Friday, October 10, 2014

While driving...

In July of 2012, my brother sent me an email suggesting that I watch a YouTube video he said would blow my mind.  I clicked with some trepidation, knowing my brother's tastes.  The video was a music video featuring simple special effects, bright clothes, and spasmodic dance moves.  This was my introduction to K-Pop or Korean pop music.  The song was Gangnam Style which now boasts over 2 billion views.  It became a cultural phenomena, especially in America where no one knows any of the lyrics beyond "hey, sexy baby."

As I was driving today, my iPhone suddenly connected to my stereo.  It started playing a reading of the Westminster Confession of Faith.  Since I didn't want to listen to that for the 100th time, I hit the "next" button.  Suddenly, my ears were assaulted with a song I hadn't heard in a long time.  Back in high school, I was deeply engrossed in the CCM culture.  My stereo instantly took me back to those days with the strains of DC Talk's "Jesus is Just Alright."

Now, I don't like the title.  There is no "just" to my relationship with Jesus. (come to think of it, there's no "alright" either)  However, I started imagining how an entrepreneurial content provider could create a new music video for the 20 year old song. (which actually has an official music video that is incredibly painful to watch in 2014)

Why do I think this would work?  First, the new generation has no concept of any part of the world before the new millennium.  One of the college students in the congregation once asked me if I knew the song "Big House" by Audio Adrenaline.  He had recently heard it and thought it was compelling.  It also clock in at 20 years of age.  I might have said something rather sarcastic. (sorry bro :( )  The age of the internet has created a new benchmark of experience.  If it is not on YouTube, it doesn't exist for some.  Barely north of 300,000 views, the official music video is basically forgotten.

Second, the new generation doesn't actually listen to the lyrics. (as Psy has certainly demonstrated)  The incredible popularity of K-Pop proves the importance of entertaining visuals and musical hooks over verbal substance.  Lyrics don't matter.  It you can dance or otherwise move to the music, the words are rarely heard.  Even though the name "Jesus" appears fifteen times in the lyrics, it would surprise no sociologist that today's listener could fail to repeat any of the words to the song.

Third, the song has all the musical hooks needed to create a compelling and addictive music video.  As I was driving, I thought that if some choreographer used the frenetic dance styles frequent in the K-Pop genre, no modern person would actually listen to the words.

Do I think this would be a good avenue for the gospel?  Not really.  I actually think it would be a terrific sociological experiment.  Could we make a 20 year old song into a viral video?  Could hyperactive visuals make a culturally antagonistic song into a culturally approved medium?  Inquiring minds want to know.  ForeFront, get on this!  Internet, you are not ready for this.  You can't even.

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