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October 2017
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Tommy Beaudoin recently wrote an interesting post about the generation of young adults known as “Millennials”.  In it he wonders what songs symbolize the spiritual quest of this generation.  Beaudoin writes, “What are those songs? Middle-aged professors like me want to know, but I bet many parents of ‘Millennials’ would like to know, too, as well as religious leaders and not least, maybe ‘Millennials’ themselves.”

I just finished teaching a course at University of Detroit Mercy called “Rock, Hip-Hop and Religion.”  It was probably the most enjoyable and challenging course I have ever taught.  As part of this course I asked the students to present three songs that were spiritually significant to them.  They were required to play the song in its entirety and then explain in 3-5 minutes why the song was particularly meaningful to them.  I placed few restrictions on what they could choose–only that the songs needed to be considered (as much as this can possibly be discerned) “Popular” music (no jazz, no classical).  Of the twelve students in my class, ten of them would be considered “Millennials”–[two students were “non-traditional”–Academia’s euphemism for “older”!].  I was very impressed by these presentations.  They improved over the course of the semester as the students learned about new ways to mine songs for meaning.  What impressed me most, however, was the depth of personal sharing from these students.  These songs, some contemporary, some older, are helping the millennials in my class to ease their suffering, celebrate their life victories and mourn their deep losses.

Below is a list of some of the songs the students presented in my class.  I hope this sparks some interesting conversation!

“Something Beautiful” by Need to Breathe

“Who You Are” by Jessie J

“The Freshman” by Verve Pipe

“The Storm is Over Now” by R. Kelly

“Where is the Love” by Black Eyed Peas

“Dare You to Move” by Switchfoot

“One Love” by Bob Marley

“Alive” by P.O.D.

“Supergirl” by Krystal Harris

“Demons” by Imagine Dragons

“Royals” by Lorde

“Latch” by Disclosure

“Temporary Home” by Carrie Underwood

“Fix You” by Coldplay

“Gotta Be More to Life” by Stacie Orrico

“Under Pressure” by Queen w/David Bowie

“Brave” by Sara Bareilles


Dave Nantais, Detroit, MI


1 Comment »

  1. Once again, I feel like I was born in the wrong era. Actually, that’s not true. I wish I discovered this blog when it was active, though. My name is Ashwin, and I am a student in one of Maeve’s courses at the moment at ACU, Brisbane. I’m writing an essay on the Holy Spirit in the music of Switchfoot. These articles should make for fruitful perusal :). Pax!

    Comment by Ashwin Acharya — May 25, 2017 @ 4:55 pm

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