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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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.