Music: Wanting in Billboard’s Top 20, by Rishi Deva

Wanting and needs are something society mixes up on an ever-increasing scale. If we are not careful, wanting will seep into our psyche like an insidious disease, feeding a never-ending cycle of hunger. Wanting affects almost everyone.

As for me, I watch my desires and use them like a barometer, witnessing where my consciousness has turned. Sometimes, rather than falling asleep I may find myself scouring the internet for cool electronic gadgets that promise to simplify my life. The satisfaction of a genuine need leads to contentment, but fulfilling a want only leads to more wanting. Say I get a new iPad mini. Then I need all the accessories that go with it. Eventually I will want the iPad Mini with Retina display (when that is released).

You may be thinking, Rishi, this is insightful, but how does this relate to music? After all, this is the music column!

The majority of the songs in the top 20 Billboard charts are about sex, wanting, lust, desires and not having enough. Wanting! Only a select few songs are about addressing needs.

In 2012, I wrote a review on British songwriter Ed Sheeran. I am delighted that he is now in the top 20 in North America. His single, “The A Team”, is a heartbreaking look into the life of a fallen angel: a teen who gave up, started taking drugs and resorted to prostitution. I am drawn into the song, finding myself wanting to reach out and help her. I empathize with her need to know that that she is love, and to not give up. Not able to do anything but feel her pain, I wish for the ease of suffering for all women around the world. Ed touches on a real need, a need to end suffering and to remind us of just how fragile we are. Without love, interconnection and support we are all just steps away from being this girl.

I write this article on Martin Luther King’s birthday, and my attention is drawn towards the land of the free and the home of the brave. I couldn’t think of a better voice to honour Martin Luther King’s spirit than with Bruce Springsteen. Bruce has an incredible gift of being able to channel his anger and articulate a need for change, a need for social justice, a need for safety, hope, love and freedom.

In 2012, Bruce came out with a timely record called Wrecking Ball. The single “We Take Care Of Our Own” is adamant instance on I AM. It illustrates a nation that is filled with greed, forgetting its social responsibility. Like a wrecking ball, Bruce and the E Street Band melodically remind us that America needs help. He sings through gritted teeth and an open heart:


I’ve been knockin’ on the door that holds the throne

I’ve been lookin’ for the map that leads me home

I’ve been stumblin’ on good hearts turned to stone

The road of good intentions has gone dry as bone

We take care of our own


Where are the eyes, the eyes with the will to see

Where are the hearts, that run over with mercy

Where’s the love that has not forsaken me

Where’s the work that set my hands, my soul free

Where’s the spirit that’ll reign, reign over me

Where’s the promise, from sea to shining sea

Wherever this flag is flown

We take of our own.


Or do we? I hope that people see that America is changing and greed has taken over. I hope that people are inspired to change and start to discern between legitimate needs and insatiable wants. It is artists like Bruce who helps me discern between my own wants and needs. Bruce, thank you for showing me how my own selfishness contributes to a disease in society. Martin Luther King, thank you for giving so many people the opportunity to exercise their rights to basic needs such as safety, freedom and shelter.


Rishi Deva (Rishi Gerald) is the CEO of Kupid’s Play Records. He describes Kupid’s Play like this: “Kupid’s Play is the Sound of the I Am Revolution. As an international record label devoted to raising global consciousness we bring awakened artists to the commercial mainstream. Our vision extends beyond a traditional record label. We know impossibilities are not real and build non-traditional revenue models by embracing new technologies in the current economic landscape. We know music is everywhere. Kupid’s Play actively seeks out creative opportunities to get its artists’ music to their fans in new ways ensuring that the Sound of the I Am Revolution is heard.” With two decades of experience in the music industry, Rishi has been nominated for numerous marketing awards and earned a Gold Record in the music industry for management.