Reverse Musical Lobotomy

I played a wedding at a nearby parish. I was requested to play this song as a prelude for the singer to render. The lyrics did not give me confidence. A sample:

Oh, come on girl,
Who cares if we’re trashed
got a pocketful of cash we can blow …

There’s more, but that was about the worst of it.

The singer, thank goodness, also objected and without consulting the couple, we performed the equivalent of a reverse lobotomy on the text of Bruno Mars.

Okay. I get that in the soundtrack of life, some songs get imprinted on the spirits of people in love. My wife remembers the first song we danced to, for example. I don’t. I trust her memory on that point. But there’s more to a meaningful song than the connection of time, a beat, and an association with love, even young love.

And these lyrics, I suppose my generation isn’t one to offer better alternatives (“Hooked on a Feeling” or “Let’s Spend the Night Together”). But for a Wedding Mass prelude? Eep.

Otherwise, the wedding was pretty decent in terms of music, if you like chestnuts. (Panis Angelicus, Malotte Lord’s Prayer for prelude, and Jesu Joy.)


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Reverse Musical Lobotomy

  1. LIam says:

    Aw come on, no Auto-Tuned mashup of Bruno & Bach?

    If I might add, Bruno’s song is about a man proposing to a woman: a uni-directional song about betrothal, to dress it up mighty fine. As a wedding song, it’s not, um, inclusive about what the *couple* and, um, God are doing in the sacrament of marriage. Um.

  2. Ida says:

    If you are the same Todd that used to post on RPInet, at one time you objected to people changing the words of edging-into-heresy songs in the Gather hymnal as it was a violation of copyright.
    You seem to have relaxed a bit ;o)

    • Todd says:

      I don’t recall the exact context. It was, as you suggest, long long ago.

      I think it’s better to get permission to dramatically alter the work of another artist–copyright doesn’t figure into it so much. Especially long-term stuff–like a piece that’s going to get performed regularly.

      That said, Bruno Mars wasn’t going to get churchplay that day without some changes. The singer wasn’t going to sing about people getting drunk and getting married on a whim, no matter how cute it might be.

      As for the Gather hymnals, I don’t think there are any heretical songs in it. Heresy is a gravely serious charge–it must be proved. I think a case may be made here and there in isolated lines in a few songs that a lyric is not well expressed or the theology behind it is not traditional, or it could be interpreted as questionable.

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