Thrift Store Religion

This one needs a disclaimer:

I give all deference to anyone’s beliefs. I do. I really do. This post is just pointing out something I’ve noticed, recently. And now you’re wondering what the hell I’m gonna say. Well, read on!

***

There’s a piped-in radio at our work. We have no say in what gets played. It’s been Christmas music lately, of course. Not my favourite, but it’s only temporary.

Thankfully, it’s not non-stop Christmas music, they’ve been playing regular pop music mixed in. And with those mixed in songs, I’ve been noticing that there has also been an increase in overtly religious songs in the playlist. Related to Christmas? Probably. Or maybe it’s just random chance. But I noticed.

Here are 5 songs I heard in heavy rotation last week, mixed in with Jingle Bell Rock and Blue Christmas:

Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky

Yes, the original. And if ever there was an overt religious song, it’s this one. You’ve heard it. You know.

Beach Boys – God Made The Radio

I generally appreciate the Beach Boys and what they were, but I’ve always found this song insipid and obnoxious, one of the worst in their catalogue. And every time it plays, all I can think is that God did not make the radio. A long list of human inventors discovered electromagnetic waves and subsequently built machines to use them. I don’t care how good your harmonies are, science made the radio.

Dishwalla – Counting Blue Cars

“Tell me all your thoughts on God, ‘cos I’d really like to meet her.” The story of a child asking a zillion questions, as “children often do.” Fun to purport that God is a woman (and why not, although Christianity seems certain it’s a man, who sent HIS Son, etc), and curiosity is great in anyone, but this one plays like pure calculation. like, ‘hey man, if we mention God in our song, and make it a woman, but package it as something relatable like a kid being curious, we might get radio play!’

Joan Osbourne – One Of Us

An OK tune the first couple of times I heard it, but every play after that (and it’s been countless times, in groceries stores, dentists’ offices, shopping malls, etc), has been annoying. And look, if God was “a slob like one of us,” “just a stranger on the bus trying to make his way home,” well, first of all… where is that bus going, straight up? Don’t people believe heaven is in the sky? Shouldn’t it be a plane, not a bus? And if God is here on the earth amongst us, dealing with commuter traffic, who’s running things upstairs? It all hurts my head.

George Harrison – My Sweet Lord

Yup, he’s here too, and George was my favourite Beatle. I know a lot of his music was about spirituality in one way or another, but this has had a lot of play at work too and so here it is on the list because you know what it says too.

***

In Sum:

I’m just pointing out that I noticed an increase in the number of songs containing religious overtones and references on my workplace music system. It’s unusual for this many to be played daily. Again, it’s probably the proximity to a Christian holiday that’s brought this on. I also have not heard a single Hannukah song.

What’s probably worse is that my co-workers hum along and don’t pay any attention to the words. The tunes are catchy enough to grab their ear and attention, and the songs are played at just that volume that they can be heard but they don’t demand your full attention, and so the content doesn’t phase them. If they’re Christians, these tunes are great, but it’s pretty subliminal if they’re not. Of course, they also hum along to that horrid I can’t feel my face song, too, so it’s equal opportunity.

Fortunately, I am off all of this coming week. And with all the work holidays for Christmas and other days off when the production team (that’s me) isn’t in the building, I only work two days between now and January 2. By then, the Christmas music should be gone, and we can go (hopefully) back to our regular pap pop.

20 thoughts on “Thrift Store Religion

  1. Vinyl Connection says:

    Questioning being piped a certain type of value-laden music is not the same as dissing beliefs. Can’t imagine who would take offence, Aaron.

    But they might at this: what about my rights as an atheist NOT to have such music pumped at me without my choice or agreement? How is that fair? Our local shopping strip has a tannoy system in the street – there’s no escape. This dreadful music (and the most devout will concede that almost all traditional Christmas music IS dreadful) pollutes malls and centres and now open-air public places. Can’t wait till it’s over. (The Scrooge rant ends here)

    Like

    1. keepsmealive says:

      Well Bruce, I try to stay away from religion and politics in the blogs. Safer that way. I put the disclaimer on there just to make sure no one thought anything was underhanded or targeted in some way!

      Atheists follow a tough line. In a world where an overwhelming proportion of the human population follows one religion or another, it’s inevitable that this sort of thing will happen. They’re probably not even aware that it might bother anyone outside their own beliefs. Fortunately, you can wear earbuds to the shoppes and tune out whatever they’re playing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. thefortnightlyplaylist says:

    I wouldn’t mind Christmas music if they’d play the good stuff. They never seem to go with Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhauer. They never even do Tom Waits or The Pogues. It’s basically generic pop star sings Jingle Bells.

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