Wednesday, February 26, 2014

If you hear what I hear...

This week rapper 'Bizzle' released a song in response to the popular "Same Love" by Macklemore (If you have no clue what I'm talking about click on the underlined names above but to break down in a nutshell: rapper Macklemore released a song a few months back that gained a lot of traction in the LGBT community and was used most recently at Grammy's last month while "Queen" Latifah married off 150+ gay couples during the show, click here to see the story).  Since the release of his very open and honest response to the pro-gay song, rapper Bizzle has received hate mail and death threats from the gay community (Story here).  Hear the song by click on image below...

So why do I point out this "debate" in music?  I have many reasons but let me just stress two.  
1) Music effects all of us on some level.  This is why when that song you heard on the radio the moment you broke up with your high school boyfriend/girlfriend comes on you immediately have a flood of emotions, even though it's been months or even years.  This is why we listen to heavy metal when we work-out or slow jazz when we're relaxing.  This is why the one lyric stays on repeat in our head all day long... Music effects our hearts, heads and thus our actions!
2) There's a fight for control of your thoughts.  Though I'm not a big believer in hidden messages if you play that one record backwards on a slower speed in the dark while tripping out to acid!  I do believe every band or musician wants to be heard, wants to change someones life through their music or at the minimum, be famous.  The only way to do either of those things is to get you to listen, mediate, talk about and even purchase their music.

Make no mistake... The music you or your kids listens to effects you in either a healthy or negative way.  Music is not neutral and often has a purpose and focus behind it. 

So what's your stance on music?  Is it different for you than it is for your kids?  Are you more or less strict than your parents?  What do you allow and not allow?  What do you listen to when you're in the car all alone?  What do they?

DISCLAIMER: Just because a group or song is listed below does NOT mean I think they are evil or you will go to hell if you listen to it.  The point of these tips are to educate others on what's out their, making others aware of helpful apps and to teach us that ultimately "Everything is suspect" (There are "Christian" artists who do not teach or preach Biblical values and thus could be just as damning if not worse than listening to "Secular" jargon)

My #1 plea to parents and students is: Listen & Hear!

If there is a song you are going to play over and over again.  Stop and listen beyond the "cool beats" and hear the message they are wanting to share.  Is there one?  What does it teach or say about culture?  What does it say about you?  How does it make you feel?

With that said let me give you a couple tips for parents about music... 

Downloading vs. Streaming...

Did you know that you can listen to music without having it on your iphone, ipod, mp3 player, computer, etc.?  In other words, even though your son or daughter do not have songs or bands you have said no to on their ipod doesn't mean they can't listen to them.  
Downloading: putting music on your ipod (iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, BandCamp, etc.).
Streaming: playing music from the internet through your ipod (Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio, etc.).  
When downloaded you will see the music when searched, however in contrast, when streaming you would only know what's been played if logged online.  Spotify seems to be one of the most popular with teens.  Read more about it hear at last months blog: 'Top 10 apps parents should be aware of'.

What makes it [Explicit] vs. [Clean]... 
In short, language that the culture has deemed taboo or in sensitive (Read all the answers here: RIAA).  Most songs if containing a phrase or word that has been deemed explicit has to be marked as such on iTunes or the cover of the CD with the PAL logo (Parental Advisory Lyrics).  You can see an image below of what it would look like on iTunes.  Often artists today make two recordings, one the way they did originally and one without the explicit words typically earning them a "Clean" or non-labeled song. 

As a parent and student I would argue for you to really think about the content (Listen AND Hear).  Just because they took out the "F-word" or worse just removed the part of the word leaving what youth culture guru, Jonathan McKee says: "the uck free version (see his helpful blog to parents here).  Does removing one word magically make the rest of the song quality in content or a message that needs to be shared, mediated on, etc.?  Often foul language is the least of our worries when compared to the point of the song.

Parental Controls...
There are several tools available to help parents do everything from track what your teens are listening to, to just out right block it.  Though I firmly believe that the most important thing is to teach "the Why" said music (or content) is unacceptable.  It is often needed to take extra steps to protect our kids as best as we can as well.  For example, if you "share" an account through iTunes (and iCloud) you can not only block certain apps and purchases, any app or song downloaded to their phone will automatically sync to yours (See links below).

Helpful sights to check-out:
- iTunes (restricting Music, in-app purchases, volume, etc. on ipods, iphones, ipads, etc.)
- SafeEyes (works for anything observed or downloaded via the internet)
- Common Sense Media (has quickly become one of my favorite resources for parents)

*Here’s a quick rundown on what's hot right now (
-       ‘Dark Horse' (Katy Perry)... Here's an analysis of the song, here
-       ‘Happy' (Pharrell Williams)
-       ‘Talk Dirty’ (Jason Derulo)... See lyrics, here
-       ‘Say Something’ (A Great Big World)
-       ‘Drunk In Love' (Beyonce)... See lyrics, here
-       ‘Counting Stars’ (OneRepublic)
-       ‘Timber’ (Pitbull)... See music video, here
-       ‘Pompeii’ (Bastille)

The Bergs
**Follow Jeff (Family Pastor of High School), also known as "surgeberg" on: FacebookTwitter & Instagram


  1. Jeff - thank you thank you thank you!!

  2. Thank You so much Kim... What spoke to you the most?