Friday, September 18, 2009

Precious Memories.......of Sin?

In this posting, I hope to get some feedback from those of you from the baby boomer era and beyond. As a musician and even sometimes (clean) DJ, I find myself engaged in conversations with Christians mostly of older generations who wax on the merits of "real music" from the days of their youth that was "clean, wholesome, and said something". I frequently hear statements such as: "when we were out doin' our thing, we weren't as bad as the youth of today, the lyrics weren't raunchy and explicit like they are today, and we didn't do all that gyrating and popping when we danced." Yet they readily admit they were living in sin and doing sinful things.

Now there's no doubt that like everything else in society, music has taken a drastic turn toward unrestricted self expression and performances that many people would consider to be unreasonably lewd, sexual, violent, and misogynistic in nature. That truth being established, I feel the need to clear some things up concerning the differences in our generations.

Yes, most songs of years gone by were more discreet lyrically, but most of those artists weren't exactly singing to their husbands or wives, but often times, quite the opposite. ("Me & Mrs. Jones", anyone?) And even though the dance moves of yesteryear pale in comparison to what you'd find on BET today, we can't ignore the highly suggestive intent in the performances of James Brown, Elvis, Marvin Gaye, and others. The truth is, despite the very real positive influences of music, since the 1960's popular music in general has promoted sexual promiscuity, illicit drug & alcohol use, recklessness, and rebellion against authority to varying degrees. But the main point of this thought isn't to create a tit for tat comparison of contemporary versus classic, but to pose this question:

At what point (if ever) is it appropriate to reflect on an admittedly sinful past outside of salvation with a sense of nostalgia? I'm targeting music in particular here because of the strong feelings it induces in people no matter what their spiritual disposition. I love all types of music and I'm certainly not afraid to enjoy the musical merits of any generation. But I have to chuckle a little bit when Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On" and Jame's Brown's "Sex Machine" causes even some usually staid saints to sway and sing along. Is "Superfreak" all of the sudden less suggestive in nature, just because the last 25 years have yielded far more explicit content? Is it fair to expect older generations to condemn those songs from their past just as strongly as the music their grandchildren listen to?

Your thoughts.........

elder todd

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