- October 15, 2014
I recently expressed my love for pop music despite being a bit of an indie music snob. I must also confess that I regularly listen to pop radio. You know, that thing with knobs on the dash of the car that deciphers audio waves rather than a wifi signal. Lately two voices familiar to most of us who enjoy pop music have been competing for radio time–and their messages couldn’t be more different.
While Taylor points the finger outward at her critics and her bad boyfriends, Sia points the finger at herself.Words matter, and many of these artists are using them carefully. Like the Apostle Paul in Acts 17, we can use the words of our culture’s poets to connect and communicate with the world around us, especially regarding things true and beautiful accessible to us all. It may be easy to criticize pop music by throwing around the word “vapid”, but our critiques might be what are truly vapid. As we listen closely we might just hear these artists wrestling with the truths we desperately desire to discuss with our neighbors.
Taylor Swift and Sia have established themselves as artists to be respected. They write their songs and sing them with gusto. They are rolling around in $100 bills, but at least they are doing it in private. In public, they sing songs that are meaningful.
Taylor’s “Shake It Off” is, as I write, positioned at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 just behind a song about big booties and in front of one about a part of the male anatomy. Sia’s “Chandelier” has been around all summer and made massive waves because of the compelling and personal video starring a young dancer as a younger Sia. It has reached an astonishing 224 million views on YouTube. Both artists are writing about themselves in these songs, and their personal approach connects with fans.
But where these artists diverge is far more interesting.