Saturday, February 26, 2011

The end of the world

I've had a request from one of my two or three faithful readers for a pop culture post. It's been ages since our last one, so we are certainly due. That being said, I must say I've been largely disappointed with the television so far this spring, so, instead of boring everyone with a dull-ish recap of some duller programming, I thought I'd share my latest "Sheesh, I am old; you kids get off my lawn!" moment combined with another "Oh, and by the way, the world is going to heck in a hand basket" moment.

Last night, I was driving home from a women's meeting at church (wherein I tried Zumba and the results of combining my general lack of coordination with a fast, Latin-inspired aerobic dance would have been hilarious had they not been so very, very sad), I was listening to the radio. Generally, I am a strict NPR listener, leavened occasionally by kids' music CDs when J requests them. But tonight I was feeling like I could skip the news and commentary...and they were replaying a program I had already heard earlier in the day. Ahem. So I turned to music and heard these lyrics, which I have now ascertained are from Bruno Mars (??) and their (his?) song Grenade:

'Cause what you don't understand is
I'd catch a grenade for ya
Throw my head on a blade for ya
I'd jump in front of a train for ya
You know I'd do anything for ya, Oh, oh,
I would go through all this pain,
Take a bullet straight through my brain,
Yes, I would die for you baby
But you won't do the same

Is anyone else as dismayed by these lyrics as I am? I mean, we've all heard the "I'd die for you" sentiment in pop music before, but these sentiments seem so much more...harsh. Violent. Unnecessarily so. This song doesn't make me sure of the singer's affections so much as it makes me want to call a suicide hotline. For him, not me. But maybe, I thought, I'm just out of touch (okay, not maybe). Let's just listen to the next song, which is sure to be better. Next up was Avril Lavigne's "What the Hell":

You say that I'm messing with your head
All 'cause I was making out with your friends
Love hurts whether it's right or wrong
I can't stop 'cause I'm having too much fun...
All my life I've been good but now,
woah, I'm thinking what the hell
All I want is to mess around
and I don't really care about
If you love me, if you hate me,
you can't save me, baby, baby
All my life I've been good but now,
whoa, what the hell

Umm, what the heck? First of all, how old is Avril, like 10? And "all" her life she's been so "good" she can't stand it any more, so she has to torment her significant other by messing around with someone else because it's soo much fun? Again, I can't see this song as some anthem of independence or rebellion so much as a sad, sad commentary on the current state of teen life.

But I wasn't willing to give up so easily, so I turned the channel, right past my 80s station (because all those songs are about love and more love) to another current-ish station...where they were playing Lady Gaga's Paparazzi. SIGH. Don't even get me started on Lady Gaga as Sign of the Apocalypse. Let's just take a listen to the lyrics, shall we:

I'm your biggest fan
I'll follow you until you love me, Papa-paparazzi
Baby, there's no other superstar
you know that I'll be your
Promise I'll be kind, but I won't stop until that boy is mine
Baby you'll be famous, chase you down until you love me

Again, the trope isn't a new one, "I'll make you love me," but the imagery seems so sinister to me. Stalker-esque, if you will. Or am I so out of touch that the paparazzi now has a positive connotation, because everyone is so invested in getting their 15 minutes of fame in whatever way possible? Probably. And that is even sadder, I think.

At this point, I turned back to NPR, deciding that relistening to a story on the current failure of Japanese students to choose to study math and science as much as before was better than these offerings. I also decided never to let J and Baby E listen to anything written since they were born and for some years before, because that's a totally rational decision.

And then I yelled, "No, really, GET OFF MY LAWN!!"


Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

Ha ha. I heard that Japan story too. And thought, sheesh, who does want to go into math and science? But I only heard it once, and NEVER listen to today's pop radio. Ever.

Becky said...


laqne said...

I think your radio selection may have been to blame. You should listen online to our local radio free station KRCL 90.9 FM. You will almost never be disappointed - if kind of removed from "pop".

Kathy said...

EW recommended a Jason Mraz song, "In My Head." I sampled it on itunes and thought it was catchy, a good running tune; I downloaded it, and when I listened to the lyrics I was MAD.