A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that these lyrics contain gentle, positive messages of self-esteem, pride, and acceptance of differences, relating mostly to race and size. ("I can't see why people look at me/and only see the color of my face" and "I'm big, blond, and beautiful/face the fact...it's simply irrefutable.")
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Part retro '60s dance party, part musical with a message, and 100 percent fun, the HAIRSPRAY soundtrack delivers family-friendly entertainment on every energetic track. The delightful cast includes Nikki Blonsky as Tracy Turnblad, Zac Efron of High School Musical fame, John Travolta (in drag as Tracy's mom Edna), Michelle Pfeiffer, and the amazing Queen Latifah. Younger kids will love "Cooties" ("They came from way far out in outer space/she's hard to miss and so they landed on her face/...she's got Cooties"); tweens will like "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now" ("Lose that laundry list of what you won't allow/cause Mama I'm a big girl now").
Is it any good?
Despite being a frothy 1960s period piece ("I'm your man and you're my girl/I'm the sea and you're the pearl" in "It Takes Two"), Hairspray offers proof that music can get a point across without being boring, dreadfully earnest, preachy, or overly explicit. While the songs do present an opportunity to talk with older kids about the deeper issues in all the lyrics -- racism, self-esteem, and how to deal with looking or feeling different -- the spirited romp allows us to consider important issues while having a great time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the important issues raised by this movie. Do you think racism still exists in your community? Is it harder for heavier kids to be popular at school? How can kids be more accepting of others -- especially if they're different? Families can also talk about the lyrics and instrumentation of songs written for musicals. What makes them sound different from the songs you hear on Top 40 radio? Try taking your favorite pop song and imagine how it would sound if it were in a musical.