight.
But it was a train wreck. The whole thing. All of it.
I won't get into the specific details regarding the unraveling, but only because, fuck, man, I don't know. I mean, I don't remember a lot. It was like being a hurricane victim; all I know is that it was loud and afterwards everything was wet. Oh, and the cheese. The fucking cheese.
The songs that were to be played included Kyle Hubbard's "It's Making Sense," Delo's "P's and Q's," an edited version of 2 Chainz's "Riot" (which is probably the greatest rap song called "Riot" that's not actually about riots ever written), Wale's "Lotus Flower Bomb" and Skrillex's "First of the Year."
They all possess a different sonicism (Hubbard's = Modern; Delo's = Lush Nostalgia; 2 Chainz's = Aggressiveness; Wale's = Lovely Love; Skrillex's = Bombast), which I assumed would produce varied art.
But when Delo's
came on, the six-year-old was convinced he was saying "cheese" instead of "P's," which spiraled into a 45-second conversation he had with himself while I wondered how hard I could kick him before he found it pertinent enough to tell his parents when he got home.
Did he say cheese? Why did he say cheese? Is this song about cheese? I like cheese. My dad doesn't like cheese. He likes football. Are we going to listen to a song about football? Can I call my dad?
No, fucker, he didn't say cheese, is what I thought. Nothing is what I said.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The eight-year-old perked up and made a joke about putting cheese on his own head and insisted everyone call him "Cheese Head," which encouraged the other boys to name other body parts and create new nicknames (Cheese Arms; Cheese Knees; Cheese Face), until the five-year-old shut that shit down with, "Cheese on my butt; Cheese Butt."
Everyone under the age of nine thinks that adding "butt" to anything is fucking comedy Mecca. They all laughed without reservation. He'll probably live off that one joke for the next two weeks.
I still really like the idea, but I don't like the idea of doing it with that group of dummies.
Maybe when they get older. Or maybe when cheese isn't a thing anymore.