Sunday, November 13, 2011

Whose message is louder?

I've been thinking a lot about song lyrics lately. At my job, my students are constantly asking if I can play their favorite songs while they are working on assignments. I sometimes do, although usually I just play music that I like (this often overlaps with what they like too, to some regard). Because of the standards of our school (and of common professional society for the most part), I have to be very aware of the lyrics of songs. Content must be completely clean to be played in our school. No bad language, drugs, sex, violence, etc.

Because of this, I think I have become hyper-aware of the messages that popular songs seem to be glorifying lately.

I must say though, I am generally pretty open minded about music. The presets on my radio are 3 top-40 stations, 2 country stations, one oldies station, and I frequently dial surf for anything that sounds good at the moment. Lately I have spent most of my time on the oldies and country stations because I am offended by the messages publicized by the top-40 stations. Take for example the lyrics to this song by Hot Chelle Rae:

Let’s get it on, yeah, y’all can come along
Everybody drinks on me, buy out the bar
Just to feel like I’m a star, now I’m thanking the academy
Missed my ride home, lost my iPhone
I wouldn’t have it any other way
If you’re with me let me hear you say

I like it like that!
Hey windows down, chillin’ with the radio on
I like it like that!
Damn, the sun’s so hot, make the girls take it all off
I like it like that!
Yeah, one more time, I can never get enough of everybody
Sing it right back, I like it like that!
(I like it like that, I like it like that)

Till the break of the dawn, yeah, party on my lawn
Whistle as the girls walk by if the cops roll up (so what?)
Pour the cops a cup cause everybody’s here tonight
Call a taxi, pack the back seat
I wouldn’t have it any other way
If you’re with me let me hear you say

I like it like that!
Hey windows down, chillin’ with the radio on
I like it like that!
Damn, the sun’s so hot, make the girls take it all off
I like it like that!
Yeah, one more time, I can never get enough of everybody
Sing it right back, I like it like that!



(for other examples like this one see: Katy Perry "Last Friday Night", LMFAO "Party Rock Anthem")


After working with teens who have gotten into trouble for exactly this kind of behavior; to you I say: are we surprised that some kids think that this is normal behavior? That this is what happiness is? This is not an isolated example. I bet you that at least 75% of all of the top-40 songs right now have at least some of these party-lifestyle-glorifying messages in them. So many of the kids that I have worked with really think this is the way teenagers and young adults are supposed to act. The popular media that has so much influence on youth is preaching that this is fun. This is normal. This is acceptable. Expected even.

Well, I can say that I work every day with the reasons why this type of life is NOT a good idea. I see the consequences, the heartache, the tears, the scars, the brain damage. 

I have been thinking so much about how extremely influential the media is, especially to teens. Now that I am a parent, I am constantly hoping and praying that my influence and my message will be louder than popular media. I want MY standards to be the most influential upon my children. I know this is possible, and I pray every day that I can do it.

I am no expert, but I do believe that involved parents with a loving, kind, nurturing and protecting influence can help kids believe that this type of lifestyle is not one of happiness.  It is one of sadness and darkness. Kids don't know that yet - they haven't lived long enough or experienced enough to understand. You have to teach them. Teach them the right way from the very beginning. Teach them in love, and be there for them to help them grow and understand the way things REALLY are. Consequences and all.  

Trust me, there are consequences for all of our actions. Hopefully we can learn from the experiences of others before we have to make the same mistakes.

I know with the help of God I can be that type of parent. That is my greatest wish in life; to be the kind of parent that will teach my children the right way - and that they will believe me.

Are you surprised that I have been spending so much time on the oldies station? I'm not. This is just one example of the type of messages I hear in those songs:

James Taylor: Devoted to You
Darling you can count on me
'Till the sun dries up the sea
Until then I'll always be
Devoted to you

I'll be yours 'till endless time
I'll adore your charms sublime
Guess by now you know that I'm
Devoted to you

I'll never hurt you
I'll never lie
I'll never be untrue
I'll never give you reason to cry
I'd be unhappy if you were blue
Through the years our love will grow
Like a river it will flow
It can't die because I'm so
Devoted to you


Okay. #offmysoapboxnow

1 comments:

Dani & Jake said...

I love this. I feel like ever since I had my daughter I am turing into my mom when it comes to music choice. But seriously, why would I want her listening to music that tells her to party like crazy, get drunk, have sex, not remember a thing about it, and then do it again the next weekend? I know it's catchy and all... but seriously? Maybe I will just buy my daughter an iPod when she is really young and fill it with a bunch of music I like and pretend the radio never existed :)