If music provides a window into our world or, even more, itself influences and shapes culture, have you been listening to the radio lately? Or checked out the top iTunes downloads?
Here are the top ten songs. Some titles speak for themselves in terms of their character and/or intent. For the ones that might not, I’ve cited some of the lyrics for explanation.
1. “F**kin’ Perfect” by Pink.
(A self-esteem anthem…but with feeling.)
2. “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga.
“No matter gay, straight or bi
lesbian, transgendered life
I’m on the right track baby”
3. “F**k You” by Cee Lo Green.
(A heartfelt goodbye to a former girlfriend.)
4. “Tonight” by Enrique Iglesias.
“I know you want me
I made it obvious that I want you too
So put it on me…
I love the way
you shake that a**”
5. “Grenade” by Bruno Mars.
“Black, black, black and blue, beat me ‘til I’m numb
Tell the devil I said, hey, when you get back to where you’re from
Mad women, bad women, that’s just what you are, yeah
You’ll smile in my face then rip the brakes from my car
…[But] I’d catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya
I’d jump in front of a train for ya
You know I’d do anything for ya”
6. “Hey Baby” by Pitbull.
“If your girl wanna play, let her go
Hey baby girl, what you doin' tonight?
I wanna see what you got in store
Hey baby, givin' it your all when you're dancin' on me
I wanna see if you can give me some more
Hey baby, you can be my girl, I can be your man
And we can pump this jam however you want
Hey baby, pump it from the side, bend it upside down
Or we can pump it from the back to the front
…Now let me see where the lord split ya”
7. “S & M” by Rihanna.
“Cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it
Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But chains and whips excite me”
8. “More” by Usher.
“Watch me as I dance under the spotlight-
Listen to the people screaming out more and more,
'Coz I create the feeling that keep 'em coming back,
Yeah, I create the feeling that keep 'em coming back,
So captivating when I get it on the floor.
Know y'all been patiently waiting, I know you need me, I can feel it,
I'm a beast, I'm an animal, I'm that monster in the mirror,
The headliner, finisher, I'm the closer, winner.
Best when under pressure with seconds left I show up.”
9. “Blow” by Ke$ha.
‘Now what (What)
We're taking control
We get what we want
We do what you don't
Dirt and glitter cover the floor
We're pretty and sick
We're young and we're bored (Ha)”
10. “Coming Home” by Diddy-Dirty Money.
“what if the twins ask why I ain’t marry their mom (why, damn!)
how do I respond?
what if my son stares with a face like my own
and says he wants to be like me when he’s grown
sh*t! But I ain’t finished growing”
So let’s add this up.
Among the top ten songs in the United States, two have the word ”F**k” in the title; four others promote – and I do mean promote – rampant promiscuity, including homosexuality and sadomasochism; the remaining four glorify narcissism, hedonism, dysfunctional relationships and irresponsible parenting.
But not just ten songs.
Hopefully, ten wake-up calls.
James Emery White
“Music charts: Who rules radio this week?”, USA Today. Read online.