Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Expanding Your Advent Liturgical Music Playlist

Yesterday as I was writing about God seeing the world and being motivated to respond, a song came to mind.  It's not your typical Advent song (although it does have a repeated lyric that could be a cousin to "Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum").  In fact, I'm guessing no one's got it on their liturgical playlist at all.

The song is by pop star Lady Gaga. Do you know Lady Gaga? Here she is in one of her many classic outfits: 

The Gaga, she does like her outrageous fashions.

Well, at the top of this year, she released "Bad Romance", a hit song with a sort of German techno flavor about... well, that's why I'm bringing it up.  As the title indicates, it's a bad romance -- "I want your ugly, I want your disease," the narrator sings.  "I want your love, I want your revenge."  One might think there's something creepy or toxic here.  (And if you ever happen to check out the music video, toxic does not begin to cover it! But creepy might.)

And yet, Lady Gaga herself indicated the song was about someone falling in love with their best friend. And despite the song's title, the song provides no sense of rejection or fighting, a romance gone bad.  If anything, it's a song in which someone invites another to share all their bad-ness without fear.

What if we heard that as Jesus singing to us?  Could we think about Jesus' desire to become human as a "bad romance" --  that is, a love story grounded in a knowledge and embrace of us in all our horror, all our craziness?

You can find the lyrics here.  I highly recommend you read them as you listen to the song. If you look just under the "Bad Romance Lyrics" title on the top of the lyrics page, you'll find a little blue link entitled "Listen Now".  Click there and you'll be able to hear the song.

The Lady, she is not for everybody.  But it's Advent! Something's coming! What better time to try new things?


Mike Bayard, S.J. said...

Love it, Jim! Just printed this off and read it to some of my colleagues in the office. What I thought was purely a joke turned out to be somewhat serious and offering an opportunity for reflection in the midst of a very busy day. Are you writing a daily reflection for Advent? One of my colleagues is now interested in reading your blog. Keep up the writing ... I just put together my Advent playlist last night and will be sure to include the Gaga!

Jim McDermott, SJ said...

Thanks, Mike! I am trying to do an entry for every weekday of Advent, looking at themes like darkness, expectation, imminence... Hopefully it'll be useful stuff.

Really glad you liked today's! The Gaga -- she is good.

Dan Schutte said...

Jim, I loved your piece about Lady Gaga. You have a wonderful sensativity and voice in finding God in all things - especially pop culture. I look forward to reading more of your Advent musing. Best to you with your studies at UCLA! Dan

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