Subscribe

No Backward-masking Required

LMFAOTonight I teach a parent workshop here in the Sacramento area… a workshop where I’ll introduce parents to the lyrics of “artists” like LMFAO.

In these workshops I spend the first half of our time together giving parents a peek into the world of pop-youth-culture, unveiling how media affects young people today. Then I devote the second half of the workshop to helping parents learn to connect with their kids and teach them lasting values.

Teaching people about today’s music and media is always an interesting situation. I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid I remember a guy coming to our town who would talk with parents and teenagers about “bad music.” This guy would stand up on stage, hold up an album I had never heard of and then say, “This is what kids are listening to today!!!” Then he’s play the album… backwards!

“Do you hear that?!!” He’d ask us. “It said, ‘Satan.'”

Funny… this guy not only had no clue what kids actually listened to (I listened to Journey and Depeche Mode. He never mentioned them once), he never gave parents any tools to talk with their kids about current media. It was just a typical, “These albums are bad! Destroy Them!”

Despite his inability to equip parents, I think his job would actually have been a lot easier today. In 2011, you don’t need to go searching for raunchy content in music. The top music that kids listen to is raunchy music.

Glancing at the top 5 songs today

I’m looking at the charts right now, reviewing for my workshop tonight.

#1. The number one song on Billboard’s Hot 100 is Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger, a song that begins with the chorus:

Take me by the tongue
And I’ll know you
Kiss me till you’re drunk
And I’ll show you…

This is actually pretty typical of the so-called “clean” stuff on the charts these days. It doesn’t have cuss words, but it’s full of sensual and “live for the moment” lyrics. The song is from the album, “Hands All Over.” The album cover is a naked girl with arms (hands) wrapped all around her, covering any vital parts that would make the picture technically nude. So it’s clean… right?

#2. The number two song on the chart is Party Rock Anthem, a fun song from the group LMFAO (yes, that means what you think it means). The video has some funny moments and features some really catchy dancing (don’t underestimate the popularity of dancing today). Sadly, the song is typical of the pop dance music of today, with lyrics like:

In the club party rock, lookin’ for your girl? She on my jock
Nonstop when we in the spot, booty movin’ weight like she on the block
Where the drank? I gots to know, tight jeans, tattoo ’cause I’m rock ‘n’ roll…

Then they show their true feelings toward women…

Yo, I’m runnin’ through these ho’s like Drano

Of course, young girls can’t get enough of this song. It’s still in the top 10 downloaded songs on iTunes and it’s the number one downloaded video today, as it has been, on and off, for literally months now.

#3. The number three song today is Pumped Up Kicks, a song about a kid who has had enough and is shooting the popular kids who have probably been bullying him. Hmmmmm.

#4. The number four song, Lighters, is a collaboration from Eminem, Bruno Mars and others. Typical Eminem– deep stuff, but full of prideful, foul lyrics. Too many f-words to count.

#5. The number five song is one from a name you’ll surely recognize, Katy Perry. The song is Last Friday Night, the 5th song on her Teenage Dream album to go #1 on the Billboard Charts (the first female to do this, tying Michael Jackson’s record). The song is currently #1 on Billboard’s radio charts, and the number three downloaded video on iTunes. The song is another of those deemed “clean” by the world’s standards. That’s why you’ll hear it standing in line at Wal Mart, at the gas pump or at your kids’ schools… because it’s “clean.” Here’s a sample of the “clean” lyrics:

Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a menage a trois…

Then, we see how much regret she feels when she repeatedly says:

This Friday night
Do it all again…

I’ve chimed in about that video before.

Young people today are truly being immersed in sexual, profane, live-for-the moment teaching for hours at a time.

QUESTION: Are adults being gatekeepers for this kind of content? Are we teaching our young people how to think Christianly with their music choices?


Posted on September 7, 2011

  • Connor

    For years now I've thought Katy Perry is an excellent example of the modern culture we live in. It's a culture that tells us to live for the moment and abandon any inhibitions we may have. We're only young once, so why not live it up, right? Once we're done having fun, we can always go back to being "good" again.

    • http://blog.thesource4ym.com/ Jonathan McKee

      I agree. Look at the words to "Teenage Dream"…

      Let's go all the way tonight
      No regrets, just love…

      Or as quoted above from "Last Friday Night"…

      This Friday night
      Do it all again…

      Wouldn't it be nice if there really were no consequences??

  • http://www.youthleadersacademy.com Rachel Blom

    Hey Jonathan, thanks for another great post. I follow your posts on your own blog as well as this one and I'm grateful for the time and energy you put into analyzing today's youth culture. It makes me aware time and again what messages our young people hear, see and take in.

    And yes, I know the 'backwards' people as well, once heard a whole rage on how bad Queen was. Honestly, I'd never even heard of them at that time, I was way more into Madonna and stuff. My parents 'warned' me about her lyrics (would you believe that I thought a 'virgin' was a lion? Because there's a lion in the video clip…obviously English wasn't my first language then, but still. I had no idea what she was singing about!) but if I look at what's being sung today, Madonna was actually 'clean'…How sad.

  • David

    I just want to find out if pumped up kicks backwards is bad so I could stop singing it ive heard it backwards but I cant tell if its a bad song so ineed sum 1s opinion

New eBookGo
Focused Youth Ministry ebook

85% off!

Focused Youth Ministry

This practical "how to" ebook will walk you through a 30-step process to discovering God's vision for your unique ministry context. The process also shows you how to implement that vision and put metrics in place to evaluate what is moving the vision forward and what isn't.

Price: $12.95 Limited time: $1.99

footer