I tend to listen to Christian music. I listen to Christian radio and NPR talk radio. My favorite bands are Skillet, Pillar, and Thousand Foot Krutch. I also have a deep affection for Romantic classical music and it’s modern cinematic children from composers such as Howard Shore (soundtrack from Lord of the Rings) and John Williams (Close Encounters of the third Kind). So for some reason I’m not entirely sure of I decide to listen to some contemporary music. I flip the radio to a local pop station and I manage to last all of three minutes before I have to change. I luck out and get the traffic report but then I get probably two and a half minutes of music before I have to change again.
I tell myself that it’s because I just can’t stand how flat the music is. I’m sorry but I can only listen to so many girls complain about the boyfriend they don’t have, and I have a lot less tolerance for musical artists singing about drinking, dancing, and hedonistic existentialism. Been there, done that, burned the pictures that proved it.
When I say flat, just compare the lyrics from these two songs (I didn’t even pick one from my favorite band. This is from Breaking Benjamin which I recommend)
Suddenly the lights go out Let forever drag me down I will fight for one last breath. I will fight until the end. And I will find the enemy within because I can feel it crawl beneath my skin. Dear Agony just let go of me. Suffer slowly is this the way it’s got to be? Don’t bury me faceless enemy.
Compare to this song I had to stop listening to on the radio.
Wish I could shut my playboy mouth, oh oh oh oh how’d i turn my shirt inside out? inside out. control your poison babe, roses have thorns they say and we’re all getting hosed tonight oh oh oh oh. What’s going on on the floor? i love this record baby but i can’t see straight anymore. Keep it cool what’s the nam eof this club? I can’t remember but it’s alright just dance.
I was so annoyed and frustrated about it that I had to stop and rail internally against the shallowness of my generation but then I had to really examine myself. Is it true that my generation has fallen into a complacent pattern of shallowness allowing ourselves to be entertained by base themes – or am I snob demanding intellectual depth in a field that can and possibly should be simple entertainment? Must performance art (music, television, film theater etc) always demand that the audience engage?
I don’t have an answer here, but it makes me wonder, is it ok to just sit back be entertained?