Monday, July 27, 2009

Do the lyrics matter?

I am musicophile. I love it and am particularly a sucker for a strong chorus and intense solo instrumentation. My tastes run from Classical to Rap. Of course, I'm becoming a larger fan of the older 'classical' bands - The Beatles and The Who are definitely favorites, how can one not love Frank Sinatra's voice?, and there's a pleasure to be had from listening to the big band sound of Glenn Miller.

This background brings me to a question which many people of conscience struggle with, including myself. Do the lyrics in songs matter?

The music industry (as well as media as a whole) is rife with immoral behavior - sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll go together like Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, just for a longer time. Since Elvis' moves grabbed national attention in the 1950s, the adoration fans has come face to face with this immorality. This is especially true over the evolution of media and music in the last 20 years.

Music is increasingly accessible and heard - I can hold 15000 songs (750 CDs, 1300 Records) in my hand - and in fact am listening to my iPod at this moment (Pink Floyd). This constantness has also seen the rise in increasingly more risque performances and lyrics.

For example, everyone should know the antic of Britney Spears, but it is not limited to the personal lives of stars. Whether its Top 10 hits like 50 Cent's 'Candy Shop' or Lady Gaga's 'LoveGame', both of which contain thinly veiled references to sex and whose accompanying music videos are, without question, softcore pornography ('LoveGame' being banned on Network 10 in Australia), songs and material are increasingly sexualized.

This trend should concern any mature person - especially one of a Catholic moral background. In an era where we walk around with white ear-buds, music is everywhere. But is it good (morally so, 'LoveGame' has maybe the catchiest hook of the year, though 'Boom Boom Pow' by the Black Eyed Peas a song with zero lyrical sense is similarly mind-grabbing)? Should the fact that a former stripper is monopolizing our airwaves singing about wanting a ride on a 'discostick'?

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