But even in this beautiful life, where I make a valid attempt to fill my ears with uplifting, Christ-centered music a majority (if not all) of the time. It’s hard, if not impossible these days to go about your daily life without catching a glimpse of to what’s happening in mainstream, pop music. I myself am glad there’s a Taylor Swift out there, for her business savvy, strength as a female in the music industry and for being a women who grew up responsible, dedicated and focused without letting anyone distract or diffuse her passion and course of action. I haven’t been able to help but notice that her outfits have become more revealing and less whimsical and feminine over the past year or two, and I hope she will be able to maintain the balance on the fine line tight rope that she walks being in the position that she is in. But this is not a blog about Taylor Swift. I have felt compelled, catching lyrics of songs dominating the top 40 radio airwaves, songs that have young children singing and dancing along to, without realizing what message they are allowing to penetrate their impressionable minds, to write about my thoughts and feelings on the matter (now I sound like so many ‘old’ people I grew up rolling my eyes at!!) I can’t go without voicing my opinion.
Is it just me or is pop culture becoming more female degrading, overtly sexual and subtly persuading to promote no morals or values in this life? Certain songs have me looking around going “Am I the ONLY person hearing the message being sung here!?!?” Perhaps, it’s due to my instinctive need (as a songwriter) to listen intently to lyrical content weaved cleverly in the catchy melodies. But for someone who sat in dozens of writing sessions, I don’t have to think twice of where inspiration comes from. It’s either from God or the devil. There is no in-between. Something special happens in writing sessions when an energy takes over. And it’s either to promote a message of God, or to promote a message against Him.
The lyrics that caught my attention in the past few weeks and truly bothered me, perhaps, will be familiar to you! Most of us never consider the songs we’re humming along to, because they are SO catchy and clever and straight up ear candy! It’s called ‘pop’ music because it is popular to the vast majority of those who hear it. This particular song made me depressed for the beautiful young women who sings it, my heart felt heavy for her. Why? Because this lyric is entirely degrading. It reminds me of the intention a women-for-hire would have for one of her top paying clients. These are words only someone who is broken could say. There is no self worth, no value for the women who is saying these words, she is not proud because she is intelligent, because she is talented, because she is kind or simply because she IS a women and deserves value and any man that she chooses should feel honored to be by her side. Her only worth comes from the fact that she will do her best to ‘look good’ for this man and all of his wants and desires, hopefully good enough that he might keep her around for a little while, that is, until someone who looks better, turns more tricks, and perhaps sits quieter, comes along. The lyric reads:
"Gonna wear that dress you like, skin-tight
do my hair up real, real nice
and syncopate my skin to your heart beating
Cause I just wanna look good for you, good for you
I just wanna look good for you, good for you
let me show you how proud I am to be yours
leave that dress a mess on the floor
and still look good for you, good for you”
This song breaks my heart. The next song simply put, irritates me in a matter-of-fact kind of way. I simply dislike the song and I absolutely dislike the message being sent out to not only girls and women but to men and boys. It’s belittling to the female role in a relationship!
The lyricist and artist who sings the song, seems to be making an attempt to praise up the women he is with. He say’s he’ll never cheat because she’s the girl for him. Hmmm… I wonder why she is the girl for him? Well, the chorus gives the big reveal. Because this guy has found himself a cheerleader! I mean, who wouldn’t want a cheerleader to rally them on with every decision, big or small… or forget about decisions, how about just actions like… simply finishing a bowl of cereal in the morning, don’t we all deserve a big pat on the back for that? Sure, this is great, if this guys idea of the perfect partner is someone who is ‘always there’ when he needs her, never gives an opinion, never offers advice or counsel, but simply cheers on his every act in life, and she looks good while doing it to boot!
What is this saying to people!?!? Don’t get me wrong, I completely, 100% advocate supportive relationships. In fact, I promote that behavior in spousal relationships - when it is two sided. But someone who truly loves their partner will not only offer praise, validation and encouragement they will also offer loving advice, counsel and at times wisdom that may not agree with their spouse, if it is in their spouses best interest and for the over-all good, safety and growth of their relationship. That is what love is! No, it’s not a cheerleader-role, because that is not a true supporter, a cheerleader is voiceless (metaphorically speaking) a pretty face, who, when we watch them at games, sit on the sidelines until it is their time to do their job (of cheering), they are not allowed to offer any advice or counsel but simply…. cheer, cheer, cheer, praise, praise, praise. Don’t get me wrong, I have no ill-will against cheerleaders. But when it comes to being called one in a relationship as the verb to best describe you! I find it offensive, and you should too.
But let’s put these two songs aside to look at a more serious matter. This next song is so incredibly crafted it took me multiple casual listens to finally realize what was being said! And when the realization hit me, I turned off the radio so quickly it was as though sin was seeping through the speakers and into my soul. Critically this song received a lot of praise for it’s ‘brave’ statement by the singer. The song is called provocative for it’s incredibly suggestive lyrics. What is the song about? Well, according to the songs own Wikepedia “the song is about sexually experimenting with a female lover during summertime” and it shot straight up the charts in dozens of countries in no time. It’s written in such a subtle way (by one of the top songwriters in the world, someone I once would have done anything to write with!), it is easy to assume most people have no idea what they are gleefully humming along to! But perhaps, after a few listens one lyric begins to beg the question “What is this young female singer talking about?”
“Take me down into your paradise
Don't be scared 'cause I'm your body type”
Once that lyrics meaning is unwrapped the remaining lyrics fly off the page like uncovering a bad secret, but this is no secret! One of the most suggestive, disgusting, sinful lyrics to hit mainstream radio in recent history by a popular pop star. The lyric gives me chills for how down right in-your-face it is, and the song is so cleverly written once you’re ‘hooked’ it might be hard to turn it off once it comes on.
Media is subtle. It’s alluring. It’s inviting. It’s fun. It’s enjoyable… and it might be leading the world down a very dark and twisted path. Sin, just like Faith, begins as a tiny seed. The more it is fed, the larger it grows. Step by step our conscious will, morals and values get chipped away. No one wants to be the ‘stickler’ or deprive themselves of the fun everyone else is enjoying. But where is it leading? Certainly not to the feet of Jesus. Certainly not to a life that is free and filled with peace, love and joy.. and positive relationships!
Do I feel like some crazy, right winged, extremist pointing out songs that millions of good people have been enjoying and singing along too all summer? Absolutely!! I even feel a slight sense of embarrassment and fear of backlash I might receive. But at the same time I am so thankful that my conscious, the Holy Spirit within me, is still alerting me to the poisons, that are so alluring and inviting all around me. And that my heart and mind is still close enough to God to be listening, discerning and making judgment calls on what I will allow to enter into my system and what I simply will not allow.
At this very time I’m in the midst of raising funds to make my next Christ-Centered, positive, inspiring, uplifting Christian album. And I’m not going to lie, it has been tough!!! Encouraging people to donate and pre-order a $15 album that will most likely never hit mainstream airways is not as inviting as investing in a guilty pleasure. When I was in pop music I had a near million dollar budget for every album I made!! And now that I’m in Christian music, I pray long and hard for every dollar I receive, hoping to be able to raise a few thousand dollars to make this next one. We are not fighting against humans, but the evils of this world. The ruler of this world controls the domain of fame, power and finances. But in the face of this, there is good, solid, heartfelt Christian media and music out there, with not nearly the recognition, money or quality because the funds simply aren’t there. But God is! And on whatever scale my next album will be made and heard I know it will help someone, somewhere in whatever circumstance they are experiencing. We are fighting a daily battle and the stakes are high! Let God speak to you and lead you daily. For the devil is a raging lion, waiting to devour, and he is subtle… so very subtle.