Raise your hand if this has happened to you: you get in the car, for no matter how short a drive, and a song comes on. A song that glorifies all the wrong things and rejects the beauty of the Good. What’s worse, the longer you are in the car with the radio on, the more likely this song is on not one, not two, but three stations at.the.same.time. Or, for the hour-plus trips, on the same station not one or two but three times.
This is my recent battle with the airwaves and Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse.” Last summer it was “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, which I can’t even [link brings you to article about how the lyrics are also words used by rapists]. But for the last several months—no matter how stale it must be by now (its release was September 2013–an eternity has passed in pop music)—“Dark Horse” invades my car, my ears, and my brain.
“Dark Horse” is awful. Its view of human sexuality—particularly female sexuality—is quite disgusting. It purports the lie that our power as women comes from our ability to be dynamos in bed. It advocates a falsehood on how we are to treat men (note: it’s not to “eat your heart out like Jeffrey Dahmer” – EW!). The worst part is that its tempo, beat, and whole packaging has been created to try to appeal to the ear—an ear worm—and to excite the ego so that when listening to just the music, you’re ensorceled to the point you don’t fully reflect on the lyrics. Yet another bearing of false witness.
Its overplay on the radio makes me wonder: Whatever happened to “Unconditionally”? Released in the same 12-month time-span, this ballad by the same artist—the young woman who was a Christian artist with Christian parents and values—is hardly ever heard on the airwaves in New England. I should know. I spent up to 2 hours in the car every day for work, and four hours every other weekend to see Mr. Sweet.
“Unconditionally” is a message of Truth and Good. Just imagine God serenading you with these words.
“Come just as you are to me
Don’t need apologies
Know that you are worthy
I’ll take your bad days with your good
Walk through the storm I would
I do it all because I love you, I love you”
That is the love He has for us. And that is the love we are called to. Now click play and imagine yourself singing the words to God.
Now, I have heard that many radio stations are owned by conglomerates and that music companies have contracts with the conglomerates so stations are actually obligated in a binding agreement to play certain songs a ridiculous number of times and never some other songs because the poor indie bands have no money and their producers no power.
But it is really shameful that beautiful songs and messages aren’t flooding the airwaves and inspiring hearts. My prayer is that there is a conversion of hearts among artists, producers, radio station owners, and listeners so that everyone has freedom to create and enjoy Beauty.