Micropost: Assessing modernity through music videos

I’ve got a post coming up about Ebola and normal human threat response, but in the meantime, here are a few songs that are popular nowadays. I wonder what we can observe about the current state of affairs these days by listening to them?

Habits (Stay High) – Tove Lo

I’m not going to lie, I rather like this song. It is hauntingly beautiful in a way that speaks to my macabre sensibilities, and there is just something about it that I find deeply soothing. The underlying message that alcohol, clubbing, and casual sex with strangers do little to relieve emptiness and personal despair is also quiet sensible, and the reminder that most people these days don’t know of any other way to deal with those kinds of feelings is as chilling as it is true.

Welcome to modernity, kids!


All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor

I am trying so hard to steelman the message of this song, and the best I can come up with is “Having more weight than what is considered ‘attractive’ is cool because men like a nice ass on a girl.”

In all fairness, this is true up to a certain point, though I suspect the degree of difference between the cut-off point and the body type Meghan is talking about is significant.

Also, the whole “all about that bass” thing makes me think of that Nicki Minaj song that articulated the desire for a tall, sexy man with a deep voice and cash to burn. I wonder how many guys like that have expressed, with their actions, a preference for chunky women?


Black Widow – Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora

Some alpha stud is stringing her along and playing with her head and she can’t lock him down? She can’t decide if she loves him or hates him? The video is a projection of what she thinks she’ll do. The refrain is a subconscious admission of what’s more likely to happen. It’s easy to write off this kind of split-instinct as a woman thing, but this response glosses over the fact that all people have this inner tension, and modernity exacerbates it and discourages us from reconciling it.


Dark Horse – Katy Perry

Yeah…I really, really, really don’t want to believe that the Illuminati controls the world and announces their presence through music lyrics and hidden symbols, but the entertainment industry makes it so hard for me sometimes.

(Edit: I’m being flippant here. I don’t actually believe such things, but joking about them is more amusing than pointing out this video is just one big feminist power fantasy.)

I see a few common themes here, but most notable is the preponderance of white women singing about men; either expressing the negative consequences they have endured as a result of the actions of a male, or exhorting a man to do what they say.

Sounds like modernity in a nutshell.


P.S. Just for fun:



3 thoughts on “Micropost: Assessing modernity through music videos

  1. R. 10/20/2014 / 9:30 AM

    As a theologian, you should be spending your time inventing memetic viruses that’d inoculate people against this kind of crap.

    This guy has some interesting stuff..

    Is it possible to design a belief system that’d be

    a) rational
    b) would not rely on faith
    c) fulfill the spiritual needs of it’s adherents
    d) reasonably stable
    e) attractive

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s