Before you think that we are advocating censorship, hear us out. We’re all for freedom of expression and speech, but it pays to critically analyze what society embraces without contemplation, like the messages in pop music that can contribute to very unhealthy outlooks on love and relationships. |
Let’s consider some of the best-selling singles of all time. Although we respect all of these artists, and recognize that music can serve a cathartic purpose, as well as be uplifting and inspirational, from a spiritual perspective, the overall feeling and take-away is sometimes very dysfunctional.
Celine Dion sings in “My Heart Will Go On,” from the “Titanic” soundtrack, “Every night in my dreams I see you, I feel you,...spaces between us...Near, far, wherever you are I believe that the heart does go on...Love can touch us one time And last for a lifetime And never let go...We’ll stay forever this way...”
Aside from the fact that this song and movie were about two people who did not really know each other well enough to discern if they were even compatible, a period of mourning for lost loved ones is healthy. But refusing to let go of someone who is gone and not getting on with your life isn’t.
Cher sings in “Believe,” “After love, after love...No matter how hard I try...You keep pushing me aside...And I can’t break through...So sad that you’re leaving...But after all is said and done...You’re going to be the lonely one...I need love to feel strong...maybe I’m too good for you...”
Oh dear. In this song Cher sings about not being able to handle a breakup, then takes a defiant stance saying her ex is going to be sorry because he’s going to be the lonely one. Then she expresses a measure of vanity saying that maybe she’s too good for him. What about unconditional love and forgiveness? How about a more mature approach?
In “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?”, Boy George of Culture Club sings, “How can I be real...Do you really want to hurt me...Do you really want to make me cry...I could waste a thousand years...Wrapped in sorrow...words are token...Come inside and catch my tears.”
We understand--breaking up can be very sad. But to masochistically exile yourself to victim consciousness servitude won’t do you any good.
Beyonce Knowles sings in “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)”, “...we just broke up...I cried my tears, for three good years...if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it...And now you gonna learn... What it really feels like to miss me...what I deserve...Is a man that makes me then takes me...And delivers me to a destiny, to infinity and beyond...Say I’m the one you want...If you don’t, you’ll be alone...”
If we understand Beyonce’s message correctly, it’s that she was heartbroken after a break-up and that all relationships should lead to marriage. Now she’s going to punish him because he didn’t meet her demands and he’s going to learn the hard way what it’s like to miss her.
Additionally, she believes she deserves a man who delivers her to a wonderful destiny. What about equality? Is she going to deliver him to a spectacular destiny too or does she just expect to be catered to like a spoiled princess who has an overblown sense of entitlement? And the destiny part--someone needs to inform her of the true meaning of destiny, which rarely has anything to do with Rolls Royces, 5th Avenue, and Armand de Brignac Champagne.
Taylor Swift, in “Love Story” sings, “We were both young when I first saw you...Little did I know...That you were Romeo...And I was crying on the staircase...Begging you, “Please don’t go”...And I said... You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess,...It’s a love story, baby, just say, 'Yes'...”
Sure, a measure of illusion within romantic relationships is delicious, but making it all about fantasy and your personal love life agenda sets you up for major disappointment and ignores the spiritual purpose of relationships: learning important lessons (rewarding and challenging).
By all means, enjoy the music you’re drawn to, but remember that true love starts with self-love, expecting to find happiness or a feeling of completion outside of yourself through someone else will always end in disappointment, and that nobody can hurt you without your permission.
Copyright © Scott Petullo, Stephen Petullo
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