Should the music industry be responsible for lyric content in commercial music? This is a question I’ve been asked as a musician, and in its nature, it is a question designed to expose the writer’s background and personal beliefs to the reader. It has been lurking in the back of my mind for some time now, eyeing me with its penetrating eyes, and hunched down, ready to attack. The nature of this topic is difficult to wrap my psyche around, for you see, I am struggling between writing what I feel and what I feel obliged to say.
I have grown up in a conservative home with a firm foundation in the Christian faith due to my school career in private Christian academies. I am “brainwashed” (as my father would say) to believe that the basics of Christianity should be adhered to at all costs. Because of this, it would seem apparent that my answer to whether or not the music industry ought to be responsible for lyric content in commercial music would be a resounding yes; however, my conscience doesn’t sit well on that response, and I believe it has to do with the fact that I myself have not upheld that standard.
I have been an ardent journalist since I was in sixth grade. It has been difficult to maintain that level of dedication as school has increasingly become more difficult, but I am always grateful when I get to read back and decipher my character development and spiritual growth. There was a point, though, during tenth grade, when my writing style, and my vocabulary in particular, drastically changed to reflect the circumstances of my life story. I was grieving because my best friend since third grade had grown apart from me, my boyfriend had broken up with me, and my parents were finalizing their divorce. I was depressed, and my writing proved it. Besides the tone of misery that accompanied every journal entry of that time period, there was a significant amount of cursing that kept appearing in my handwriting. From this point in my life, I can look back and see that in those moments, there were no better words to describe how I was truly feeling.
Herein lies the issue of me answering truthfully: I was never one who tolerated cussing- in music, in movies, or even from people in my life- and there I was, hypocritically laying it thick on paper. I, for one, still detest inappropriate lyrics in music or lines in movies, because I think they’re a waste of time and my ear space; however, I have participated in the creative process of being completely honest, and sometimes, honesty is not pretty. But if I have learned one thing from the dark times of my past, it is that honesty always pays off. I have utilized this in my college application process, as well, unable to tell every school that it is at the top of my list, and surprisingly, it has served me well thus far. Creative expression should be like that: appropriately honest. The sad truth is, if we all told the truth all the time, it wouldn’t be so rewarding if we actually stumble across it.