It turns out that my dear colleague Doug Gay has inveigled me into giving a talk at the SOLAS Festival in two weeks. I’ll rehearse my survey of problems relative to the theological criticism of popular music; should be fun to present that to a less sober-sided audience than at the SBL meeting last year. Doug’s publicity release about my appearance does make me sound a lot more interesting than I am in real life, but I guess that’s why I never had a career in PR.
I’ll be carrying along my iPhone with a playlist of songs I might use to illustrate the points I’m making. In the presentation, I’ll highlight nodes where the theological criticism of popular music needs to do better, or to pay more sustained attention — such as
- mediocrity of musical-theological reflection
- Pervasive sexism in popular music (industry)
- Pervasive racism in popular music (industry)
- Status of diabolism in popular music
- Non-Christian religions and popular music
- Faith/spirituality as a lifestyle accessory
- Religiosity and atheism among non-“religious” artists
- Consumerism and popular music (industry)
- Hermeneutics and popular music
- “Christians” as stock figures in popular music
- The ethics of affinity to (sexist, racist, consumerist, atheistic) popular music
- The ethics of unwillingness to exercise theological discernment
Now, because I can’t carry all my songs to SOLAS, I need to make a capacious playlist of possibly-relevant tracks. I’ll put my starters in the comments (based on a list I’ve posted here before), but if any of you wants to propose tracks that align with one or another of these nexuses of theology/rock, please do leave a comment for me.