One of the things I do on a regular basis is read Pluggedin Online, a website run by Focus on the Family that reviews movies, video games, music, and TV shows, and also comments on the culture.
Well, while reading the music reviews, I came across one for this song called “Royals,” by this New Zealander calls herself Lorde. (Read the lyrics here if you like) Apparently this song is pretty popular–by which I mean it hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and has been at the top of the alternative charts for weeks.
Well, the reviewer was quite complimentary of the song’s repudiation of the crass materialism of a lot of pop music, a sentiment that I can get behind. So I went to Youtube to go take a listen and watch the music video after I took a gander at the lyrics.
The reason for this was that I could ride with most of the lyrics, but this one part of the chorus kind of rankled me. “Let me be your ruler (ruler)/You can call me queen bee/And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule/Let me live that fantasy.”
Part of my reaction is probably due to the fact that I’m a dyed-in-the-wool republican, noncapitalization deliberate. Anyone talking about wanting to be queen or king of anykind is going to rub me the wrong way.
However, as I got to thinking about it, I realized what it was that bugged me. Lorde may have gotten away from the crass materialism of the pop music scene, but she can’t completely get away from its self-aggrandizing ethos. She still kind of wants to be the queen of–what, we’re not sure exactly, but we know of something.
Now, here’s what I’m not saying. I’m not saying this girl is some kind of secret power-hungry maniac on an ego trip. What I am saying is that the egotistical nature of popular music even gets into the people who are trying to repudiate the utterly ludicrous nature of most of the subject matter therein.
Thing is, this is just a symptom of a much wider problem, albeit one that exacerbates the problem. Essentially, what we’ve got is a society–and I don’t mean America, I mean the West–that understands individual wants to be much more important than group or individual necessity–the massive popularity of libertarianism being an indicator. For that matter, government intrusions, especially those into the economy, are justified as protecting individual liberty. Any attempts to justify such intrusions otherwise tend to crash and burn these days. (Note: social conservatism has a problem with this sort of thing, which one of the big reasons why it’s not that popular these days.)
That fact is, this is not an entirely bad development. However, as with everything, tilting too far one way ends in a wreck. Eventually.
‘Til next time,
Lowell Van Ness