A Musical Window into Our World
Dr. James Emery WhiteJames Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina; President of Serious Times, a ministry which explores the intersection of faith and culture (www.serioustimes.org); and ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture on the Charlotte campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Dr. White holds the B.S., M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees, along with additional work at Vanderbilt University and Oxford University. He is the author of over a dozen books.
- 2011 Mar 24
If music provides a window into our world or, even more, itself influences and shapes culture, have you been listening to the radio lately? Or checked out the top iTunes downloads?
Here are the top ten songs. Some titles speak for themselves in terms of their character and/or intent. For the ones that might not, I’ve cited some of the lyrics for explanation.
1. “F**kin’ Perfect” by Pink.
(A self-esteem anthem…but with feeling.)
2. “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga.
“No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life / I’m on the right track baby”
3. “F**k You” by Cee Lo Green.
(A heartfelt goodbye to a former girlfriend.)
4. “Tonight” by Enrique Iglesias.
“I know you want me / I made it obvious that I want you too / So put it on me… / I love the way / you shake that a**”
5. “Grenade” by Bruno Mars.
“Black, black, black and blue, beat me ‘til I’m numb / Tell the devil I said, hey, when you get back to where you’re from / Mad women, bad women, that’s just what you are, yeah / You’ll smile in my face then rip the brakes from my car
…[But] I’d catch a grenade for ya / Throw my hand on a blade for ya / I’d jump in front of a train for ya / You know I’d do anything for ya”
6. “Hey Baby” by Pitbull.
“If your girl wanna play, let her go / Hey baby girl, what you doin' tonight? / I wanna see what you got in store / Hey baby, givin' it your all when you're dancin' on me / I wanna see if you can give me some more / Hey baby, you can be my girl, I can be your man / And we can pump this jam however you want / Hey baby, pump it from the side, bend it upside down / Or we can pump it from the back to the front / …Now let me see where the lord split ya”
7. “S & M” by Rihanna.
“Cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it / Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it / Sticks and stones may break my bones / But chains and whips excite me”
8. “More” by Usher.
“Watch me as I dance under the spotlight- / Listen to the people screaming out more and more, / 'Coz I create the feeling that keep 'em coming back, / Yeah, I create the feeling that keep 'em coming back, / So captivating when I get it on the floor.
I'm a beast, I'm an animal, / I'm that monster in the mirror, / The headliner, finisher, I'm the closer, winner. / Best when under pressure with seconds left I show up.”
9. “Blow” by Ke$ha.
"Now what (What) / We're taking control / We get what we want / We do what you don't / Dirt and glitter cover the floor / We're pretty and sick / We're young and we're bored (Ha)”
10. “Coming Home” by Diddy-Dirty Money.
“what if the twins ask why I ain’t marry their mom (why, damn!) / how do I respond? / what if my son stares with a face like my own / and says he wants to be like me when he’s grown / sh*t! But I ain’t finished growing”
So let’s add this up.
Among the top ten songs in the United States, two have the word ”F**k” in the title; four others promote – and I do mean promote – rampant promiscuity, including homosexuality and sadomasochism; the remaining four glorify narcissism, hedonism, dysfunctional relationships and irresponsible parenting.
But not just ten songs.
Hopefully, ten wake-up calls.
James Emery White
“Music charts: Who rules radio this week?”, USA Today. Read online.
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