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Lyrical Doubletake

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I listen to a lot of music. I mean… A LOT. A 1TB iPod (a Terabyte is one thousand gigabytes or one million megabytes, if they made them that large… hint hint Apple) wouldn’t be able to contain my vast library of curious, crazy, craptastic and compelling music. From French rapper Akhenaton (@AkhenatonIAM) to CCM and pop artist Amy Grant (@amygrant) to chiptune indie-rock band Anamanaguchi (@anamanaguchi). It would take me nearly 2 weeks straight to listen to the A section alone.

That being said, I’m sad that a lot of new music to me isn’t even real music. I mean, they are a collection of notes and sounds. But they have no real lyrical content. No real melodic structure. Just cookie cutter, pop culture references set to music and served to the masses through commercials, movie soundtracks and lame radio “I caught you sleepin’ wit my (wo)man!” dedications.

Every now and then, I’ll go back and listen to an “oldie”. You know, back during the time when it wasn’t about who produced your album or if you won a Grammy (yeah, way WAY back), but about musicianship, talent, who wrote the song and why.  At least, that was my theory.  But this theory was shot to pieces today while I was listening to a few throwback songs and realized that the lyrics to one of my favorites was… how should I say… disturbing?

The Beatles “Run For Your Life”

Well I’d rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or I won’t know where I am

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end, little girl

Wait, come again?? They’re basically telling this woman that “I’m so jealous, that I would kill you before I’d let you be with another man!” The rest of the song continues the theme of warning her about his intent to kill her. Yeah, that’s some hit material right there. I mean, I know that things like that happen, but why are songs like this still so popular?

I’ve noticed that more than a few of today’s artists have capitalized on the disgruntled love interest theme. At any given hour I can turn on the radio (wait, do people still do that?) or browse YouTube and hear a few dozen songs about getting caught cheating, lying about cheating, being hurt by someone who cheated, making money by being selfish, relationships built on being selfish, money being the primary focus of life, sex being the primary goal of relationships, etc, etc. Well… you get my point.

It makes me wonder if society should hold artists to a higher standard for the content of their songs, or is it simply that these songs accurately reflect what most people are thinking, but just are afraid to say. I would hope it’s the former.

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