Gaga Shama Lama Ding Dong
I believe that I have good taste in music. If that makes me a music snob then I will be the first to admit it. In my opinion, some of the best music being made today is technically proficient and creative with lyrics that elevate the songs to something greater than the sum of its parts. Unfortunately, I don’t find this artistic marriage of music and lyrics in most pop songs these days. In fact, some pop song lyrics are just plain stupid. It seems to me the whole point of some pop song lyrics is to remove the thought process from listening to music. Instead of hearing something with meaning the listener gets bubblegum gibberish. I suppose if all you want to do is shake your ass on the dance floor then the deadening of meaning can be a good thing. Who wants to think about lyrics when you are getting your freak on in a club?
Since solar eclipses occur more often than me showing off my dance moves in public, I prefer to listen to music that makes me think. When I listen to music I want to search for meanings and applications to my life. Some of my favorite songs are the ones that I associate with feelings I had or currently have, remind me of good times and bad, and inspire my future. I want songs to feel like short stories by providing windows into worlds that are not our own but are real nonetheless. A great song to me is one that you want to listen to over and over because of that one hook, that particular line of meaning, or you just don’t want to let go to the characters that live within the lyrics.
I fully understand that my music snobbery puts me in the minority. It is a rarity to find a song I like or own in the iTunes download chart. I have heard of Ke$ha but I would not be able to identify one of her songs. I know I have heard one of her songs before because someone played it for me. However, it didn’t sound anything different than what I used to hear on the mainstream radio. Same thing goes for Lady Gaga. I know her more for the outfits she wears than the music she makes. Lady Gaga is an interesting case. From what I have read about her she actually has a lot of musical talent. Yet, the lyrics to her hit song “Bad Romance” are garbage. Maybe what she needs is her own Bernie Taupin.
In general, it is hard for me to understand spoon-fed entertainment. Certainly entertainment can be a form of escape. A vacation from the complications we all face in our lives. That doesn’t mean that entertainment should strive to take the low road to mindlessness. Also, entertainment shouldn’t always have to answer all the questions it raises. Take for example two of my favorite TV series from this past decade: Battlestar Galactica and Lost. I felt both shows had rewarding endings that provided answers and closure without explaining all the mysteries of the series. However, a lot of viewers were not satisfied with the endings of the shows. They wanted more answers to the questions raised. At the end they did not want to have to search for meanings anymore. I viewed the endings of both series as an opportunity to fill in the blanks with my own interpretations. They made me want to go back and experience the stories again.
I will admit that I was a little choked up at the ending of Lost. Sure, I was going to miss the characters and their stories but they can be revisited on DVD and, hopefully, syndication. However, I was surprised at my reaction to the characters when they had found each other before “moving on.” What got me was the thought of whether if it is possible to die alone. I was overwhelmed with the thought of who would be there for me to help me if there is a transition from life to death. It was an unexpected and welcome experience. Now that is art.