God Forgives, Pop Music Doesn’t

God Forgives, I Don’t. This is not a personal opinion or character trait of mine.  But this is the title of Rick Ross’s new CD. I’ve never been a big fan of his, but I must admit, I like a lot the music he’s done in the past couple years. I even downloaded his free mix tape, Rich Forever. But something about the title of his new CD just makes me not be able to go out and purchase it. I like a few of the songs on it, but does he really believe the mantra of the CD’s title? Don’t get me wrong. I probably couldn’t put my iPod on random in any setting and please everyone in the room. I like all types of music, and some isn’t as clean as it could or should be, but where is the line drawn?

During the first week of its release, God Forgives, I Don’t sold over 100,000 copies and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart. Could this be partly attributed to pure talent, or pushing the envelope. But even take Madonna and Lady Gaga. Both artists (Lady Gaga more than likely following in the footsteps of Madonna) have pushed the image, interview, performance and sexual envelopes way past the normal acceptance mark. But has the element of shock value become the new norm? Rappers like Eminem were treading on somewhat unfamiliar territory with explicitly violent and disturbing lyrics that had everyone in a frenzy in the late 1990s. But now, would it have the same effect? Have we really just become desensitized over time. Even Nicki Minaj can probably feel less of the heat being directed at her, from not having to pave the way like artists before her did. When Lil Kim exploded on the music scene in 1996, she took music to a place it had never quite been before. But now we want more and more…..and thus artists like Nicki Minaj are created.

By no means is any of this a cut or slight at any current day artists that I have mentioned here. But it is facing the reality that many of the concepts artists are putting out are not necessarily new, they’re just multiplied to the next level. What people think is so taboo now fits for the time, but when will we see that we’re pushing things a little too far? The main goal I see in current popular music is to get you (the consumer) to buy it. No matter what it takes to get there, if we purchase it, the artist’s job is done. Even some of today’s gospel artists like Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin and Lecrae have somewhat capitalized on what the younger generations are listening to. “The God In Me” sounds just like Jamie Foxx’s massive hit “Blame It”, so the general public is already predisposed to liking it. It’s all about what will sell and what won’t.

What are your thoughts? Do you think popular music is unforgiving of certain morals, standards and values? Or are we too uptight and it’s just all in the name of good fun and entertainment? Does real artistry still exist and what percentage of it is the artist’s personal expression or a ploy for sales?

5 thoughts on “God Forgives, Pop Music Doesn’t

  1. It’s quite disturbing to consider what will have shock value twenty years from now …will rockers make videos using scenes from real executions…will transgender artists flip flop between both sides in the performances….my imagination isn’t vast enough to even scratch the surface if what we will be dealing with as performers seek to exponentially out do each other.

    • Yes, I completely agree. It is scary to think of what people will do to push the envelope years from now. Eventually we will all be desensitized to it in a way. Hopefully we don’t lose the real purpose of music!

  2. It is too much, it has gone too far and often times, it is not for the sake of music, but money, as you have stated! But, as long as there are those that will buy it, the artists will keep on shooting out the crap that is selling! Personally, I am very grateful for recording of older tunes, those that can be played over and over, while never loosing their flavor, nor having to be put away or feel ashamed because someone heard your music and you can’t say, “I am always proud of it” or, you find yourself explainly why you are listening to it! Red flag, people! Something is wrong when it can’t just flow; taking you to a better place, as opposed to a violent, angry or “embarassing” place! No matter how music changes, basic human values, feelings and acceptance will remain the same. If you can’t appreciate it tomorrow, check out why you are listening to it today!

    • Very profound response! You are right, as long as people keep buying, they keep putting out these types of gimmicks. I have an appreciation of older tunes too that are more pure than some of today’s current music.

  3. I totally agree with you Carlos. Our society have pushed the envelope so far that I heard a song on the radio from 2 Chainz featuring Kanye West saying all he want is a big booty girl…I was like OMG, really? I was more surprise that an artist such as Kanye West would do a song like that…I agree with a previous post that what will we consider as shock value twenty years from now? I can only imagine… Good post!

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