No Small Children is a band composed of teachers who not only make rad music, but help educate the children in America. Their sound is infectious thanks to their pop sensible, anthemic bursts of energy. New Noise Magazine is pleased to be bringing forth the exclusive in depth look at What Do The Kids Say by No Small Children with this track by track!
We were on tour and in the van with lots of time. We started talking about our new favorite show, “Stranger Things.” We were trying to figure out why we loved it so much and realized that its nostalgic vibe hit us in the heartstrings. It brought us back to when we were young and we loved that feeling. Then someone said, “we should write a song about that”, which we do for almost every subject that comes up. But this time, we did! We started with the lyrics and the visual aspect of sitting in a car blasting FM stereo with the windows down. . Then built the song from there.
It’s All For Love (For Goodness Sake)
Because “good news doesn’t make for good ratings”, there is a ton of bad news in our faces almost every moment of every day. I think a lot of us get caught up in it online and then inadvertently spread it, which leads to more sharing along with exacerbated suspicion and hatred…and it goes on and on in this make-believe world. We all do it. It’s like a big game of (destructive) telephone. The thing is, when I go to the store, and smile at a person, they almost always smile back. I see awesomely kind things throughout my day, every day, and it effects me, sometimes profoundly. We just wanted a song to celebrate the good nature of most of us. “It’s All for Love (For Goodness Sake)” is a song about celebrating kindness and just doing stuff for the sake doing something nice.
Can You Imagine
This is a song started with the fact that our moms are totally badass. It is about imagining something that you can’t see while the world is telling you not to make waves because it isn’t “lady-like” or no one will believe you. Our moms found their voice in a different world than ours and then passed on what they learned so we can find ours. When I listen to the song now, I realize that it is about much more. It’s about all of us…reaching…jumping…imagining….
I’m So Concerned
As teachers, we are super concerned about a lot of things…our students, the lack of respect for public education, the bullying that goes on at the highest levels and how it trickles down into our classrooms….class sizes and how they are enormous. Kids don’t get art or music…. there are no experiments in science class…there are hardly any field trips…there are not enough books…the buildings are out of date… there is little more than hopscotch or tetherball on the playground. Seriously? Tetherball??
I don’t think a lot of people realize the pull on teachers. To plan to teach well thought out and exciting lessons for seven hours, five days a week for anywhere from 22-40 students is like planning a show…because otherwise your students probably won’t be inspired to learn. About 20% of these students have some form of attention or emotional issues. You have to find time to grade the papers for all these lessons. You have about a thousand things that happen in class that need immediate follow-up…from calling a parent because someone isn’t doing their homework, or dealing with behavior issues, divorce, child services, pregnancy, daily adolescent happenings that come up EVERY DAY! Then you have to drop everything because you have to be there for a suicidal kid in their darkest moment. We have a lot of homeless kids in L.A. I know teachers that buy (with their money) shoes for their students…and bring in daily snacks for them too. You get 15 minutes for lunch. If you’re lucky you make enough money to make rent…. oh and now suddenly there is enough money to buy a gun and to train teachers? Anyone with the least bit of knowledge about the reality of teaching knows this is a RIDICULOUS solution.
The kids are screaming loud and clear and we are not listening. We live in crazy times, especially if you are an adolescent. This song is about listening. It is about responsibility. It is about us being sad and worried. This song is about…”WTF???”
Have you ever felt like people who start a conversation by saying, “What you need to do is….” are really just trying to talk themselves into believing it? The more doubts they have about what they are saying, the more they dig in. Like that person at the gym who tells you what you’re doing wrong and how their workout will change your life. That’s what “Bullfighter” is about. It’s about close-mindedness and misplaced enthusiasm.
I Don’t Believe What You Say
This song is about questioning and agitating. It is about staying alert and not just believing everything because other people do or because you believed what they said the last time. We feel angry when we perform it because usually people who are trying to get you to believe stuff are trying to manipulate, belittle and out-power you.
Then It Woke
We needed a preachy song about “gangster politicians”… and how we elected them. This is it. This song is about the truth that we’ve been asleep as Americans… not voting… the lack of investment in public education…. This song is owning up, and not being asleep or pretending to be asleep anymore…the jig is up…and we all have to show up or shut up.
I Feel Better
This song was written in dark late days of March. We have all been there. It’s about having hope that things will get better. It’s about hanging on until spring.