Take a sad song and make it better

Over the course of my life I’ve subscribed to and read several music publications. These serve several purposes. One of the most important is to inform me about what’s going on in music and to tell me about bands I should check out. Another is to entertain me with some well written articles. These things aside entertainment journalism is invaluable because of the depth and appreciation it can provide for music.

Recently I was listening to an interview with Mark Foster of Foster the People on World Cafe on NPR and learned some very interesting things about him. For example he was a freelance composer and moved to L.A. at the age of 18 — which is not for the meek.

I also learned that “Pumped up Kicks” is about school shootings. I would never have guessed this. I thought the lyrics were kind of a mix between a graphic novel and a western but nothing more sinister. Listening to Foster explain his motives in writing the song and his love of characters in music helps me to better appreciate his music.

Entertainment journalism is valuable because it allows us to develop a greater understanding of the music, movies and other culture that are such an important part of our lives.

Take for example Pink, an artist that would be a guilty pleasure if I felt guilty about loving her so much. On time I watched the Behind the Music on her and since have developed an appreciation for where he music is coming from and her background. It’s not just that she’s a little bit badass and can write some catchy songs but that I understand deeper into the music she creates.

The song “Every Breathe You Take” is about stalking but most people don’t notice this because they’re caught up in the catchy beats and good music. Or “Dog Days Are Over” which has much darker lyrics than one would think based on the catchy refrain.

Often times songs are about far more than first appears and a great deal of hit songs are actually about pretty terrible subject matter. Entertainment writing opens our eyes to what’s beneath the surface.