Artistry in Music

The other day, I read Justin Bieber took artist of the year at the American Music Awards.  I almost cried.  In all honesty–and this is nothing against Justin Bieber as a person–he is not a great musician.

As a singer/songwriter/musician, I have a great deal of respect for the artists who write their own songs and produce their albums.  Artistry in music comes from being able to put down the things we all feel but can’t seem to say correctly.  Music becomes the medium through which we understand the thoughts and emotions bouncing around in our brains and hearts.

So, when I see musicians who are singing songs which a) have no substance and b) do not take a lot of skill to produce, I get really frustrated that these songs become top hits.  It’s not because I don’t like the artist (I actually don’t know if I like them having never met them); I just don’t consider them musical artists.

The amount of vocal talent in the world is undeniably and unbelievably amazing.

It’s a shame that such talent gets wasted on lyrics that mean nothing.

So back to Justin Bieber.  I will say this: the kid is an entertainer and he has some very cool dance moves.  But while his music is catchy, his lyrics are mediocre at best.  Yes, I realize he is young and trying to find his way in a very complicated and confusing business.  But I think it says something about him as a person that he is content with settling for these types of songs.

I’ll admit-maybe I’m looking at this too deeply and five years from now Bieber will be a well developed artist.

But he’s got a long way to go to get there


Why the Hunger Games is a Commentary on Our Present

As much as I’m a fan girl when it comes to pretty much everything-particularly The Hunger Games-I think Suzanne Collins is brilliant not because she asked questions concerning our future but because she commentates on the most disgusting aspects of our present society.

Think about the things we see on TV-Survivor, the Bachelor–and a million other “reality” television shows. But everything “real” about those shows is dramatized, scripted, and edited in a cutting room to make us ride a roller coaster of story, emotions, and in my opinion, showcase some of people’s deepest fears and insecurities.

Collins takes all these elements and magnifies them but not in a way that distorts them. She focuses in on the points which make us say, “In the name of all that is good and right, what is happening to the world?”

I think Collins’ real genius is not recognition of these atrocities. Collins presents these horrors in a way which REQUIRES the audience to take a stand about social discrepancies and incongruities. You CANNOT watch the Hunger Games and come away thinking, “Well that was interesting. Thank God we’re not there yet.”

Because the truth is we are there. We watch people get killed on the news; people confess everything about anything to the entire world; injustice and evil are taped and distributed to the masses. Some people call it freedom of expression. Others call it a consequence of the technological age.

I call it evidence of a broken world.

If you haven’t watched this film, read the books first, watch then film, and then think: how can I help my world not become this?

How do we keep our worst fear from becoming reality? Don’t go with the flow. Refuse to be stuck to your cell phone, or YouTube, or Facebook or whatever it is that pulls you into the quagmire of confusion.

Because if there’s one thing this world doesn’t need, it’s one more person believing, “Oh well. This is just the way things are and we can’t do nothing about it.”