You Say

A Christian song? On the Top 40 channel? No way!

Those were the first few thoughts that went through my head when I heard Lauren Daigle’s “You Say” on the hit music station that normally plays only Halsey (but they play a lot of Post Malone, too, and that’s why I listen).

Actually, my first thought upon hearing the song was, “Oh, no, I hate Adele. I’m going back to the rock station.” (I don’t know why I initially thought “You Say” was an Adele song, but that’s beside the point.)

Normally, I can’t listen to singers with soulful voices because I get emotional and start crying, but I was so transfixed by the fact that the Top 40 station was actually playing decent music that I held back the tears and listened. Also, I thought I heard the word “God” in the song.

The singer is praising God, who always lifts her up and makes her feel worthy when no one else does. Her identity is in God rather than anything else. She gives her victories and defeats to God.

Finally, a decent song. Needless to say, it won’t be playing on the radio very long, so let’s enjoy it while we can.

The only downside to the lyrics is that they could be interpreted as supporting the erroneous mindset of many of today’s Christians: “God loves me as I am; therefore, I don’t have to change.” Well, yes. God does love you for who you are because he created your soul and knows you inside and out.

But God may not love some of the things you are doing, because some of those things may drive you away from him. In Catholicism, we do this thing called an “examination of conscience.” Every night, you’re supposed to go back over your day and reflect on what you did that was pleasing to God and what you failed at or could have done better. You’re supposed to thank God for helping you and ask him to help you again the next day.

The idea behind the examination of conscience is that we are always seeking to improve and please God more. We’re not just satisfied with sitting in our same old sins. We want to get to the point where we conquer them.

So I think Lauren Daigle is on the right track with her lyrics. Those who listen just need to remember to balance adoration and thanksgiving with supplication and confession.

Promiscuity and Pride

I don’t watch The Bachelorette and similar shows, but I heard about a recent bit of insanity that went down: The current bachelorette, Hannah, professes to be a Christian but ended up sleeping with one (or more?) of the guys on the show. One of the men competing for her hand, Luke, was dismayed by this because he also professes to be a Christian.

The two had a (probably staged) dramatic conversation about her promiscuity, in which Luke stated that he expected more out of her and basically called her a hypocrite. Outraged, Hannah shot back that Luke had a problem with pride, then made him leave in a limo. When the limo was driving away, she flipped him the bird. Nice Christian behavior. Luke may have indeed had a problem with pride, but I think he was just calling out Hannah’s hypocritical behavior as he saw it.

Last time I checked, if you profess to be a Christian, you need to attempt to follow that set of beliefs. If you know the truth and deliberately go against it, while still proclaiming that you’re a Christian, then you’re a hypocrite. It’s different if you’re genuinely ignorant, or if you’re new in the faith and don’t know certain things yet. The more you know, the more you are responsible for. And part of a Christian’s responsibility is to instruct the ignorant, but there are right and wrong ways to go about doing so.

This entire episode of The Bachelorette is yet another example of Christians being mocked in the media. Sexual sins are some of the easiest sins to call a person out on, and in reality TV, there’s that voyeur factor going on. Also, Christians are infamous for focusing too much on sexual matters, almost to the point that people accuse us of being obsessed with sex. I’m sure the producers of the show were trying to make a buck off that. Even so, it’s still a symptom of living in a post-Christian nation; other so-called Christians were praising Hannah for her dismissal of Luke. (You go, girl! Don’t let a man tell you what to do with your body!)

We all need a re-education in what it means to be a Christian these days. Yes, it’s true that Jesus loves you regardless of whether you’re a virgin or not, but it doesn’t mean that he’s pleased with your behavior. Think about Jesus as being like a parent: your parents always love you, but you can do things that anger, displease, and dishonor them. That’s what Hannah did, and the sooner she realizes it, the better. Man, I feel sorry for her future husband.


Wasting Time with Bryce Vine

WARNING! This is a post about a couple hip-hop songs, so there’s some profanity.

The most depressing song on the radio today (in my not so humble opinion) is not supposed to be depressing. Bryce Vine’s “La La Land” (featuring YG) is supposed to be carefree, about doing nothing and having fun, while using some of the typical rap/hip-hop cliches: brand name dropping and bragging about sleeping with gorgeous women.

The song describes a girl who’s fresh out of school and has worthwhile goals, but the song’s narrator wants her to waste time with him (in California, of all places). I’m not sure I’d want to waste time in California because it’s highly expensive and the politics don’t make sense (but what politics do?). Maybe wasting time in Tennessee would be a better idea, and it’s more alliterative.

I know I’m taking this too seriously, but the song is depressing because it almost seems predatory; the guy only wants to drag the girl down and get her to lose track of school, work, and her future. He only wants her for her money (e.g., “How big is your mansion?” and “…you were born in the Hamptons / I heard that’s expensive”) and of course, sex, because it wouldn’t be a hip-hop song without explicit sexual references.

He tries to convince her that he’s a decent guy (“My grass is greener, girl, without no snakes”), but that’s a double negative, so I guess he’s just as slimy and reptilian as the rest of the guys. As evidenced by the lyrics, she has just broken up with her boyfriend, so he wants to catch her while she’s vulnerable. What a gentleman!

Or it could simply be that Bryce Vine’s voice is depressing. It’s like he’s trying to take the same chill approach that Post Malone (successfully) uses, but he just comes off as downcast.

Bryce Vine’s other song, the equally depressing “Drew Barrymore,” is similar. He is so involved with the girl that the entire house (apartment? condo? mansion?) is falling apart around his ankles (“The TV hasn’t worked in ages / Probably got a shorted cable / Way too busy f**king on the sofa or the kitchen table”). But he doesn’t even really seem to like the girl, because he delivers the following lines so dismally that I’m wondering if he might just give in to the opinion of the other girls and relinquish her: “You’re the next Drew Barry… and I want more / And all the other girls keep wondering what I f**k with you for.”

The beat of the song itself doesn’t have much of a happy feel to it either. It just kind of… ends… and leaves me with a creepy feeling of foreboding, like I’m going to go home and find out that my husband has disappeared mysteriously, leaving me with nothing but an empty apartment with a broken TV and A/C unit, with a couple dust bunnies hanging around to taunt me over some offense I had no idea I committed.

On the bright side, the radio edit of Drew Barrymore is actually better lyrically: “…falling off the sofa or the kitchen table.” Reminds me of innocent times spent as a child, running around the house and bouncing off the furniture because you’ve got energy to burn and school’s out for the summer. Also, smashing into furniture would be a lot more fun than wasting time with Bryce Vine.