We all too familiar with the adage of be carefull of the songs we sing or listen to, because it has the potential to influence and affect the way we think and live. I remember a song from my childhood days that goes,
“Oh, be careful little ears, what you hear. For the Father Up above, Is looking down in love, So be careful little ears what you hear.”
After a chat with a buddy of mine about a popular song, I had to ask myself when is it ok to endorse a song? Or what does endorsing a song look like? Is it when we sing it? Or have it on our iPods, or phones, or laptops?
In youth ministry we are to stay abreast of trends and culture. We are to know what’s new, what’s hot and what’s not. We need to be aware of who the new cultural stars, influencers and movers are. But where do we draw the line with following trends?
The song I’m referring to above is “We are Young” by Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe. The song was released late 2011 and has been one of the most downloaded songs for the past few months since its release (see Billboard.com). It has also been scripted in the series Glee (Season Three Episode: Hold on to Sixteen) and now in South Africa where it has been used in a car commercial. The message of the song promotes some pretty bad behaviour and if we are not careful we could be led astray by the beat or enticing melody and land ourselves in some hot water. Let’s be honest, it sure is a fun (pun not intended 🙂 ) song to listen to and can be quite addictive.
But before I get carried away, what does this song promote. Quite clearly it promotes substance abuse; binge drinking; and consequences of such behaviour which could be numerous (what is the logical conclusion of carry me home tonight after I drank too much?). What about the scar that’s being referred to? Is it physical? Emotional? Is it abuse because the lover is apologising profusely?
I can understand how this songs can touch on the immortality and recklessness that defines young people. How they can conquer the world and live in the moment of pure bliss. I can see and experience how this songs tugs at the heart and creates pure desire for the beauty of NOW. Of camaraderie and friendship. But it is misplaced. If we are not careful, we can encourage this misplacing of youthful abandonment and could have disastrous consequences.
Is that the kind of message we want to endorse?
Have a look at the video and see how easy it is to fall for the song.