Summer Song Sadness
Last week, the NY TImes ran an article highlighting the beautiful (and I use that word deliberately) work of summer camps like Eden Village in holding to a strong “No Body Talk” directive.
On Friday afternoon, when the campers, girls and boys from 8 to 17, are dressed in white and especially polished for the Sabbath, they refrain from complimenting one another’s appearances. Rather, they say, “Your soul shines” or “I feel so happy to be around you” or “Your smile lights up the world.”
Summer camps are magical. For those who have attended, we see them as our reason for trucking through the rest of the year. They are our respite, our utopian bubble where initiatives like the “No Body Talk” rule can actually work. They are our Shabbat, a re-energizing and reimagining sanctuary in space and in time.
In the camp world growing up, our “songs of the summer” consisted of a myriad of Israeli techno hits. Oh to be at camp again. What’s competing for airplay right now? Robin Thicke’s misogynistic “Blurred Lines” is being followed this summer by an even creepier “Get Her Back” single in which sexism spews from both lyric and video. No I don’t want it. Jason Derulo, who has finally retired saying his own name in every song, has followed up his filth ridden “Talk Dirty” with an even more offensive body-image destroying song “Wiggle.” These are two of many examples of utter trash that makes its way into the charts, on to our playlists and and into the way we speak of and act around others.
For those of us who are unable to spend our summer at Eden Village, we can still aim to create a summer filled with love and respect, from the lyrics we create between one another to the lyrics we listen to all summer long. When we skip out on such language, sexism and filth, we send a message to music executives that catchy melodies must be accompanied by creative lyrics. For they know that the modern music world, and its ability to skip over such trash, stands on 3 things: iTunes, Pandora and Spotify.