Monday, June 26, 2017

Let's Play A Game: Popular Songs As Summarized by Puritans

This gets worse as you go down the list.

Point 1: While Puritan is often used contemporarily as a derogatory term, it is a historical term that refers to English Reformers specifically, and, since then, conservative protestants specifically. You could be considered a puritan for having a less liberal attitude about what is proper language, behavior, dress, etc than the wider culture. In some sense, all Christians should be puritan.

"In the world, not of the world" - (John 17:14-15) - comes to mind often when I observe contemporary culture through song or television. There is no sign of self-awareness, by content producers,  of the fact that what they project is not affirmed as good by everyone who sees it, and this is very ironic. I often reflect on the significance of language, attitudes or beliefs which are taken for granted, and feel increasingly more isolated from and marginalized by the culture I live in. I suspect many believers can say the same.

For those who do not, I'd like you to consider a few highly popular recent songs that many young people sing along to and enjoy, I suspect uncritically. I wondered how a Puritan might characterize the lyrics if he heard them, and if it would shock some modern listeners, if only because of their numbness to what they're actually singing along to.

In other words, this is how I would describe the songs.


Carly Rae Jepsen -- "Call Me Maybe"
Young girl improperly pursues a man after lusting over him, boasting over how many other suitors she has had.

Adele -- "Hello From the Other Side"
Older woman mourns the dissolution of a past relationship, desperately trying to reconnect with a man she was once intimate with, because she is lonely and afraid of "running out of time."

Ellie Goulding -- "Love Me Like You Do"
A girl so overcome with lust that she spends the whole song begging a man to take advantage of her sexually.

Taylor Swift -- "Wildest Dreams"
A cynical woman holds no hope for a stable relationship, merely wishing that a man she fornicated with will remember her from time to time.

Sia -- "Chandelier"
A girl who is the 'life of the party' admits that she's becoming an alcoholic as a result of how much she drinks to keep from feeling the pain of her raging depression and emptiness.

Tove Lo -- "Habits"
Woman describes how she became a chronic drug user, prostitute, and developed an eating disorder after a break-up with a man she was very emotionally involved with.

Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj -- "Side to Side"
A profanity-laden song performed on the Dangerous Woman tour which featured a concert that was targeted by a muslim terrorist. Graphically describes a variety of sex acts, encourages pursuing sexual relationships against the protests of one's friends, and is named after a post-coital gait characterizing some young women.

There's a theme here.

Nearly all new songs that chart describe, whether in positive, negative, or ironic ways, unhealthy romantic relationships...if you can even call them romantic.

I could unpack this in a lot of different ways, but let me make a few short points and be done:

1. The lifestyle promoted by these lyrics also describe terrible consequences for mental and physical health, one's sense of identity, the ability to be content, and the ability to form healthy relationships.

2. If you listen to this sort of music un-ironically, you're allowing yourself to be influenced by it. Does it paint a picture of something you wish to emulate? Please be selective about the messages that you listen to. Especially if you're Christian.

Because,
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8
-W

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