Monday, March 14, 2011

Please Don't Stop the Music!

Some friends and I were getting together for a dinner shortly after Oshkosh Pulse, and my good friend Britt (who volunteered at the event) said she had a good time, but she didn't understand why founder Nick Hall did a segment of the concert on the mainstream music message.

During the event Nick Hall shared with those in attendance that the mainstream media has an overall negative message. He submitted that there is a message of hope that extends beyond the common themes that are prevalent in many popular songs currently.

Many people maintain that music doesn't affect them. That the songs on the radio are just songs with good beats and nothing more, and I understand what they are saying.

Personally, I can't say this is true in my life because lyrics and the messages behind music are extremely important to me. If I hear a song about someone who is in deep pain, I feel that. If I hear a song that angrily denounces the government (whichever party is in office) I generally start to feel rebellious and very anti-authority, if I hear a song that's happy it will affect me as well.

Why is music so powerful?


I think it's because we can relate.

It's not merely a beat that makes a song, it's the message...otherwise there would be no need for words at all.

Right?

True, just how highly one may value the lyrics versus the music certainly differ, but words and ideas are powerful. They move us whether to joy, tears or action.

I can't speak for Nick Hall on the issue, but I would assume that he wasn't knocking on the artists, nor doubting their talent and their ability to successfully market a product.

In my humble opinion, God has blessed every individual so uniquely with gifts and talents. I believe that each expression of art is really glorifying God, whether it acknowledges the creator in it or not.

Is Ke$ha fun to dance to? Absolutely. Is Avirl Lavigne's new song ridiculously catchy? Yup.

In fact it's been stuck in my head most of the day. Dammit.

So just because music is secular, does that mean it's evil? Not at all.

Does God say you can't bump it on your iPod or rock out to it at clubs or concerts? Nah. Honestly, I really don't think that the last commandment was "Thou Shalt Not Listen To Lil' Wayne." Maybe I've missed something... don't think so.

However, I do think Nick's message was one of discernment and awareness; it was a call for realization.

Take the message out of the beat and think about it rather than just swallowing what's fed to you.

Appreciate the artist, but understand what you do and do not agree with in their messages. Stay informed.

For example, I think that Eminem is an incredible artist. He definitely has a gift for putting together words, analogies and stories in one disc. His production is incredible! I was blown away with the Recovery album.

Do I agree with his messages? I would say, overall...no. It's the same for me with Rage Against the Machine, they are fantastic musicians, and I love their passion! However I disagree with a lot of their methods and who they endorse...

So... where do we go from here?

Ultimately, I think the thing that saddens me most is the music industry's insistence on pushing the envelope further and further with content.

Some examples: S&M- Rhianna, Down On Me- Jeremih, Raise Your Glass- Pink

These are just three random ones off the top twenty play list (Kiss FM).

The themes I've heard for the last decade are recycled and used with a fresh set of beats...

Drink it up, party like crazy 'cause tomorrow we could die

I think I love you so lets have sex...

We broke up cause he/she cheated, it wasn't real love

I hate life

Rhianna's newest collection of songs are far from when she started, and she is played on the radio all the time! Her single Rude Boy was essentially porn, but porn that was broadcast over the radio waves. Stuff that early middle school teens are listening to and singing along with. Yes, they know all the words.

We say we don't agree with these messages, but we sing along with them, we promote them. Seems odd.

On the flip side of the coin, Nick Hall maintains that there is more to life than what a lot of these songs say. There is a brighter future than the one people find hanging over the toilets and spewing up the junk they drank earlier. There is more than jumping from person to person in search of something that will fill you.

It is hope. It is true.

The central message of Christianity at its core, was a group of individuals who insisted that this was not all there is.

That there is more.

Maybe you agree, maybe you don't. It's definitely worth some thought though.

So I guess what I'm saying is...

Yes, we in this country are blessed with so much freedom, and the freedoms of expression and diversity are extremely important.

I would never want anyone to just agree with my way of thinking.

I think there is beauty in our differences.

But being in a free nation doesn't mean you can just do whatever you want to either, right?

I mean, what about the teenagers (my primary area of concern in this post) who idolize Pink, for example? Say she's promoting partying and binge drinking with her song "Raise Your Glass." Maybe these teenagers want to be just like her...is emulating that lifestyle going to be healthy for them at their age?

At this point many would speculate that it is the parent's responsibility to raise their children, to teach them right from wrong. I completely agree.

Of course, from the realist's point of view, we admittedly do not live in a country in which kids growing up have that family support system as much anymore so what then?

Additionally the question should be asked, does this give these music artists the right to say and record whatever they would like?

I don't have any concrete answers, but it is good to think about...

Thanks to Britt for this post! :)

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