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The need for evangelising power in WYD songs

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Pope Francis embraces a boy as he arrives at a park to hear confessions in Rio de Janeiro during World Youth Day in the Brazilian city in July 2013. The boy had evaded security personnel to make his way to Pope Francis in order to tell him he wanted to be a priest. Photo: L’Osservatore Romano, CNS
Pope Francis embraces a boy during World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro in July 2013. Photo: L’Osservatore Romano, CNS

The following is an observation I have made in endeavouring to compare two WYD theme songs – the first being the theme song for WYD 2013 in Brazil, the other the theme song for WYD 2016 in Poland.

Both the songs have positive and negative aspects.

To begin with, the mood of the 2013 WYD theme song is upbeat dance while the 2016 WYD theme song is a softer, more soulful ballad.

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In both songs, I believe the chorus is the stronger part and somehow catchy.

On the other hand, they are both melodically weak with lyrics not quite matching the melody. The melody is somewhat monotonous, actually making it difficult to remember.

I don’t think the lead vocal in either song is powerful enough to convey the Christian message.

World Youth Day is an event where many people, young and old, predominantly young, join together to celebrate the love of God, therefore songs written for a collaborative group should be considered.

The 2013 and 2016 theme songs seem to work more for solo voice.

I believe the theme song from the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, Pure of Heart by Genevieve Bryant, is easier to engage with than either of the WYD theme songs.

Right from the beginning, it captures the attention of the listener with its driving opening rhythm and upbeat feel.

The chorus of this song is repeated many times and the lyrics are also quite repetitive, making the song easy to remember.

Personally, I don’t find the WYD 2013 and 2016 songs strong enough for youth evangelisation.

I feel our youth theme songs need a life poured into them using more powerful and uplifting styles to help convey the message.

I would like to see artists such as Matt Maher and Fr Rob Galea given the chance to write for WYD in the future; they tell the story of evangelisation with their inspirational lyrics and powerful voices.

We must remember music can contribute so much to the atmosphere and success of positive evangelisation.

Mirella Cassis is a student at St Ursula’s College in Kingsgrove

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