A couple of months back I was persuaded by an affordable promotion to renew my Sirius subscription. I now enjoy uninterrupted listening pleasure as I run about town. OK, it’s not always pleasurable, but it is very interesting. Musically, I am pleased to see that graphic, gangsta rap has run its course and now must content itself with a small subset of society. I am pleased that country music is almost indistinguishable from pop. The only way to identify a country singer nowadays is their love for Stetsons and vowels. Electronic sounds are back in vogue, all we need now is the neon spandex and it’s the 80’s all over again. Sadly, my greatest longing remains unfulfilled—the world of hard rock has little talent and even less popularity.
Style aside, the message in the music fascinates me. Songwriters are the bards of society and their lyrics tend to reflect the national mindset. If you want to know what American’s care about, turn up the radio, our values and preoccupations are broadcasted repeatedly 24/7. Much of it is depressingly vapid! “I can’t live without you” is contrasted with “I am better off without you”, and lest we forget, “sex is lots of fun.” Genius, pure genius!
But if you listen carefully there are some encouraging sounds, amongst the dross is some silver. Rising from amongst the insipid are some divine longings that reflect the human need for approval and redemption. Interspersed in these cries are numerous biblical images and references. Despite the provocative and defiant culture amongst artists, their hearts still cry out for salvation.
Look at some of these lyrics and notice their spiritual longings:
- “If you get lost, you can always be found.” Phillip Phillips (Home)
- “Hey, anybody in this world? Can you talk to me a while? Find a reason for it all?” Goo Goo Dolls (Nothing is Real)
- “Don’t you worry, don’t you worry, child. See heaven’s got a plan for you.” Swedish Mafia House (Don’t You Worry Child)
- “Now I’ll be bold, As well as strong, And use my head alongside my heart, So tame my flesh, And fix my eyes, A tethered mind freed from the lies.” Mumford and Sons (I will Wait)
- “Yeah, I am born again, out of the lion’s den, I don’t have to pretend.” Katty Perry (Wide Awake)
- “The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell.” Imagine Dragons (It’s Time)
No doubt, these sentiments are not all meant to point to Christ, but indirectly they do. In each person is a longing for significance and hope. Give them enough time and they will sing it out loud.
I am sure I have missed many. Can you think of other current lyrics that reflect our spiritual need?