Music


Walmart has been asking Green Day to do a ‘Radio Edit’ copy of their latest album ’21st Century Breakdown’.greenday

“Wal-Mart said that it’s the company’s long-standing policy not to stock any CD with a parental advisory sticker.”

“As with all music, it is up to the artist or label to decide if they want to market different variations of an album to sell, including a version that would remove a PA rating,” Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa O’Brien said. “The label and artist in this case have decided not to do so, so we unfortunately can not offer the CD.”

Which begs at least one question…’How do they sell any rap CDs?’

And I don’t know…begs I guess another question…’Given the nature of music in the 21st century, given the nature and power of iTunes and the MP3, given that the Black Eye Peas new album comes out soon (one version of the new album is available exclusively at Target…LOL Walmart) also and is trying to revinvent the idea of the CD and the album, given all of these things…who even buys CDs anymore?’

Sounds like Walmart is experiencing it’s own ’21st Century Breakdown’.

Read the whole story here.

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kanye-west-spinApparently someone fronting themselves as Kanye West on Twitter had over a 1,000,000 people following his every activity. Kanye apparently found out about it and had the following things to say about it:

“I DON’T HAVE A F**KING TWITTER!”

“Why would I use Twitter? I only blog five percent of what I’m up to in the first place. I’m actually slow delivering content because I’m too busy, actually busy being creative, most of the time – and if I’m not and I’m just laying on a beach I wouldn’t tell the world.”

“Everything that Twitter offers, I need less of,”twitter-logo

First, if you blogged five percent of what you did with your life, how many entries a day would you have? On your blog? On your Twitter, if you have one? I don’t have a Twitter, but can you imagine if you posted, micro-blogged, even 5% of what you do daily on Twitter? Who has time to read that many micro-posts from a person.

Second, it does bring up the issue, with Twitter especially, but with any electronic
form of posting, Twitter, blogs, Facebook, myspace: how do you know the person posting is who they are and what they say they are? There is alot of trust given and freely taken in the electronic world in regards to who people say they are and what they represent.

Third, I for one completely agree with Kanye West about Twitter. I’m online too much, too much of my communication happens via email, gchat messages, or Facebook…the last thing I need is Twitter. I need less of what Twitter offers: communication without investment in the person I am communicating to. Yes, I’m aware of the irony of saying that while posting a note on Facebook or a blog. I need to make a greater commitment to communicating directly to people and recognizing that as an investment not just in our relationship but in them as a person.

Communication without that investment and without emotional commitment at some point will begin to feel very disengenious, inauthentic and selfish.

The question for those of us in youth ministry is not just how can we use these tools to enhance out ministries to young people, but what is the appropriate amount of usage? These tools can be very handy for connecting with very busy kids, but they are no replacement for healthy, caring, Christ centered relationships. It’s why Christ came down to earth, in human form, spoke to people, touched people, loved people instead of just yelling down from heaven, ‘Hey you guys! (think Sloth from the movie ‘Goonies’), I really really really love you. I love you so much I would die for you. Keep that in mind, alright?!’

Read the whole Kanye diatribe here if you want.

This week there are a number of big music releases on the horizon. the biggest perhaps is Green Day’s follow up to ‘American Idiot’. In the UK, close behind it is the new Manic Street Preachers. On the list is also the very long awaited ‘Relapse’ from Eminem.

I’ve never been a big Eminem fan at all, but I will admit that some of his songs have an infectious quality that drag you in and make you listen to them. There is a rawness and authenticity to his story telling that is intriguing and inviting.

At first glance though this album looks to be a trainwreck waiting to happen…especially if you have young children or work with young people. The title is ‘Relapse’ and the album artwork is full of pills and drugs. The majority of the songs appear to have significant language issues, clearly not for virgin ears.

Buried underneath alot of the ‘cringe-worthy’ stuff are some real gems.
The song ‘Beautiful’ is perhaps the best example.

eminem

Read some of the lyrics in the song below: (Chorus)
in my shoes, just to see
what its like, to be me
ill be you, lets trade shoes
just to see what itd be like
to feel your pain, you feel mine
go inside eachothers minds
just to see what we’d find
look at s**t through eachothers eyes
it dont matter saying you aint beautiful
they can all get f**ked just stay true to you
dont matter saying you aint beautiful
they can all get f**ked just stay true to you
so
it dont matter saying you aint beautiful
they can all get f**ked just stay true to you

The language isn’t great…but Marshall is telling his listeners that his life isn’t easy either…but to really understand and care for each other they need to deeply understand and experience each other’s lives. He exhorts his listeners to stay true to who they are, continuing the message from the verses to not sell out to their friends expectations, and to never believe anyone who says they aren’t beautiful.

The outro is even better:
yeah
to my babies
stay strong
daddy will be home soon
and to the rest of the world
god gave you shoes to fit you
so put em on and wear them
be yourself man
be proud of who you are
and even if it sounds corny
dont ever let anyone tell you you ain’t beautiful

Is Eminem getting ‘soft’ or as he says ‘corny’ with old age? God gave each of us shoes to fit…don’t put on someone else’s shoes…wear the ones we’ve been given and alway believe we are beautiful.

These are the messages that I wish would ring through more often through secular music. These are the messages that I wish that would ring through in credible, authentic, and relevant ways in ‘Christian’ music.

Kids in our youth ministries and communities will be listening to this album and this track despite how we feel about the language and the album artwork. Will you be left out in the cold when kids are talking about it? Will you be an uninformed voice of disapproval or will you be an informed voice that encourages kids to understand and constructively evaluate the music they listen to? Will the messages we bring to our young people about Jesus Christ have the same authenticity, honesty and relevance of Eminem’s ‘Beautiful’?

If we think Jesus is ‘Beautiful’ and our young people are ‘Beautiful’ we better represent him with the same authenticity, honest and relevance as Eminem or risk a ‘relapse’ back into tired, boring, and repetitive messages of hope that arything but hopeful.

Below you will find the lyrics of a song, by Lily Allen from her album ‘It’s not you it’s me’ that is currently at number 12 on the UK single charts and was at number 1 for quite awhile.lily-allen-its-not-you-its-me-cd-cover-album-art

I want to be rich and I want lots of money
I don’t care about clever I don’t care about funny
I want loads of clothes and fuckloads of diamonds
I heard people die while they are trying to find them

I’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless
‘Cuz everyone knows that’s how you get famous
I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror
I’m on the right track yeah I’m on to a winner

[Chorus]
I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
When do you think it will all become clear?
‘Cuz I’m being taken over by The Fear

Life’s about film stars and less about mothers
It’s all about fast cars concussing each other
But it doesn’t matter cause I’m packing plastic
and that’s what makes my life so fucking fantastic

And I am a weapon of massive consumption
and its not my fault it’s how I’m programmed to function
I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror
I’m on the right track yeah we’re on to a winner

Chorus
I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
When do you think it will all become clear?
‘Cuz I’m being taken over by The Fear

[Bridge]
Forget about guns and forget ammunition
Cause I’m killing them all on my own little mission
Now I’m not a saint but I’m not a sinner
Now everything’s cool as long as I’m getting thinner

[Chorus]
I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
When do you think it will all become clear?
‘Cause I’m being taken over by fear

Click here to hear the song and see the video.

I hear this song (not by choice) and read the lyrics and can’t figure out if Lily Allen is being honest and forthright about how she views the world and her right to a certain ‘lifestyle’, or if she is making a very clever statement about the world she sees.

I can very easily see that she is using very clever wit and song writing to level a very serious indictment against our culture. Who would say they want ‘f*%kloads of diamonds’ ones that people die to harvest, would say they will shamelessly get naked because that is how you get famous, and that everything is cool as ‘long as i’m getting thinner’? She is very correct in her assessment that we are each programmed to be ‘weapons of mass consumption’ (my favorite line in the song). The chorus mostly convinces that she is being clever with this song. Even people committed to Kingdom living and being ‘strangers in the world’ (I Peter 1) sometimes have difficulty deciphering what is right and what is real in this world.

Sadly though, I hear this song and the way she sings it, and I’m not sure it’s all clever and might be just her gluttonous honesty…after all she is a pop-star who now thanks to a top 10 single has loads of money, clothes, cars, has been photographed topless and had the photos published (no I haven’t seen them, but I’m sure we’re all two clicks away from finding them on the web), she admits she isn’t a saint, but also says she isn’t a sinner (no amount of ‘cleverness’ helps me understand this one). Couldn’t this song be less Lily being clever and really just be the confessional of just another young, rich, popstar who shamelessly wants all this (most of us do, just have trouble admitting it publicly) but still has the insight that all this isn’t enough to make her really happy, but has never been shown another way to find happiness?

This song is emblematic of the way that even Christians are living with a foot in both worlds. We want it all, while knowing ‘all of it’ isn’t the cure. And too often the church isn’t doing enough significant de-programming of people who are convinced their primary purpose is to consume. Because consuming is good for the church also, for the church coffee bar, the pastor’s new book, the new church polo shirt, golf tournament, newest Jesus fad bracelet from the Christian bookstore, newest Christian cds from itunes, or the new 7 steps book from Joel Osteen (he has two sets of 7 steps to improve your life, both lists I’m sure include massive teeth whitening and lots of hair gel).

How are we supposed to counter the inherent message that undiscerning adolescents will take from Lily Allen’s song (whether they think she’s being cleverly critical or honest) when in most ways aren’t actually offering anything different than the world?

Check out this new song by a group called Rex The Dog.  The song is called Bubblicious and it’s from the their album ‘The Rex The Dog Show’.  I saw the video and was a bit skeptical…seemed to be a clever video that would make a mediocre song better…but then I head them sample Yaz! going way back to the 80s…needless to say I quite enjoyed it.

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