Our 4-year-old daughter has somehow discovered Marcus & Martinus, a Norwegian pop duo. The two identical twins rose to fame through a national song contest back in 2012, at the age of 10. They charmed everyone, and toured every single mall in the country. In 2015, the brothers released their debut album “Hei” (English: “Hi”). Now the two have reached their sweet 16, and the boys' management has put their cross-hairs on the world. The song lyrics are in English, and they’re doing songs featuring other international artists.
How our daughter figured out that Marcus & Martinus is a thing, I don’t know. I blame the kindergarten for this. I’m blaming them for everything weird she’s doing, to be honest. And that’s a lot. She’s is particularly hung up in the song “Elektrisk” (English: “Electric”) from their first album. A section of the lyrics, translated to English by yours truly, goes like this:
Ooooo-oo-oo-oo-oooo / Electric / Ooooo-oo-oo-oo-oooo / You are electric
And so begins my argument.
The two charmers that make up the duo Marcus & Martinus reach a large number of kids through their music. The lyrics on their first album focus entirely on girls, and teenage love. I know this well, since I’ve had the pleasure of listening to their smashing music both at home, and in the car. I can’t really blame Marcus & Martinus for their choice of recurring topic, though. They were 13 when the album was released, the opposite sex was probably the only thing on their minds at the time.
Now, however, at the age of 16, their world view should have extended at least a little beyond girls. But the general theme of their most recent album, “Moments”, is the same as before. On the 2017 release, we find titles like “Make You Believe in Love”, “First Kiss”, and “Dance with You”.
Preaching love is of course a good thing, but perhaps they should try to spice things up a little with other important topics. With their reach and influence, they certainly have the potential to make a difference. And, as a bonus, they won’t have to look back at their career when they eventually retire, and realize that everything they produced was the music equivalent of pink cotton candy drivel.
This issue is not exclusive for Marcus & Martinus, though. Of course it’s not. If you take a random selection of A-list celebrities, very few of them have grabbed the opportunity to influence people in ways that are not solely for the sake of their own egos and bank accounts. This hasn’t changed much for when I grew up either. Of the bands and musicians I listened to, I can only think of two that tried to make a difference; Sting and Bono from U2. The latter has been almost universally mocked for his efforts, so trying to be a good guy might not be very attractive when you’re famous.
That said, here’s a challenge to Marcus & Martinus: On your next album, try to include a song that’s about something else than getting with the girls. Find a cause that’s important to you, and try to open your fans' eyes.
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What I most admire in Marcus and Martinus is the positive energy that they bring to nearly everything they do. Even as an adult, I find that a remarkable trait that we can all add to our day. Do it. Do it well. Be yourself. I find that they embrace these philosophies.
They are young boys. Let them sing about girls for a while longer. I’d dread being in their position. Most boys worry about finding one girlfriend. I don’t know how I’d handle picking one out of a crowd of 35,000 screaming girls (maybe the one that wasn’t screaming!). I do not think Sting or Bono started trying to make a difference until they were older (they even started their musical careers at an older age)–Sting was 26 when he was with the Police and did not venture solo until he was 35! Bono was 16 when he started with U2. The Beatles made songs for social change, but even they rode the girly-song wave until they tired of it. Maturity will come. Let the kids be kids!
But with their strong (and growing) fanbase, I still think they should take the opportunity to influence their fans to become even better people. I don’t want them to completely stop singing about girls – after all, that’s one of their big attractions, I just want them to flavor their lyrics with some let’s-make-the-world-a-better-place-spice.
I think a simple message that they tried to convey in their Moments tour was "Be here, now." They might tackle the cell phone problem since it looks like 3/4 of their fans in live audiences either watch them on the screen or record the whole thing. It’s the times that they live in, and they know all about social media, but I find it a little sad that the kids in the audience can’t just be there with them without their phones!
"Hey, it’s your favorite song, put down your new iphone…"
It isn’t A-list celebrities jobs to influence/encourage your kids to make a difference, that remains the parents job. It isn’t musicians or other category celebrities jobs to talk politics to your kids whether in writing, speaking or in a song, music is about making people happy & usually comes from the heart.
When they are ready & when something other than loves comes into their hearts, they will most likely sing about it, otherwise just leave them be - if you have an issue with what they sing about, it is the parents job to teach their kids, not celebrities.