Have you ever been around someone who is talking about an artist whose work they really enjoy (be it film, musical, visual, whatever), and they seem just really devoted to that person? I mean, I think we all have done this. Saying things like, "I LOVE them!". Or maybe it's because they find them attractive?
I've been thinking lately, are we filtering ourselves correctly? I mean, you don't really know that person aside from some of their work. So, bearing that in mind, is their work reflecting the type of person you'd want to devote yourself to in the first place? I mean, let me tell you, it's easy to look good onstage. Some call it gimmicks, some call it good marketing. If you're really smart, you can understand it both ways. I ask myself sometimes, is that person someone you'd really want to have as a close relationship? Would they be there for you if you needed help, would advice they gave you really be mature and truthful, or would they be a source of problems and drama? Sometimes that's not a question you can answer, because, again, you don't really know them.
But how many times do we say, "Oh yeah, they're a super nice bunch, I talked to them for a half hour after a show once!" You know, I really do think we can sometimes get a good look at how nice someone can be sometimes. But come on. How many times have you known someone for a year before you even "really" knew them, despite hundreds of conversations?
As artists, even though some of us want to be deep, we realize that we also need to understand and use the shallow too. And I don't mean that insultingly. On the overall, we need to look good, act personable, etc. Sometimes we need to catch people with the superficial (if we're good businesspeople) to then get them further into our art. A lot of people push boundaries in the sexual realm too to gain more fanboys and girls. We ought not do that. But at the same time, if someone listens to my music because they thought I looked good in a promotional photo, who am I to complain? I just need to realize that there is a responsibility there, and I need to try to make sure that I am the type of person I'd be ok with my friends and family following. On and off the stage.
But I challenge you, really listen to the lyrics. And put them through this test: how would I feel about these lyrics if my best friend wrote them? How would I suddenly feel about my best friend? Yeah, you think a certain song is fine until you realize that if your best girl-friend or guy-friend wrote it you'd suddenly feel less comfortable around them. Maybe they'd feel less chivalrous? More predatory? Then beyond that, really look at the lifestyle if you can. Nobody's perfect in themselves, true, and we ought to show love to everyone, but we ought not turn off our common sense for another human being just based on a shallow knowledge, despite the intimate feeling we may get from their artform.
I guess what I'm saying is, we all "love" or really enjoy great musicians and actors and artists because they can move us on an essentially deep level (if you don't believe that, just go take a philosophy of music class sometime, or study aesthetics or something). And as a musician, artist, actor, I want your enthusiastic support. I want to walk out amongst smoke, lights, fire, and the roar of 100,000 voices to share something really awesome. But really, too often the people going wild for the musician onstage are practically taking for granted the people that have REALLY done things for them in life. Are you swooning over the heartthrob and overlooking someone who actually would "catch a grenade for ya", or perhaps someone who (figuratively) already has?