What words come to mind when you think of Christmas? Maybe snow, presents, family, cinnamon, church? Or maybe, lonely, memories, travel, stress, money, lists? There are so many things we associate with this major holiday. Each is specific to our own life and experiences, but overall we have similar ideas.
Now, you may be wondering why I am starting a post on music with the idea of Christmas. Well, this post has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas (sorry to disappoint). It does, however, have everything to do with connotation. Connotation — the ideas and feelings that we automatically associate with a word, idea, place, or item.
Again, what does connotation have to do with music? Well, Alessia Cara’s new hit song “Here” uses the strength of connotations to convey a very important message. In this song, Alessia tells a story about being at a stereotypical college party. At this party she experiences loud music, many people, marijuana, and alcohol. Seems like a typical secular song nowadays, right? Wrong.
What makes this song worthwhile is that it breaks down the walls of connotation that block many Christians from engaging with culture. Many of us may be tempted to quickly change the station once we hear Alessia sing so rawly about a party scene. But in doing so, we fall into the trap of seeing the connotations we associate with her lyrics, rather than the full message of her song.
This message forces us to see the truth behind (what the world would call) a good party. Alessia sings about going because her friends were going. As she stays she realizes there is lack of community or true fellowship. Everyone is simply there for his or her own pleasure and no one pays any attention to her. She realizes that the party is wearing her thin.
Alessia’s song is bold because it goes against social norms and reveals that the pleasures of this world will never fully satisfy. Thankfully, we have the hope of something and Someone greater and it should leave us asking, “Oh God why am I here?”
– Megan W