As the old adage goes, you are what you listen to.
‘Open-minded’ teens contest this, saying that music is a means in expressing gut-wrenching and pent-up emotions. No holds barred. No need for censorship. Be true to what your heart screams. Music, as a form of art, is meant to be free; to make young people free to be who they want to be.
Famous rappers and artists sing of being ‘young, wild & free.’ So what we get drunk, so what we smoke weed, we don’t care who sees, as the famous song goes. An anthem so familiar to teenagers everywhere, this has unconsciously become a mindset so subtly accepted today.
Look at the following lyrics in some songs dubbed as anthems of this generation.
We found love in a ‘hopeless’ place.
Let’s do ‘it’ tonight, give me everything tonight!
Last Friday night, we danced on tabletops and we took too many shots, think we kissed but I forgot.
Catchy? Those familiar with these songs will definitely say YES. We bob our heads each time these are played on the radio or in our own iPod’s. We get entertained and leisurely, we are drawn into a world of our own, isolated from the world we dare to run away from. But look out! Listen closely. Before long, you will discover what some of these melodic tunes actually suggest. Tones of recklessness, depression, immaturity (towards love), booty calls and sex (and more sex) turn up! This is the reality no matter how we may try to evade the facts. Thinking about it, is this how we really want our generation to be portrayed and to be remembered?
Another artist took the Manila stage last night – Nicki Minaj. Her song ‘Superbass’ debuted at #1 in charts worldwide upon its release, and got everyone singing ‘boom, badoom, boom, boom, badoom, boom bass (I’m sure you sang it as well while reading).’ The world is drawn to her pink/blue/blonde hairdos, wildly-coloured outfits and pop tunes; no doubt, she is an endearing and well-liked entertainer. Expectedly, her thousands of screaming fans were ecstatic over the concert last night at the Arena as it had trended in Twitter.
BUT are her songs as sweet and charming as her bubblegum appeal?
Nicki’s latest hit ‘Starships’ enthused party goers to raise their hands up while singing ‘Starships were meant to fly. Hands up, and touch the sky. Can’t stop, cause we’re so high, let’s do this one more time.’ Innocent? Sing a few stanza’s more, and you’ll be surprised to find these naughty lines – ‘But f-ck who you want, and f-ck who you like.’ Still blameless? We beg to differ.
Young people dance and party away to such nonsense and vulgar tones. They get high with the music, and presume ‘there is nothing wrong, because we are just having fun.’ In the 2012 Grammy Awards, Nicki Minaj shocked audiences when she hit the red carpet with a man dressed as the pope. Later on, her performance showcased a mock confessional skit, a mock exorcism, and a production number provoking a sexual statement with choir boys and monks dancing. With the catholic faith being disrespected and laughed at, can we still dismiss this kind of entertainment as fun?
Let us come to our senses, and turn the lights on. What should we do now?
ü Be on guard with the music artists you listen to. Pay attention to the meaning of their songs before you get enthralled, and rid yourself of what is vulgar and impure. As said in Sirach 23:15, ‘a man who has the habit of abusive language will never mature in character as long as he lives.’
ü Stand for what is right. The line between what defines freedom of expression versus going overboard with it has been blurred for a long time. Mocking the faith has been a trend in pop culture, but do we let it pass just like that? With a God who has done great things in our lives, we cannot fall silent to the ground when the Church he represents is in jeopardy.
ü Invest your time only on what builds your character, on what is worth it. Being young is the best time to discover hidden potentials and tap onto limitless possibilities. Allow yourself to be formed the righteous way by nurturing yourself with good influences in music and the like. Choose what is good for you, and you’ll be on your way to becoming the best version of yourself.
It is a fact. Music influences the way we think and the way we look at life. We may not be keen to admit it, but the kind of music we integrate into our system reflects what we value most. With so many songs bombarding day in and day out us on who we are, who we should be and how we should live our life, it is best to assess, what kind of music fills up your day? Undoubtedly, you are what you listen to. The more important question is, who are you?