Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Music Discussion

A friend of mine who teaches English in Europe posed this question to me in an email this week:

What 5 contemporary songs from the last 25 years would YOU suggest for a discussion class?? (Not Christian songs) Here's the scoop, in January I'll be leading a discussion group on music. I am hoping to come up with a list of 15 songs we can listen to and discuss. It would be really great if the song was either a BIG hit (very popular) OR the artist/group is/was very popular. The goal is to have thought provoking conversation about life issues, AND open the door to spiritual conversation.

What would you suggest?


shawn said...

The songs that immediately come to mind that have (in my opinion) well-crafted and thought provoking lyrics:
1. Bartender by Dave Matthews Band
or Seek Up by Dave Matthews Band
2. The Maker by Daniel Lanois
3. Brothers on a Hotel Bed by Death Cab for Cutie
4. Boy with A Coin by Iron & Wine (for a little bit of an agnostic slant)
5. Biko by Peter Gabriel for a human rights song
or Darkness by Peter Gabriel for a song about fear and inner issues - Digging in the Dirt also by Peter Gabriel also fits that description... I just really like Peter Gabriel.
Wow. Tough question... too many good songs.

christopher said...

Hmm...most of the songs I would've picked are closer to 30 years old...so lets see...

In no particular order:

- Our Lady Peace
- Goo Goo Dolls
"Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"
- Green Day
"Janie's Got a Gun"
- Aerosmith
- "You're Beautiful"
- James Blunt

Special Mention, but it came out in 1979: "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"
- Meatloaf

I could adds tons more, but I like this list.

Jo said...

I have more than 5... Not all lend themselves to spiritually-leaning discussion, but songs and/or artists which've marked the cultural landscape nonetheless.
1. where is the love - because this song helped launch the commercialization of the socially conscious black-eyed peas, because justin timberlake is in it, because of the message
2. the freshmen - because everyone can find a way to relate this song to some part of their personal narrative, and because that makes the verve pipe one hit wonders for it
3. larger than life - because the backstreet boys sing a song about the hugeness of themselves, and for everything else they set in motion for pop music (see also: britney spears, nsync, hanson [mmmbop! the fleeting nature of fame!] avril lavigne, etc. etc. etc.)
4. powerless (say what you want) - because nelly furtado wrote this song in response to a magazine's editing of her picture to make her appear more white.
5. brick - because it's a beautiful song, and because it's about abortion
6. bootylicious - because this discussion has to include hiphop culture's treatment of women, by their male *and* female superstars (see also: alicia keys video for fallin', or india.irie's video, or rap videos in general...)
7. jeremy - not sure if this fits the time limit... because violence invading the safe refuges of children deserves attention, because pearl jam was the band of choice for disillusioned christian youth when i was growing up
8. not a pretty girl - because it's ani difranco's favourite topic
9. yellow - because it's coldplay's first single
10. you oughta know - because break-up songs are the best songs, because alanis successfully rebranded herself with this song
11. dirty - because xtina broke the britney mold, because she keeps rebranding and rebranding and rebranding
12. everybody hurts - because it's as close to a universal truth as i've ever found, because it was on the billboard charts for months, because it's rem.