What the Lyrics Say?
Just close your eyes and think of an eternal song, and more than likely you will come across something from the past. These can include an olden goldie by Lata Mangeshkar or R. D. Burman hits or James Brown. From all the recent junk music, almost all pass your ears and hardly any stays with you. The most recent exception has been the songs of Aashiqui 2 and then Bajirao Mastani. There songs have meaning, depth, a story to tell. You can die of a heart attack if you ever heard Jagjit Singh sing a Kya Kool Hain Hum type of song, oh thank God he is no more here to hear such crap.
But here’s what all this is telling us, something is wrong somewhere. While you may argue, but this is entertainment and it sells, then it is a very cheap sale that lasts as long as it plays, from the 2 and half minutes or double of that. The American music scene on the hip hop, rap and R n B side has been dominated by freedom of speech, they are saying it as is. Music can’t be treated as a pop soda, it has a soul and the American musicians especially the black community used it as an expression of their daily life, struggles an accomplishment. In the last almost ten years their scene has changed, the vibe has become more dance, there is a larger mix of producers and singers from around the world and across different races. What is most important also is that they have become conscious of their lyrics and censorship is as high as it possibly can be. Unfortunately due to the rise of the YouTube access, you can listen and watch to any music video you want even if it is explicit. Here parental guidance is important on the use and access to the Internet. You don’t want your child or teenager dancing to raunchy moves or sing a long to violent, curse words.
Bollywood has no shame also, they are not leaving any opportunity to throw in an item number and degrade especially women. The song from Joker “andar aa jao” something something….(see not worth remembering) is utter crap of how desperate the producers can be to just capture audience. What makes things worse and the bare naked ladies. Sometimes you feel so bad for them, you can tell it is not a script demand but just a way of making money for the film maker and who knows if these women get any respect or decent income out of all this.
Music is meant to inspire, the words are meant to invoke emotion, whether happy or sad. While there are several commercial hits, it is those that have been written by legendary lyricists like Anand Bakshi or Sameer Anjaan in Bollywood that stay with you. A most recent example of the Western rage of songs that have done well on the charts not only for their composition but their lyrics, include Beyonce’s “To the Left”, Ryan Tedder’s “Counting Stars”, Adele’s “Hello” and more. When international star PSY broke the music scene with Gangam Style, it really worked for two reasons- lyrics not everyone knew what he said and the dance step. So if your child was caught dancing to it you clapped and shared on social media. But if your child was caught dancing and especially singing to “Hold You Down” by DJ Khaled and Chris Brown, you need to be worried. A woman is not an object and getting all blinged up and disrespecting people.
Lyrics are like poetry, that need their special space with appreciative audience. Adults have all the right to here whatever whenever, but with children be careful. Tell them to hear, write and put down their thoughts, they are allowed to, but pay attention to negative or violence. These are serious signals, even when a child says shit or stupid, you need to start asking where or from whom did they learn from.
Lyrics only become art when they tell a story, otherwise they are passing tunes.