Monday, July 17, 2006

Pop, pop, pop, pop music...and culture

My dear friend, supermom, started a little back and forth, give and take kinda thing regarding a little pop starlet named Kelly Clarkson. Maybe you've heard of her (yes, in the name of all that's good maybe somebody hasn't). I tried to let it die peacefully, but no, supermom had to put a little comment on one of my posts, then, I earned an entry on her blog. Actually, I feel kind of special, I think she has about 100 million people who read her blog, and I was worthy of being a topic! I had to break Sting out on her. I know, that's pretty harsh, but, she said it was ON, so you do what you gotta, right?

Truth of the matter is, we are having a good time with it, but, dangit, it made me start thinking. Does anybody know how hard that is? Thinking? Anyway, the conversation we had when she along with her wonderful family treated my family to a lovely evening was that I wasn't a "believer" in Kelly yet. I appreciate that she wrote more on this last album. I appreciate the honesty in the lyrics, even if they aren't as moving and poetic as someone like Sting. I think "Because of You" combined with the video she filmed for it has some powerful redemption and reconciliation themes. I'm just not convinced that she won't go running back to "American Idol" teen pop crap if she has the slightest dip in record sales or TRL appearances. I made a crack in the comments about comparing Kelly to Brittney Spears even though she clearly is light years better as a singer and an artist. That was mostly to fire up supermom, and it was a raging success : ) There are some similarities that bug me, though. Have you seen some the rags Kelly's had on in some recent videos? Her "new" image? Pisses me off, frankly. Which brings me to what I really want to post about. My blossoming love/hate relationship with pop culture.

I love culture. What people are influenced by, how they dress, how they express themselves, their language and what fuels them. I think we have a distinct call as followers of Jesus to understand, relate, and even enjoy our culture. To be in the world. The things that move and shake and motivate our culture are also the places where people are likely crying out for God, and the places He is already busy at work waiting for His hands and feet, a.k.a. the Church, to say "here am I, send me." I think for the church to see the broken and hurting in this world find Kingdom Life we must love and embrace the culture.

I hate POP culture. This part of the culture at large is enslaving, deceitful, fake, and manipulative. It puts people on dangerous paths regarding how they treat their body, how they treat their family, and what they value. Another good friend talked about the marketing part of this in a recent post. Pop culture can disguise crap, like the Hillary Duff song supermom sarcastically referred to and put on her blog for all to hear (still have a twitch), and make a few people wealthy feasting on truth starved brains. It seems some people are experts at finding the brokenness of people and instead of offering healing they take advantage and deceive.

I guess I'm thinking we have a two faceted response to our culture. One facet is to embrace, understand, and live in. To let the religious leaders of our day see us as "friends of sinners, gluttons and drunkards". We're in good company, really good company if we're viewed this way. The second facet is to subvert culture, to offer something that is counter to the manipulation, lies, and chameleon like lifestyle our culture pushes. I'm not talking about the church sub culture, I'm talking about the message and lifestyle, the culture if you will, of the Kingdom of Heaven.

What if when Jesus said the "truth shall set you free" He wasn't referring to your belief about dispensationalism or predestination or women preachers but about who He is, and about who you are, and about the mission He is on that He wants us to join.

Okay, so I got a little reflective on some silly fun with some music. I can honestly say that I hope with each new release that Kelly stays the path, continues to get more authentic, and offers hope in what she has to say. Only time will tell. In the meantime, we can hold our lives up to the mirror of Truth and let it shine in the deepest parts of our souls.


LiteratureLover said...

Great post. I like the way you explained it. Because I love her voice, I hope Kelly stays the path.

P.S. Have you read Avril's lyrics? wink

SuperMom said...

Aw, Poet. Now you've gone and made it hard for me to stay fired up at you. What a great post!

I will agree with you. Kelly's wardrobe has a lot to be desired. But I do think a lot of that has to do with being a woman in the music industry. You don't see as many scantily clad male singers. I mean, even Jewel kind of sold out there for a while and tried to like a tart.

So sad.

Thanks for engaging me :-)

soulreavers said...

Funny thing about Jewel...that "sell out" she did for her song was a try at making fun of the commercialization of "whatever." Oops, kinda backfired.

Very good post Poet, definitely makes you take a step back, look, think, and go "Huh."

ampguy said...

Ah yes, but at what point does the Judge become...The Judged? Reflect on that ye ole hippie!