WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Album Review

Is the glass half full or half empty? If you're Isaac Slade, lead singer for The Fray, the answer is yes. And most of the 12 tracks on the band's third album leave you feeling either depressed or optimistic or both, depending on which thoughts you zero in on. Slade and Co. slog through all manner of moody, melancholy and heartbroken moments in songs that teeter on the brink of existential despair. But just when you think they're about to plunge off the precipice into that dark pit, they frequently scramble back from the edge and declare that all is not lost. Probably.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Echoing Psalm 46:10, "Be Still" can also be heard as a man's promise to his beloved: "Be still and know that I'm with you/Be still and know that I am here/ … When darkness comes upon you/And covers you with fear and shame/Be still and know that I'm with you/And I will say your name/ … If no one is standing beside you/Be still and know that I am."

On "Heartbeat," Slade is confident of his ability to resuscitate a struggling friend ("I'm feeling your heartbeat/You're coming around"), even as he acknowledges her pain-filled past ("I know the memory is rushing into your mind, baby/I want to kiss your scars tonight"). "Munich" celebrates a couple's triumph over conflict. "Rainy Zurich" romanticizes getting caught in a downpour and the joy of two people finding each other ("You are what I never knew I needed"). The upbeat "48 to Go" imagines life as a circuitous, adventurous road trip.

"The Fighter" tells of a boxer who strives to overcome two opponents: The one in the ring and the one in his heart that's trying to keep him from committing fully to the woman who loves him. It's a melancholy story with a positive twist on the ending: "Maybe we were meant to be lonely/Maybe we were meant to be on our own/Loneliness has always been with me/But maybe we don't have to be all alone." Then, "1961" tells the story of three feuding brothers. Despite their intense discord ("We're broken, we're battered/We're torn up and we're shattered/We turned back on each other/The moment that it mattered"), eventual reconciliation still seems probable. And deep family discord is also the subject of "I Can Barely Say," in which a prodigal son of sorts longs to come home.

"The Wind" compares a man's doubts to being lost at sea and waiting for the breeze to push him toward his love, who's waiting onshore: "Oh my God, I think I'm lost at sea/ … I don't know where I am/Can you tell me/Will I break or will I bend?"

Objectionable Content

"Turn Me On" focuses on sex. "And I don't know what it is about you/The way you're moving/You turn me on/I want to touch you till we're burning/ … I see you rising and you're falling/ … You're a burning cabaret/I want to feel you, love/I want to feel the way you're moving." (Slade wed in 2006, but there's no obvious mention of marriage in this song.)

"Here We Are," which explores a troubled romantic relationship, suggests that a man is still sleeping with his lover ("Here we are/Will you lay your body down/Here we are/Two lovers in the dark") despite his deep doubts about whether they should be together ("Who's it going to be, 'cause I'm divided/Who you going to see? Haven't decided").

Sensuality creeps into "Rainy Zurich" when lyrics suggest a couple drenched by rain eventually remove their wet clothes together.

Summary Advisory

Like U2 and Coldplay, The Fray sets its lyrical sights high. It's clear that the band strives to transcend mere pop music, as Slade and his mates wade into life's profound paradoxes and testify to the tension that inevitably exists there. It's an earnest, honest approach that connects on quite a few levels.

My complaints? A handful of sensual/sexual references. And this: I found myself sometimes wishing the watermark would inch up to three-quarters full instead of always lingering at the half-way mark.

My praise? The Fray says things that are oftentimes missing from furrowed-brow alt-rock. While plumbing the depths of melancholy introspection, these guys (mostly) conclude that even though life is hard, it's still good. Even though love can be complicated, it's worth the effort. Rarely does the band emphasize one of these truths—negative or positive—without soon nodding to the other.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!