Choral riff

The MeFi thread on this fascinating Brian Eno interview seems to keep coming back to an offhand remark Eno makes about singing in a gospel choir even though he’s an atheist.

There’s a lot of interesting back-and-forth between those who can’t quite wrap their minds around the concept, or who think it’s hypocritical, and those (usually those actually involved in music) who point out that they sing words they don’t mean all the time.

I have to say, I don’t see the problem. If you’re a grownup without kids (and thus nobody who needs to be lied to), is there something wrong with singing a song about Santa Claus during the holiday season? Is it immoral or hypocritical for Jonathan Coulton to cover Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat,” including the end line “Sincerely, L. Cohen”?

Music’s about a lot more than just lyrics, but lyrics make it so people can make music without learning an instrument and without just singing “la la la” on every song. Not every song’s lyrics are as brilliant as JoCo’s or TMBG’s, but just because “the lyrics are dodgy” doesn’t mean you should shut yourself away from the majesty of Bach’s B Minor Mass or the passion of Mozart’s Requiem or the joy of a really good choir singing about Jesus.

P.S. The video at the top of the post has a pretty good joke right around 2:45. It’s worth waiting for.

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