Thursday, January 28, 2010

Music and the subconscious

For a few years one of my favorite country CDs has been "Dream Big" by Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband. Their style is a blend of country and bluegrass and is really catchy.

The lyrics to one song on the album read:


Would you love me if I
Told you that I could not
Hold you closer tonight
To my heart it just might
Break me, make me fall down
Trip me up and hit ground
And I don't want to be there
And I don't want to be but I feel

A new emotion
A deep devotion
And a notion
That I will find you
Alright
Tonight
And I might
Fall again

Would you stay if you knew
That I would only leave you
Sad enough and lonely
And I'd think of you only
In my dreams we would walk
And in my dreams we would talk
Hand in hand together
Hand in hand and I feel

A new emotion
A deep devotion
And a notion
That I will find you
Alright
Tonight
And I might
Fall again

I don't want to see the news
I don't want to feel the rain
Falling on my face again
I don't want to see your face
On a billboard store
Don't want to grow old in this place no more

Would you think me crazy
Would you laugh forever
And in my arms you would be
And in your eyes I could see
All the stars up at night
And I am hoping you might
I swear I've seen your eyes before
I swear I've seen your eyes
And I feel

A new emotion
A deep devotion
And a notion
That I will find you
Alright
Tonight
And I might
Fall again

It never really struck me until today that, although relatively harmless, these lyrics are a perfect musical embodiment of what Voddie Baucham calls "the Greco-Roman myth of romantic love". The prevailing notion of love today represents love as a feeling or emotion that we have little or no control over. A lot could be said about this but that's not the goal of my post.

Music is powerful in ways we often don't realize or are unwilling to admit. Music instructs us and shapes our worldview subconsciously just as much as it does with our conscious approval. We have to acknowledge this when we choose what sounds and words we fill our minds with or we have no protection against being swept away by the ideas innate in the music. The sounds we choose to hear influence our beliefs about beauty. In fact, our choice of musical styles really betrays our true beliefs about beauty and harmony regardless of what we profess. The words we fill our minds with influence how we view truth, reality, relationship, sexuality, priorities, profanity, and the list goes on.

Paul writes in 1 Cor. 15:33 "Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals."

We need to be honest about music's ability to influence us. How many young Christian men would not walk the streets with gansters but hang out all the time with gangster rap? How many young Christian women profess purity of heart and action but regularly consume pop music that at best plays fast and loose with God's perfect design for sexuality and at worst instructs them in the ways of whoredom and other perversions?

I don't mean to overstate the case by way of exaggeration but the sorry state of youth and adults in the modern evangelical church can't be divorced from the contents of their iPods. Let's not deceive ourselves with regards to the power of music to shape our subconscious and conscious beliefs, the thoughts that fill our minds, and ultimately the way we live our lives.

Instead let's aim for the Scriptural mark of taking every thought captive to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and refrain from all forms of evil whether in action, word, appetite, or thought.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Valse Irritation d'apr├Ęs Nokia

Picked this up over at www.allclassical.org. Marc-Andre Hamelin's interpretive performance of the Nokia ringtone. Reminds me a lot of Chopin, with a little Schumann and maybe some Brahms thrown into the mix.