Friday, September 25, 2009

The need for truth in music, the arts.....

This is just a personal and philosophical/theological and factual observation, that is follow up to what I've been blogging where I explain that faith is authentically obtained by seeking the truth, the genuine, absolute truth, rather than "the best" "faith for me." Recalling what I've written that if one really cherishes and seeks the truth, one will inevitably find it-and the one true God-because God and his creation are the truth, let me explain my feelings about music.

I totally love music and as I reckon I've blogged before, I was listening to blues and pop music and rock and roll from the cradle (much helped by my much older brother playing the radio.) I wanted to play an instrument-and sing-but was kept from having any music lessons at all until I was able to pay for them on my own when in college. So I have a very clear love of music.

However, my friends, especially those in the music industry, wonder how I have lived for decades without listening to either current music or replaying those I've enjoyed in the past.

It became painfully obvious to me in the 1980's that almost without exception, all popular music, even the most brilliant of pieces, were written and composed by people who did not believe in the true God. Now, I am not saying I wanted Christian music because, actually, I find the same problem in much of Christian music from around that same time period. Since the 1980's the groundwork for the brainwashing and destruction of faith (genuine, factual, orthodox faith) that had been put in place during the 1960's-1970's started yielding their global bitter fruit. Even though most popular songs have absolutely nothing to do with God or faith as a topic, it was still painfully (and repulsively) obvious to me that the songs were all written in a distorted, God less and nihilistic mindset. Even the "happy" songs were clanging and warped, sometimes subtle, but usually very obvious to me. But it was obvious that ALL genres of music had become pieces of production made in in pained, God less and angry/manic depressive music "factories."

Now, young people especially, here is the crucial point I need to make to you, regarding both this topic of music (and art) and of faith and life in general. You must learn to distinguish between and properly manage, and put respectful boundaries around the two completely different mindsets of "truth" and "validity." Your parents (and many of their parents) combined the two, erroneously, in their minds, and have therefore caused their own mental, spiritual and emotional downfalls. It started with "let it all hang out." That is the philosophy that if you feel a certain way, then it is valid, "authentic" and honorable, and must be shared, even if everyone who listens to it then goes off the deep end and wants to shoot themselves. There is a huge difference between being "valid" (which means that right or wrong that is how you think/feel) and the truth, which is reality, a reality which includes the one true God and his role in this world.

For example, someone can write a miserable song because they feel like shit and they think they are evil reincarnated alien spawn. That's "valid," because that's what they think and feel (usually because they were brought up that way, or fell into the hands of sick "gurus"). But it is not the truth, because they would not feel that way if they were taught and came to believe in the truth of the world, a world that very much includes the one true God.

So sure, I am not against someone who has to do a "core dump" in the form of music of their sadness, anger, alienation, addiction, misery, aimlessness, vengefulness, spite, and so forth, since that is "valid...." that is, indeed, how he or she feels.

The problem is that like building houses on sand foundations, instead of bedrock, I noticed starting in the 1980's that virtually the entire music business prompted songs written, composed and produced by people who had totally lost their footing in the truth. They no longer even believed there is a truth, in the world, in their public lives, or in their private lives. They came to think that the current (or past) "validity" of what they think or feel IS the truth, which it most certainly is not.

So even the most inane and harmless of happy songs (those few there were, especially as rap, metal, angry punk and other genres took over increasing market share) were written by people who thought that the truth was to force out something commercially happy as a product, even though they did not believe in the truth. In other words, unhappy people living with perspectives that lacked recognition of truth were writing both happy and unhappy songs. This means that instead of most houses being built on solid foundations, most houses were now built on sand.

I can hardly listen to anything of the past few decades without seeing directly in the souls of those who produced and wrote these pieces and seeing their alienation, their loss of truth and worst of all, their determination that their "validity" IS the truth, and must be imposed as depressive and warped realities onto each new generation of listener. These adults raised children in the business who completely lost truth about life in the world and yet, brilliant as they are, produced brilliant music that is like a poisoned apple, great to eat but it kills you with each bite. We are on the THIRD decade of this disaster. That is why I cannot listen to music, most music, without pain.

I can even tell you the last song I gave a serious listen to as it came out, the version of "What's the Story (Morning Glory)" by Oasis. That is absolutely the last popular song I listened to and heeded and admired as it was released. Why is that? Of course technically it is wonderful, but more to point, it put into words exactly what I have described above: the disaster of being in a world where all your dreams are made when you're chained to the mirror on your razor blade. I pretty much turned off the radio after a few good listens of that, and that's no lie (as my stalkers can attest!) This is why I cannot listen to even the big hits, the really brilliant songs, even those of great compelling validity, of the late 1980's, the 1990's and the 2000's thus far. ALL of them are only "valid," very, very, VERY few of them are written by people with their heads screwed on properly and who believe in any truth, say nothing of the truth, of life, and of God's role in life.

I wish I could give you a real life example, so instead, imagine along with me the difference in a song about the exact same life experience written by a person who is valid, but does not know about or accept truth, and a person who is valid and is writing from a position of acknowledging the truth. So imagine that each songwriter wants to write about the misery of an addiction and ruined life, for example. One songwriter believes freaky things, nihilistic things, and writes about his or her addiction in that context. Even if they never mention their depressive and nihilistic mindset, that mindset, of course, is the well spring and informs their talent, which shapes their song. The other songwriter writes about the same intense valid misery in their, his or her, own life, but the well spring they have is one that still has at least a foundation in the truthfulness of a world that was created good, where there is a God, but where things go terribly astray. They might even come up with very similar words, and/or the instrumentation and music may be similar. But there would be a profound difference. Like I said, I wish I could give you actual examples but the scale is totally tilted with the bulk of compositions being of the "valid" but not grounded in overall life truth perspective. I'm not as able to access, not being part of the music industry crowd, of course, information where I can make such a real life comparison. The best I can do is point out how the blues, the old, traditional blues, were written by often very sad and afflicted people, and they are powerful and valid, but also honest because they were written by people who were still in touch with truthfulness in the world, including at least a nod toward the reality of God and his goodness, even if that did not comprise any of the song. This is why the old traditional blues are truly treasures of validity and honesty, in addition to their musical craftsmanship.

However, when I have a song recommended to me, which happened quite a bit in the early 2000's when people would email me "OMG I can't believe you never listened to this songwriter or this song or this group or this band" and then attach a link, I do listen and there it is again, but no one else understands what it is, since it's so pervasive. Only someone who grew up in the 1950's and listened to music that was still created on the foundation of truth (even if personal valid experience was miserable) can explain to you that there is a very stark "before" and "after." So after I listen to the song I resist the urge to shoot myself, and then research the artist and his or her other tracks. OMG, it is always the same. You can tell in their discography that they are totally into "validity" while living in a miserable, manic depressive, warped lack of truth. I then have to resist shooting myself after just reading the song titles. Good grief, it is a nightmare.

This really is a topic that lends itself more to face to face discussion (imagine that!) and having the help of a DJ who can pull examples of what I mean. But I thought that many of you, since you are questing, alert, and aware that these are disturbed times, will get the gist of what I mean, and have insight not only into how/why I perceive and do things as I do, but think about the facts as I have presented them and examine your own experiences for further insight.

A person can write the most brilliant piece of music ever, and it still be a wrong thing to do. That is a controversial statement, I know. By wrong I don't mean criminal or necessarily sinful or immoral. But just as products should not be subliminally marketed (the old popcorn hidden in the movie film scam), depressive "validity" that is denial of truth should not be deluging people, as it has for decades now, because that is dishonest. Artists, you must understand that it is possible, very possible, to be "valid" and "authentic," but totally dishonest. That is the boundary you must start to recognize, for the well being of not only your audience, but of your individual self.

I hope you understood as best as I could present these words tonight. I still love music, but for decades, music has not loved me back.