Your Music and What You Value
A while back I wrote a blog entitled “Talent Matters.” And it does. In this day and age of home recording and online distribution, everyone is recording and selling something. Cultivating your talent is a must if you want to stand out amongst the crowd. But as important as talent is, there’s something else that is even more important: substance.
Substance has to do with the depth of an artist’s subject matter and how emotionally connected the artist is to that subject. It’s something the listener can sense more than anything. It has to do with joy and pain. Longing and loneliness. It reminds people of their darkest moments and gives them hope for brighter ones. In short, music with substance is meant to make you feel. Music that’s shallow is meant to make you numb.
Lyrics don’t always convey an artist’s depth, but they can definitely showcase an artist’s shallowness.
“Baby, baby, baby, ohhhhh…”
I don’t even have to tell you who those lyrics belong to. You know already. And make no mistake: Justin Beiber is TAL-EN-TED. Have you seen the Youtube video of him playing drums at nine years old? The kid has more natural talent in his little finger than most people do in their whole bodies. He plays. He writes. Of course he sings. And he’s athletic.
But it’s not enough. Not for me. While I’m on the subject, do yourself a favor and listen to “Car Radio” by Twenty One Pilots. It’s all about our desire to be numb- to use music to forget the problems in our lives. And man, does that song have substance. And it’s not just about the lyrics (which are brilliant). It’s about his delivery. There is no way he doesn’t feel deeply what he is saying. And you feel it, too.
And then there’s Bieber.
Is it catchy? Of course. But that’s all that’s needed for it to be a hit these days. That’s why I don’t even turn on my radio when I’m in my car unless I want to feel numb. If I’m listening to anything, it’s talk radio, lectures or sermons, or a CD. Someday, when I move into the 21st century, it’ll be a playlist on my iPhone. But I digress…
Music has the power to make you feel the joy and pain of life. It also has the power to silence those feelings and to make you go numb to them. And truth be told, there are appropriate occasions for both types of music. But what you choose to listen to most often says a lot about what you truly value in life.