Daft Punk’s “Around the World” was a big hit in 1997 off their album homework. This house/techno track from the French electronic duo was a hit peaking at 150 on the Billboard Top 200. The lyrics can be found here: “Around the World.” Wait, what do I mean by that? Those are all the lyrics to the song. They repeat “Around the World” over and over again. So, the question arises – what theological meanings can one find in these lyrics? Or, what can one learn about the Lord from the track?
On the lyrics the answer is – not much. A robotic voice saying “Around the World” on repeat doesn’t really mean a whole lot. It sounds cool, but in the end if you’re looking for some deeper meaning to three words you are wasting your time. The Bible warns against foolish talk (Ephesians 5:4), but I have to ask – is this talk foolish? The way Daft Punk constructed this song, the lyrics (or lack thereof) are effectively used as another musical instrument. They are used to propel the song and beat forward. They are used as an instrument, not as a medium for getting a point across. So, as I said in the beginning – the words are meaningless, right? Well, not exactly because now we have to look at the totality of the song for meaning and whether or not the track helps us in some Biblical way.
We are called to do everything to God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Is God glorified by the song “Around the World?” As it’s more or less a piece of art to be interpreted, the short answer is maybe.
What response do you feel when you listen to Daft Punk’s “Around the World?” If it serves as a thorn and inspires you to sin, then it is not glorifying the Lord. If it reminds you of a time you did drugs or cheated on your spouse, then it doesn’t glorify the Lord in your life. If it inspires these negative thoughts, then it should be cut from your life. Christ calls us to radically cut out those things which lead us to sin (Matthew 5:30, Mark 9:43). If this song does that to you, cut it out. I heard a story about a recovering drug addict who associated anything heavier than a hymn with drugs. Knowing his own weakness, he couldn’t listen to any music apart from hymns – this includes most modern radio songs of praise. He radically cut it out of his life. It’s hard, but necessary to keep yourself from sin.
If you can still glorify the Lord in your actions while listening to this song, then it inherently will help you glorify God just as any instrumental piece could.
Now, what about motivation. What was the motivation behind this song? As it’s an electronic song intended to be danced to, I’d imagine to…make a song people can dance to. Is dancing wrong? No, as I wrote in my piece on Jingle Bell Rock:
The Bible calls us to celebrate. Yes, that Bible. The Bible tells us there are times to laugh (Ecclesiastes 3:4), to enjoy the gifts God has given us (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13). It tells us over and over again to celebrate the Lord (Philippians 4:4, Romans 14:17) and enjoy the holidays He has set before us (Leviticus 23:40-42, Luke 2:13-14). He even calls us to dance in joy and to praise His name (Psalms 149:3, Jeremiah 31:13, Ecclesiastes 3:4).
Does that mean the song is inherently a good, God glorifying song? No. It means there is a way to listen to the song while still glorifying the Lord. Again, as noted above, if you desire to dance to “Around the World” in order to promote sin, engage in lustful activities, or push the boundaries of the tasteful in public – then it is clearly not glorifying the Lord. But, in the end this all comes back to you. If you act or respond this way, it means YOU are not glorifying the Lord through your thoughts an actions, not the song. Songs like this which are primarily instrumental, unless a story is told through the music (ex. ballets, etc), they end up being subjective. The creators did not imbue some kind of deep meaning behind the track. It isn’t a song meant to teach people about evil. It’s just a song for you to groove to.
In the end, if you’re grooving in order to get into the pants of some girl – you are not glorifying God. If you are grooving to the song while preparing meals for the homeless at a church run mission/shelter, you are glorifying God. If you are grooving to the tune in order to grind up on random ladies and cop a feel, you are not glorifying God. If you are tapping your feet to the beat, using the rhythm to help lull your baby to sleep as you pray over the child, you are glorifying God. While everything has a value, be it positive or negative – there are some things which your response determines whether it will glorify the Lord or not.
Now, the real question is – how do you respond to “Around the World?”