Perhaps Macklemore himself says it best:
“The fact that ‘Same Love’ is played on mainstream radio in America means that it is creating a dialogue. People are hearing the lyrics to this song about marriage equality, and whether you agree with it or you don't agree with it, you are forced, until you turn that radio dial, to listen to it. Hopefully that leads to conversation. Hopefully that leads to dialogue. With that, I believe change occurs.”
In case you aren't aware, “Same Love” is the hit single by artists Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, with guest singer Mary Lambert. The three espouse gay rights. The track took home the “Best Song with a Social Message” award at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards show Sunday night, after which the group performed it with a notable guest appearance by Jennifer Hudson, receiving waves of ovation and applause.
You hear about artists, celebrities and even the occasional politician offering public support of gay rights all the time. It's no surprise, really. After all, Hollywood and the music industry aren't exactly next in line to picket Planned Parenthood or to host the next GOP National Convention, but it's exceedingly rare that these artists or celebrities manage to press their opinions into the public discourse.
Unfortunately for said artists and celebrities, that's exactly what's required of them if they want to establish any actual change. Merely vocalizing your support does little more than pad your fan base with more diverse people.
Thankfully, Macklemore and his “Same Love” are different, and to wondrous effect. The record is mind-numbingly popular, reaching an impressive no. 11 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, and it has received widespread critical acclaim. Its success is impressive for a couple of reasons; for one, being an independent artist isn't necessarily easy, and also, when was the last time you heard another song championing human rights on mainstream radio? How about we answer that question with an observation: Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is still no. 1 on that same chart.
If you haven't listened to the song — or for that matter, watched the video — I'd suggest you do so when you get the chance. I don't offer the following compliment often, but the song meets a certain criteria of perfection: It sets out to do something, and it manages to do so with an all-too-poetic justice.
You see, “Same Love” doesn't care about painting a picture so lush that it'll elicit revenue, it doesn't insist upon forced rhyme, excessive rhythm or sparkling melody, and it certainly doesn't force its listener to adopt an ideal with a languished tale of woe to incite pity. Rather, what it does is make an honest, surprisingly charming attempt to send an informed message to both the gay and straight communities: that we're all people, working vicariously towards similar goals, trying to meet similar ends.
Again, maybe Macklemore said it best Sunday: “Gay rights are human rights.”
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