In the summer, most of my Saturdays are reserved for lawn mowing. During this weekly routine, I often listen to podcasts or nostalgic music.
Last Saturday I pulled up my Billy Joel favorites playlist which, of course, included “Just The Way You Are”, Joel’s iconic paean to relational stability.
Over the roar of the mower, I sang along to the familiar refrain, “I just want someone that I can talk to, I want you just the way you are,” followed by, “I need to know that you will always be, the same old someone that I knew.”
Then I paused and thought…
“Wait a minute, Billy! What you’re espousing is a one-way street. Someone to talk to and promise you they will never change? Why would you even want that?!”
With Top 40 pop, the frothy musical concoctions carry us away, yet they can cloak a misleading or darker message in sunny tones.
Context frequently over-anthems content.
In not paying attention, we can be musically duped into a state of complacency that doesn’t appraise what is being said.
Like carefully or carelessly cloaked tunes, culture carries its own forms of innocuous denial. Easy listening melodies can misrepresent the words and wounds of truth.
The world now struggles to hear the lull of generational melodies we have not questioned, that have masked injustices to ourselves and the land we live in.
It is clear that our culture conditions us to hear these songs a particular way, and now more than ever, it’s incumbent on us to listen honestly to what life sings to us.
So we can compassionately and courageously find ways to love each other just the way we are…
The featured image is courtesy of Aaron Burden.