The other night, I was surfing YouTube clips at a friend’s house and we came across the music video of a new song I liked and had only heard a few times before. At surface level, the lyrics were inspiring and seemed to have a Christian meaning. However, we discoveredÂ through watching the video thatÂ the song was actually written about witchcraft. This led me to question much of the meaning behind the music in our society.
Music is an expression of the emotions, interests, experiences and passions of the songwriter and performer. It has the capability of exposing us to different views, and enables us to see beauty in topics that maybe wouldn’t interest us otherwise. Worship songs for other religions, especially in other languages, may sound beautiful to me even if I disagree with what they’re saying. To me, it still holds value as an art, because it is a reflection of the people who created it.
With so many of theÂ hit songs addressing questionable topics like witchcraft, sex, materialism,Â violenceÂ and depression in a negative way, should people who generally disagree with them feel compelled to stop listening to them? Many people say they listen to the song for the tune and ignore the lyrics, yet they can sing it word for word.Â So how much does the message in the songs we listen to affect us and our thinking?
I have noticed that on mornings that I listen to a depressing song, I tend to feel depressed and I begin my day in a serious haze until something snaps me out of it. Perhaps music does have the power toÂ influence the way we perceive things.
Listening to music seems to be one of those experiences that truly has an ability to touch people’s lives in a highly personal way. Because we let music penetrate so deeply into our thoughts and emotions, we should regard it as a powerful tool that could work against us. The message of a song is camouflaged in the elegant poetry of lyrics and delivered through a catchy melody that remains with us long after we shut down the iPod. It’s generally easier for me toÂ accept the messages being said through song than through many other mediums.
This can be said of a lot of other media as well that have come to be an accepted part of our daily lives. We are constantly exposed to the messages they deliver, that we take in unthinkingly, but that are impacting and shaping us all the while.
The accepted framework of our society has bent to accommodate a norm of embedded corruption. Call me radical, but I do wish that all music was created as an act of worship to God and a celebration of His glory. But that is not the entertainment world we live in.
On the contrary, I do have several secular songs in my music library that inspire me in my faith. There are also a few that I leave un-synced to my iPod because I recognize the lies in what they are saying and know from past experience that they can affect my mood.
Nevertheless, I think God is amazing in that He can take a song written in corruption andÂ create a message of inspiration to reach those that listen to it. I am thankful that even in the secular realm of music, God has given us an art that inspires us, and He deserves even that much more to be praised with it.