The triumphant return of pop star Midna Lyre to the top of the Egonics Charts has attracted acclaim from critics, praise from fans, and over 5 billion album sales in the Federation alone. Now, it also garners controversy and criticism following the accusation that Midna's latest album, "Lifeblood", contains oblique references to Sani Sabikism, the religion whose primary followers are known through the cluster as Blood Raiders.
The controversy began when a citizen of the Federation, Hederick Maar, overheard his daughter playing the album. Maar, an immigrant of Ni-Kunni decent and acknowledged follower of a slightly more liberal (and officially heretical) sect of the mainstream amarrian religion, was surprised to find that the lyrics contained "numerous references to being a Blood Raider."
Maar says that his attempts to contact Interspace, Midna's record label, were ignored. From there, he turned to the Federation Communications Commission, whom he claims similarly made no response to his claims. With nowhere else to turn, Mr. Maar started up an information portal on the cluster-wide communications network. Within a few hours, Maar's story was picked up by local news agencies, who initially viewed his protests with skepticism.
"I don't want my children, or the children of anyone in the Federation, exposed to hateful words encouraging a hateful religion based on murder and violence," Maar said when he appeared on the Algogille SpaceNet evening news broadcast. "I speak not only as a Godly man, but as a concerned citizen of the Federation. Many people in the Federation despise the Amarr religion and many of its more severe tenets. Let me tell you, these Blood Raider beliefs are worse."
Maar claims that numerous lyrics are veiled references to the Sani Sabik faith, but specifically pinpoints the following lyrics from the album's title track as egregious: "You share your lifeblood / and share your strength / it flows through me / all I can take" and "We connect as one / in you I bathe / its crimson red / the love we share".
Though many initially dismissed Maar as reading too much into the lyrics, and the news broadcast painted him as a stereotypical "crazy Ni-Kunni zealot", several more respected sources have begun to concur with his ideas.
"I didn't think much of the lyrics when I first heard them," said Lethe Ourelle, a music critic who works for the Scope. "But after looking at them, and really thinking about them, I can see his point. A lot of the lyrics look like they're advocating being a Blood Raider. And not just in Lifeblood either."
Professor Rand Wyndia, head of the Theology department for Caille State University (not to be confused with the University of Caille), further pointed to a curious liner note, which states, "To O.S. thanks for being a teacher." That note, says Prof. Wyndia, "Looks like it refers to Omir Sarikusa, the leader of the Blood Raiders. Combined with the lyrics, which definitely seem Sani Sabik-inspired, don't paint a pretty picture."
Numerous talk shows and opinion columnists have weighed in on the issue. Many are dismissing the claims as, in the words of Duripant News columnist Jared Courier, "little more than the ramblings of a sensitive Amarrian immigrant not used to the Federation and those who want to raise a controversy over a feel good story of a beautiful young woman turning her life around."
Popular opinion seems to support Midna. Ashleigh Saria, a young fan outside of one of Midna's concerts in Mies, said, "I don't believe them at all! Midna's just singing about love! Why can't people see that? I think she's wonderful!" Similar comments were echoed by other fans in attendance.
In a brief press conference before her concert in Mies, Midna stated simply, "I absolutely do not agree with the violent, sadistic teachings of the Blood Raiders." While this statement seems to have placated many, not everyone is convinced. There have been talks of boycotts against Midna's concerts, though as of yet, none have materialized.
"Lifeblood", Midna's first studio album in four years, and the first chart topper in five, has been heralded by reviewers. Her numerous concerts, generally being held in small concert halls and clubs, as opposed to the arena extravaganzas of her previous tours, have all sold out in seconds.