Music can be a bit of a touchy subject. What is appropriate? What’s not? Where should I stand on that grey area?
Well I can’t tell you what to do, but I will share with you my personal standards for music.
Music does not have to be Christian
I’m not really one for most Christian music to be honest. I’d prefer a good country song or some classic rock over most contemporary Christian artists. Nothing wrong with them, it’s just not my style at all. I over-played Christian songs when I was in Jr. high and so now the sound just kinda reminds me of being 13 and God knows none of us want to revisit those years. (That being said, if any of you can recommend some Christian artists whose music is really great, go for it!) Pretty much the only Christian music I listen to is worship music, like Jesus Culture and Hillsong.
I personally don’t see a problem with listening to non-Christian music. And before anyone blows up at me, you know that all secular music isn’t bad (I mean, for pete’s sake–Sweet Home Alabama is secular music). The reason I think that secular music is often better than Christian music is because they’re focusing on musicality rather than a message (for the most part). And as someone who plays guitar and piano, I really like hearing songs from artists who take the time to master their instruments and create new products that will outshine the others musically. See Christian artists are able to hide behind a mask of that “new message” that no one else has given through music, and so the musicality is the means by which their message is given, but not the purpose of producing music. I think it’s a great cause, and if it’s your kind of music, that’s also great! Just personally I find it very repetitive.
The music I listen to should not have excessive swearing
Yes, we’re all going to know a few songs with a curse word or two in them. You live in the world–it’s inevitable. However, this is not an excuse, and I try to keep my music 100% clean–not only on my iPod, but what I’ll listen to on the radio, with friends, etc. Music is pretty dangerous if you let the wrong stuff in your head–it’s extremely influential in our lives. Because of that, I just think hey–better safe than sorry! And there are a ton of great songs and artists who don’t swear, trust me. :)
Music has to actually be musical
This means more than just the standard four-chords progression. Seriously–most songs just use the same notes over and over and over again. When I’m looking for music, I like to look for songs that if I learned how to play it on guitar or piano it would actually be impressive, rather than just the same old thing.
No explicitly sexual songs
I think this is a no-brainer, but is actually pretty hard to carry out. All the really catchy songs are so dirty–but still, so catchy! But at the end of the day, I really think it’s just a bad idea to be constantly listening to songs that glorify sex and lust, especially when it’s portrayed as “romantic” and “sweet.”
No songs that seem to come from something darker
There are some celebrities and artists that even if they released a song that was 100% clean I still wouldn’t buy it. The reason being is that music penetrates. Movies and books tend to simply stay in your head, but music can infiltrate your soul and has the power to affect your behavior. I’m not going to say I don’t like their songs–they’re super catchy! But as often as I can, I tend to stay away from them, because I feel that there is a much darker force behind the production than just their writers and producers.
In the end, it really isn’t about whether or not they mention Jesus. It isn’t even about how much swearing the song has–it’s about whether it portrays a healthy or a dangerous worldview.
Music is beautiful and fun, but it’s always good to be cautious.