How Has Pop Music Really Gotten This Stupid? Yes. The Answer is Yes: A Little Friday Funny

YouTube Preview ImageYou’ll have to forgive me, but I’m just a little bit pissed off. I think I’ve made my thoughts about contemporary pop music pretty clear–you can read a full post on the subject here. It’s not a lack of ability. The pool of talent is rich and diverse: great musicians, singers, songwriters, producers, dancers, performers–these folks are incredibly gifted. The problem is they have nothing to say. Even worse, they seem to be engaged in some sort of contest to see whose song lyrics can contain the most creatively raunchy way to talk about sex, demeaning themselves, their subjects, and fans in the process. It’s absurd. The heart of pop music is now rooted firmly in graphic sex, violence, and debasing, disrespectful, and violent imagery much of which is aimed at women. The problem is that the music is just so dang good we can’t stop listening.

I love this video, not just because it’s funny, but because you can actually hear the inane and silly lyrics of Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty.” Been around the world don’t speak the language. But your booty don’t need explaining. Really? Your booty don’t need explaining? Got her saved in my iPhone under “Big Booty.”  Profound. Well done Jason Derulo. You have officially blown us away with your keen insight and clever poetic musings on the size and nature of the woman’s bottom you have presently chosen to objectify. We are now all just a little stupider for having listened to your song. By the way, my ten and eight year old boys love your music. Thank you for that.

I know what Derulo’s retort would be. In fact he wrote it into the song itself, specifically in the bridge which is rapped by the immortal 2 Chainz–formerly known (I kid you not), as Tity Boi: “Sold out arenas, you can suck my penis.” Well done Jason (and Dos Cadenas). You have nailed it. You have summed up the virtue of your art. You are getting rich by calling forth the very worst the human race has to offer. The only problem is that you are responsible for what you put out into the world. You are responsible.

I’m not a prude. I want artists to push the envelope. We need to talk about sex, but not like this. Contemporary pop music should be the slap in the face our sleeping culture needs to wake up and choose a new direction. Instead they are cashing checks, riding in limos and apparently, getting laid on every continent.

So I say, isn’t it time for pop musicians to use their considerable powers for good? Seriously, channel all of that creative energy and talent into imagining a better future. Take all of that ability and call out the powers that be. Take on the people who are running our world off a cliff. Deconstruct political corruption. Expose injustice. Tell a good story. Fight for something that’s worth fighting for. Stop, please for the love of all that’s holy, stop seeing how raunchy you can make your lyrics in order to make a buck. You look and sound ridiculous, and my kids–all of our kids–are your captive audience.

Music used to be important. It could be again. But the artists are going to have to change it.

About Tim Suttle

Find out more about Tim at

Tim Suttle is the senior pastor of He is the author of several books including his most recent - Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), & An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals.

Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. The band's most recent album is "Straight Back to Kansas." He helped to plant three thriving churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • Tim Keel

    Great stuff, Tim. I read an interesting and mildly depressing article on Slate last month about David Foster Wallace’s critique of irony and how our culture has become banal due to it. Your line – “The problem is they have nothing to say.” – made me think of it. Here’s the link:

  • Linnea912

    So true. The only “pop” singer these days that I like (and I use the term rather loosely) is Josh Groban. He actually has some wonderful things to say with his music, and is really an artist, not just a pop star. 99% of pop today is just vapid and stupid. On the other hand, the pop of 30 years ago (80’s) was good stuff… *sigh*…

  • luke piestalker

    great summarization. but you seem to think these a-holes give a damn about what your kids tune into… they don’t. they don’t give a shit about anyone, nor do they care about music. coz music actually died when these no-talent, accursed, animals realized they could generate a beat on a computer and still sell tickets and albums…

    they are pretenders! can derulo or grande or kanye pick up an instrument and play for us? phuck no, they gotta have their synthesizers, their lazer light shows and their glitzy fashion in order to masquerade as artists. they are not artists. they are wicked idiots lead around by their greed trying like mad to exploit the market (your children) and win adoration. another sign Jesus Christ is about to hit the reset button – music no longer has anything to do with music.