Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On Love Songs

By the time I reached high school, I was familiar enough with the popular music scene to feel dissatisfied with it. Why is every single song about love? I frequently wondered (leaving aside for a moment the distinction between love and lust). I searched for songs about other things, since romance is not the only important part of life worth talking about. And I did find a few, but most of what was out there were humorous songs and parodies or showtunes (or else too serious and depressing to be enjoyable). Still, these were what I tended to prefer. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that everyone else seemed perfectly okay with listening to love songs all the time. :)

Then, in college, I stopped paying as much attention to the music I listened to. Rather, I paid more attention to what went in my ears, and purged from my collection some albums or songs whose content I found morally unsuitable. I listened to much more Christian Contemporary Music, most of which is just one artist putting to music a slightly different version of the same praise and worship song that's been put to music by eighteen other artists before (not to even try to count the number of amateurs who play the song with their own flair while leading worship). I listened to much less music on my own, and most of what I did was lyrically directed to God, so the Why is every song a love song? question mattered little.

I don't really know what has changed. But while I still appreciate a good nonsense song, I do value love songs more and more. I realized this suddenly as I was brainstorming a list of songs I might sing at the Appalachia Benefit Concert this weekend (anyone in my area who wants to hear excellent music and support our mission trip is more than welcome): every song I'd chosen to sing (with the exception of two hymns) was a love song! Whatever happened to me, that I who thought that it was silly to have so many love songs am now excited to be performing a bunch of love songs for fun?

I can only speculate, but I think it must be connected with my growing understanding of God as Love. Human love is a gift from God, a shadow of His own love. And human love is beautiful! In recent years I have experienced the beauty of self-sacrificing love, and it is positively intoxicating.

If I can subtly attract people to God by revealing the beauty of love through music... then how can I keep from singing?

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