Always the better businessman, Dr. Dre is currently world famous, worth an estimated $260 million and, at 47, shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.
Too steep a price for eternal torment, perhaps. But even so, the Devil must still be kicking himself over that deal. Dre didn't come cheap.
Fourth, if we enjoy all the music these folks made, or even some of it, does it mean we're going to Hell, too? Or does demonic possession allow us to avoid the responsibility of liking it? We were bewitched! What could we do?
But ask yourself, if Lady Gaga is going to hell, wouldn't you want to go there too? Seriously. Eternal torment with her would be more fun than spinning Madonna records in heaven. (Cuz you know Madonna isn't going to perform. She's going to be too busy showing off her halo.)
Fifth, and perhaps most important, is the theological implication:
the Devil makes the best music
. Sure, God has his musicians -- Handel, Yes, Barry Manilow . . . (
The Charlie Daniels Band tried to beat the Devil at his own game with the pseudo-bluegrass hit, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." In it, the Devil and Johnny match fiddle skills in a duel. Johnny walks away victorious with a fiddle of gold as his prize and his soul intact.
Problem is, as any musician will tell you, the Devil actually wins. Satan's more aggressive, avant-garde fiddle solo blows the doors off Johnny's traditional breakdown. The singer can deny it all he wants, but we know the truth.
This quiet victory of the dark side goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks. Plato wanted to outlaw certain types of music, the kind that could inspire impure thoughts and dangerous behavior. The god of music, Apollo, represented order, civilization, rationality. By day, Apollo was in charge, the god of bureaucrats and lawmakers.
But at night, Dionysus was the people's DJ, the earthy, footstomping god of drunken good times. Parties in his honor were the stuff of whispered legend. Plato's ideal society? Never happened.
Centuries later, the Christian God sided with Apollo. But the faithful, even in Eden, couldn't keep their eyes off that snake.
Today, Dionysus is in Hell. With Hendrix. They've got Lady Gaga on speed dial and the party down there -- torment be damned -- is nonstop.
Up here, we fight for order and crave chaos. We abhor greed and ambition and are fascinated by it. We demand equality but fall like slaves at the feet of great talent. These seeming contradictions define who were are as human beings.
We don't want to admit it but when the Devil calls the tune, we dance.
-- Written by Carlton Wilkinson in Asbury Park, N.J.