A weekly review of music news through the lens of music as gift or god.
Beliebers, Lisztomania and a Misdirected Sense of Awe
PBS Idea Channel took a look at the reasons why people have extreme emotional responses to art (that is, if you are comfortable with categorizing Justin Bieber’s music as art) and how the cult of personality plays into the fandom of artists. A lot of interesting things to take away from this video such as the sense of awe being directed towards created things instead of God, how art functions as a way to remove people from their current life into a moment of transcendence and how our reaction to art is often times guided by the community which surrounds us. Watch the video below and tell us what you think.
Taylor Swift has been pre-releasing songs from her upcoming album Red on YouTube and this week released the song “State of Grace”. She had this to say about the song:
I wrote this song about when you first fall in love with someone … the possibilities, kind of thinking about the different ways that it could go. It’s a really big sound. To me, this sounds like the feeling of falling in love in an epic way … I hope you like it.
But if you look at Swift’s personal life (which she bases most of her songs on) those first feelings of love are extremely transitory as the title of another song off the album indicates, “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” What at first seems like epic love in the end tends to unfortunately, be a disaster for Swift.
When I first heard Psy’s “Gangnam Style” on the radio, I found it interesting that American radio stations would play a song which is sung almost entirely in a foreign language. I thought, “Is it possible that the musical palette of Americans could be broadening as we are becoming an increasingly global culture?” This is what Luke Larsen at Christ and Pop Culture explores in this thoughtful article. He states:
Somewhere between our subconscious spirit of American Exceptionalism and monolingualism rests a clear unwillingness to engage with media that is not in English. We respect ideas and concepts from other countries, but aren’t usually ready to open up to the world.
Then encourages all of us to leave behind our misconceptions about other cultures and embrace other human beings:
If we have any desire of reaching out to people outside our homes both personally and culturally, fear of “the other” — of people unlike ourselves — has to be a trait we learn to leave behind.
God has created so much beauty in the world that for a nation to ignore all the beauty which other cultures produce leaves us with a narrow view of God’s creative work through humanity.
Recently, there was some controversy over Christian rapper Lecrae’s inclusion of the secular rapper Big K.R.I.T. on the track “Mayday” from his Gravity album. In this article I wrote for Christ and Pop Culture, I explored the conception of the song as well as the lyrical content finding that the song presents K.R.I.T.’s wrestle with the gospel not his denial of it. I further argued that Christian art should aim to be truthful about our fallen state and that we are all wrestling with sin as we try to live under the gospel.