Pennsylvania native Taylor Swift is one of the most well known pop/country female singers on stage today. Her fourth album, Red, was released in October and earned the highest ranking in first week sales since 2002.
In a society where the airwaves are saturated with female artists singing for shock value or to make political statements, Taylor’s music sticks to simple themes — being in love, losing love, and celebrating life.
While the album certainly shouldn’t be canonized (even if that were possible), her songs are very refreshing in this age of false feminism and uncontrollable romantic urges.
Two songs on Red that particularly capture the power of self-control and the beauty in being a woman are “I Almost Do” and “Begin Again.”
Many love songs we hear today contain messages about loving someone or needing someone too much to stay away from him or her. But in “I Almost Do” Taylor sings to a former lover about how much she wants to talk to him when he contacts her but that the situation is too difficult and so she doesn’t respond.
In “Begin Again,” Taylor mentions how she appreciates her new love interest being a gentleman at a cafe, helping her into her chair. She sees the beauty in being a woman and in letting a guy do little things for her.
What other songs have you heard recently that celebrate the God-given differences between men and women?
Remember the days when… if you wanted to save a television show episode you needed to record it yourself on VHS? And if you were diligent enough you could start and stop the recording so that the commercials wouldn’t be saved?
Now many television shows are available for purchase on DVD, complete with special features and commentary versions. And with the progression of technology, films are becoming much easier to own as well.
But how does this influence the use of our free time? If someone has 5 seasons of a program with an average of 20 episodes per season, that’s 100 episodes. Just of one show.
The incredible volume in entertainment options also applies to music — how many songs and albums are owned and how often are they listened to in a given year? (I know it’s been years since I’ve listened to some of my CDs.) And after you watch seasons of a television show, how frequently do you go back to watch them again?
Purchasing some of your favorites so that they’re always available is understandable, but that differs from people who tend to have a “collect them all” mentality for particular television shows or film series. For them, buying movies and television shows becomes a pricey hobby.
Even with the opportunity to own it all in our entertainment-crazed culture, we need to try to keep perspective and not give in to the mentality that if I “kind of like” that movie/television show, I should put my money into purchasing it and my time into watching it again and again.
The beauty is in the balance.
In the last decade or so, it’s become more common for musicians to write and sing about cheating on a significant other.
Popular radio tunes in this vein include “Picture” by Kid Rock, featuring Sheryl Crow; “Lips of an Angel” by Hinder; and “Unfaithful” by Rihanna.
With the excessive glorification of so-called freedom and choice comes a decrease in the value of loyalty.
Society and the entertainment industry tell us to do whatever we want and to live life without regard for others. And so the decrease in trust, self-control and respect for one another comes out in our songs.
How do you believe we can help our culture once again see the importance of fidelity and live accordingly?
Contemporary Christian musicians that usually come to mind first are those on K-LOVE and local Christian radio stations – Third Day, Casting Crowns, Sanctus Real, etc.
But Catholic musicians have emerged over the last few years who have a similar feel through their melody, voice and overall sound. The difference is in the lyrics. While not every song is explicitly Catholic, it is a beautiful addition for Catholics who enjoy contemporary Christian music but would appreciate a Catholic touch.
Matt Maher rose in popularity several years ago when he made it onto the Christian music scene. Matt is known for songs like “Your Grace Is Enough” (covered and made famous by Chris Tomlin), “Hold Us Together,” and “Christ Is Risen.”
Catholic music group Marian Grace sings traditional hymns with a beautifully contemporary sound. Their renditions include “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow (Doxology),” “Be Thou My Vision,” and “What Wondrous Love.”
Music can be a powerful tool to lift hearts to God and help evangelize the world.
Which songs have drawn you close to Our Lord?
At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.
The Stabat Mater is a beautiful hymn from the 1200s that uplifts the soul through its solemn tone and beautiful words. You may know it best through praying the Stations of the Cross during Lent, as it is incorporated into the Stations by St. Alphonsus Liguori. Many textual versions of the hymn exist, while the melody remains relatively the same.
Tomorrow is the last Friday before Good Friday. So before the busyness of Holy Week and Easter preparations set in, try to make it to the Stations of the Cross at your local parish one more time — or for the first time.
May God bless you as you walk with Mary and her Son in these final days of Lent.
Pandora.com struck again. While listening to the Pandora radio station of Joe Bongiorno (piano-type music), I was surprised to hear a beautiful rendition of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” I wasn’t familiar with contemporary Christian music artist Jadon Lavik by name, but after some investigating I realized I’d heard some of his other songs on K-LOVE.
As Catholics and non-Catholic Christians, we find certain styles of music more conducive to prayer – be it contemporary Christian, classical Christian, Gregorian chant or traditional Catholic hymns. And sometimes the type of music we are drawn to changes with our mood. But no matter what type of music we can most easily pray with, it’s important to fight any temptation to judge others by their own preferences. I know at our station sometimes listeners will advocate for songs in their own musical style, which is fine, so long as they take into account that other listeners may enjoy something different.
What kind of music helps you delve deeper into prayer?