I wrote this about 6 months ago and I just wanted to re-post it because the message is still much-needed.
A friend recently texted me and it involved screening a selection of songs for a cellmate since this cellmate was able to attend the last Encounter Weekend. The list contained 49 songs and it’d be no problem going through each one to check. But I remembered this saying, “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. But teach a man how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” Now, we’re not exactly fishing here but I believe that it’s better if I help my fellow Christians sort their playlists by giving them a few guidelines on how to streamline their music choices because new songs are being recorded every day. Well, I’m not really sure about that fact but you know what I mean.
So, are you ready to revolutionize your iPods and mp3 players? Here we go!
1.) Music Is Not Only Melody
One of the reasons people like a certain song is because of its melody. Unfortunately, that is not all that there is to it. Every song has lyrics. Otherwise, it’s just an instrumental. What I do is, whenever I hear something I like on the radio or in a film, I immediately search for the song’s lyrics. This way, I would know what the song is preaching to me. If it’s not good, then I don’t listen to it anymore. It’s as simple as that.
For example, I used to like Uncle Kracker’s song, Follow Me. The melody was very catchy. However, when I learned that it’s about adultery (“I’m not worried about the ring you wear as long as no one knows then nobody will care”), I immediately deleted it from my playlist.
2.) Obvious Things Are Obvious
There are songs that make it easy for you as a Christian to avoid. Some good examples are Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl and Rihanna’s Love The Way You Lie. The song titles give us a glimpse into what their message is. Another thing to watch out for are songs with profanity. Generally, I also don’t listen to their “clean” versions because I don’t really like the idea of lesser evils.
Also, if you’re not married, you should not be listening to songs like I’ll Make Love To You by Boyz II Men and Crazy For You by Madonna.
3.) Look At The Artist
You might have heard the saying, “Hurting people hurt people.” Let me revise that a bit, “Hurting artists hurt their listeners.” I have a lot of respect for a lot of artists simply because of how good they are musically. But a lot of times, their issues surface through their music and these issues gets transmitted to the people who listen to them. Simple Plan’s Perfect talks about a child’s anger at his/her father. Beck’s Loser highlights a person’s insecurity and hopelessness. In the advent of the Internet age, it’s very easy to research an artist’s background. What an artist is going through is usually reflected in their music There might be exceptions but you know the risk.
The best example I can think of is Rihanna whose music got a lot angrier after her incident with Chris Brown. Artists on drugs are a huge turn-off for me, too.
There you have it, guys. I hope this bit of information aids you in your listening selection. As a final word, let me share to you the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 6:12 MSG:
Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.