Thursday, September 19, 2013

Music Review: Good Bad Songs

This post is slightly different. Ever hear that song on the radio that makes you change the channel because younger kids are in the car? You know, the one song that you'd actually listen to if you were alone, just because it got something (beyond voice and music) right.
These are the songs that are often misunderstood without a close listen. Some of them still aren't fit for listening to, but a better understanding of them might help the next time it comes on.

Trouble With Girls (Scotty McCreery)
Red Flag: "Nobody loves trouble as much as me." Scotty admits to having a problem with girls. He's captivated and settles on the idea that "that's the way it's supposed to be." He then goes on to list a few of the things girls do that makes it hard for him to keep away, so to speak.
The Good: Scotty is not, as it may seem, admitting to any physical intimacy challenges or even an obsession. Listening closely to the lyrics, one can see that he's reflecting on the beauty of girls and how it affects guys (and he seems content with the conclusion). It's a sweet reflection, not an insult or an obsession.

Should've Said No (Taylor Swift)
Red Flag: The very story is bad. Taylor's boyfriend cheated on her (it's implied that this involved something physical, though how far we're not told) and she's hurt.
The Good: The very tone of the song is almost heartbreaking. You can hear in Taylor's voice her anger, her hurt, and her frustration. It sounds like she's angry but also wanting to forgive. She's hurt and wishing her boyfriend hadn't done what he did, and she's frustrated with his failure. She absolutely refuses to take him back, saying, "You need one chance, it was a moment of weakness when you said yes. You should've said no, you should've gone home. You should've thought twice before you let it all go. You should've know that word about what you did with her would get back to me....You should've said no, baby and you might still have me."
I like to consider what would have happened if he'd said no like she wanted him to. Look what happens when you say yes, is what Taylor's saying. And she concludes that it wasn't worth it for either of them.

If You're Goin' Through Hell (Rodney Atkins)
Red Flag: Hmm. Let's see. He's singing about going through hell. Most of the time, the very word "hell" in music is a turn off (mainly because it's completely misused). So it all rests on two little words: hell, and devil.
The Good: ...only here "hell" isn't really misused in this case. The whole song is about when things get so bad that it looks like there's no way anything will ever get better, you have to keep going. The chorus says it all: "If you're goin' through hell, keep on goin'. Don't slow down, if you're scared don't show it. You might get out before the devil even knows you're there."

Cowboy Casanova (Carrie Underwood)
Red Flag: The entire song revolves around a man who is very appealing but not a good person. In her warnings about the person's "badness" Carrie takes things a little too far, going to physical appeal and briefly suggestion an addiction to the man's love.
The Good: In addition to the red flag, we've got Carrie warning the girl who finds herself attracted to this dangerous guy about his "badness" so to speak. Half way through the song, she repeats the warning because it's easy not to hear it when under the man's spell.

Good Girl (Carrie Underwood)
Red Flag: The whole song is about Carrie warning a girl that she deserves better and a certain boy isn't any good for her.
The Good: is the same as the red flag. Because that's the point, isn't it? Carrie says that the girl in the song wants a good boy who'll "give you the world" and "fairy tale ending" but the boy she's looking at isn't "a good man." It's basically a warning, and in it Carrie admits that there is nothing wrong with a good girl wanting a good boy, but the trouble is finding a good boy. And isn't that life?

Skin (Rascal Flatts)
Red Flag: Uh, the title. Because when I see a country song titled "Skin," my instincts yell "RUN!"
The Good: This song is actually about a girl who gets cancer and loses her hair. She has great dreams and doesn't think she'll ever achieve them. One dream in particular is to go to her high school prom with a boy and be kissed, but now that she hasn't got any hair, she hasn't got a chance. Until a boy shows up to take her to prom, takes off his hat, and reveals that he hasn't got any hair either. It's a beautiful story.

There Goes My Life (Kenny Chesney)
Red Flag: Aside from the title, we've got a rather awkward starting point. It's assumed that the couple with the unwanted pregnancy is in high school (this becomes clear if you watch the music video).
The Good: The song starts out mourning and scared. The father isn't ready for fatherhood, but by the end it's taken over his life and he's happy with that. He comes to see that it's the best thing that ever happened to him.

My Thoughts:
I'm going to try very hard not to make judgments about these songs. It's hard, just sticking to what's wrong and what's good. I know with at least a few of them I did make judgments and I'm sorry, but it's very tempting.
I know the ones I reviewed are only country. The reason is very simple: I tend to listen to country, or music with no words (pointless to review the way we do here), or music in Latin (and that's usually Catholic). I'll try to branch out more in the future.
There are lots of these songs out there, but these were just the ones to came to mind right now. You know, that song that would be so good "if ____ wasn't in it." And then you do a double take and go, "but wait, there is ____" and you're stuck trying to figure out whether it really is good or bad.
Balance of good and bad is not the key. The key is get rid of the bad, bring in the good. So then the question is simple: does the good do away with the bad?

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