You could blink, and almost miss it, but Taylor Swift has absolutely nailed the state of culture and this generation in her interview with 60 Minutes. Here’s a link to a snippet of the interview.“The truth of it is that every singer out there with songs on the radio is raising the next generation, so make your words count.”
Wow. Think about that for a moment.
My daughter, just turning 9, has recently discovered MTV, and the moment has arrived for me where she is suddenly more aware of the latest names in popular music than I am. When Rita Ora comes on, there’s a yelp of “oooh I love this song” and the volume suddenly goes up on the TV.
Already being aware of the sexual nature of many music videos, I’ve been keeping a check on what she’s been watching, but out of curiosity I Googled the lyrics to the Rita Ora song How We Do. This is not the worst song for lyrics that’s graced the charts (nor is it the best), but it was surprising when examining the words about how unsuitable the themes were for a child. Although MTV and radio mute the swear words, the themes of drinking, partying, sex and smoking still shine through.
And you know what… a righteous anger began to build in me. A typical child from aged 6 upwards will be aware of, know the words of and identify with the personalities that typically fill the top 40 charts. We wonder why society has such a casual approach to sex, why binge drinking is so common and why marriage is no longer sacred. Could it be, as Taylor Swift alludes, that we have a generation that has been raised on a soundtrack of morals opposite to the standards set by the Bible?
I became angry at Rita Ora – how dare she think it’s OK to raise my children through her music…I mean, has she actually thought about the influence her songs might have? Does she realise the responsibility she actually has when delivering through the medium of music?
Of course, the need for freedom of expression through the creative arts is the opposite argument, and I don’t disagree with this. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. What I’m wondering is – has Rita Ora (or the many other music artists out there) ever truly stopped to think about their influence on the young generation.
A few years ago Daniel Bedingfield released a song called If You’re Not The One. When I first heard it on the radio, something resounded within the lyrics that told of a purer, healthier love. It was so refreshing to hear lyrics like:“If you’re not for me then why do I dream of you as my wife?”
and“And I pray in you’re the one I build my home with
I hope I love you all my life”
Would we see a moral shift in our generation if our pop songs were filled with devotion, dedication, life-long partnerships, marriage, wholeness, faithfulness and sobriety? What a refreshing change it would make!
So Rihanna, Rita Ora, Pink, Lady Ga Ga and whoever else is out there – what generation are YOU raising?
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