Does anyone else struggle with mainstream music?

Is it just me or does anyone else struggle with listening to mainstream music? I used to listen to rap music back in the day until by the grace of God I started to understand how much I was polluting my mind. For some time now I have been listening to my favorite church songs on youtube and today I decided to listen to some Johnny Cash. I couldn’t help but notice how hopeless his words seem to be in his lyrics “God’s gonna cut you down” and “Hurt”. I don’t even want to dabble in the old music I used to listen to. I have found some protestant musicians that are pretty good like Bizzle (a rapper) and Elevation Worship but then sometimes the lyrics don’t match up with the church’s teachings.

I know there’s a lot of recommendations but does anyone else feel this way?

I think what you’re going through is common and natural. When one encounters Christ in a profound way, it is natural to start to evaluate what we’re taking in and see how (or if) it fits.

As a general rule, I would say that, regardless of the objective suitability (or lack thereof) of such music, if it makes you feel uneasy, it may be best for you not to listen to it. At least for right now. It’s not like you have to burn it all and take a binding oath that you will start a crusade to have any traces of that music eradicated from the wider culture. But there’s nothing wrong with taking a break, praying a lot, and seeing where God is moving you.

Just for full disclosure, I am a big fan of heavy metal music. Prior to my big conversion experience, I still avoided the really negative, evil-sounding stuff. After my conversion, I went through times where I wondered if I could listen to any of it. Right now, I believe that it is alright for me to listen to as I am not obligated to only view art that is explicitly Christian. That, of course, does not mean that anything goes. Discernment is still required. But I wouldn’t presume to force anyone down the path I have gone. Take it one step at a time and keep praying.

Not really – no. I pretty much listen to what I did before my conversion. But I never did get into the hardcore rap scene.

If a song bothers me, I skip to the next track or pick-up the needle and move-it-along. It’s just something we all have to work at.

If you like Cash – I’d recommended Emmylou Harris.

On my IPod I have everything from Doris Day to Blue Oyster Cult. While I was cooking today I was singing “Highway to Hell” before I knew it. Maybe it should bother me more, dunno? :rolleyes:

As for Johnny Cash:

Cash sang plenty of uplifting songs.
“Hurt” is a great cover. It’s one of my favorites.

Cash has such a vast back catalogue of music. As a convert, I grew-up with the majority of the old Protestant hymnal variety (Cash’s covers of the Carter Family). Before mainstream praise and worship (shudder and think bad thoughts) songs ruined most Protestant services.

And I still enjoy listening to the Carter Family’s religious/Americana songs such as the “Sea of Galilee” and “No Depression in Heaven.”

I hate to say this but moralizing your musical tastes has never been thought highly. Then again, if that’s your calling, perhaps that’s for the best in your case.

On the other hand, I’ve never really had to struggle much. If I don’t like the sound of the music, I don’t listen to it. Take this from a guy who listens to songs in a language he doesn’t understand. If I don’t like what I hear, I stop. Period. I don’t consult Church teachings or the Bible or anything.

Sadly Joe, that’s exactly what the OPs mindset tends to lead to as far as my experience in these boards ago.

maxdouglas, you’d do yourself a favor if you avoid the kind of thinking Joe describes in this bit. If you think moralizing your musical preferences helps you, fine. Do not, however, make it a point to proselytize others into what is essentially just your calling.

I think Joe was saying exactly what you’re saying, the fact that I don’t have to force other to stop listening what they want to.

Although I actually have done this in the past! I would yell at my sister or my mom or friends not to listen to the music they listen to when they’re around me. Usually they respect me and turn it down or off. ( And usually not yell in a disrespectful manner lol )

I will check out those Cash covers March.

But my problem is not if a song sounds good or not, my problem is I ALWAYS focus on the lyrics, and that’s how I pretty much have always been. I believe listening to the lyrics is what draws/connects people to the music preference they listen to. No matter how catchy the hook or instruments may be.

Hi there,
I recommend Gregorian Chant!:heaven:

very cool! :smiley:

my uncle turned nondenominational/Buddhist and he used to chant some “ohm” stuff with me and my cousins when we were younger. But this is praising God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit so this makes me feel a lot more comfortable.

A well-formed conscience helps us moderate all our pleasures and activities. I don’t think you have the right to tell Catholics that our faith shouldn’t inform our musical tastes. My faith has influences on everything in my life. If I listened to music that contradicted or belittled the Church, then I would be a hypocrite by accepting it. I would lead others to scandal by believing that it is OK to let garbage into my ears. It makes perfect sense to stop listening if you “don’t like what you hear” but at the same time, the Enemy is very seductive, and often pleasure can come from listening to things that lead us astray.

An adult with a well-formed conscience shouldn’t often need to look something up in the Bible or the Catechism, our conscience will tell us right away when we’re wrong. How does listening to bad music glorify God? How does it contribute to our personal holiness? This life is all about the latter two things. If God is not glorified and if it doesn’t lead me to Heaven, then it is worthless and should be discarded.

It is always good to listen or sing psalms and good hymns. I don’t buy music anymore, since I am a member of the choir, I make my own music. My occasional curiosity can often be satisfied with YouTube. Let the glory of God be always on our lips and in our ears so that we may praise Him forever.

Very well put Elizium, I can relate to what you just posted in a lot of ways (I actually have made a little bit of music on my own as well but anyways…) I’ve tried to get my family to stop listening to what they listen to and tell them what they’re listening to is from the enemy, ESPECIALLY MY LITTLE SISTER WHO IS IN HIGH SCHOOL. I actually stopped going to concerts with my older brother because even though we bonded I felt the music we listened to was immoral in what they say/teach. Hopefully sooner or later they will see where I’m coming from!

And actually what changed my view a little bit on this was seeing that in the blogs some members were posting the music that they listen to. But I’m really enjoying the Gregorian Chant :thumbsup::thumbsup:

This is the sad result of people lacking education on the arbitrary nature of taste. The truth is artistic interpretation is anything you make out of something. To moralize your taste is to compromise the morals themselves, not the other way around. Art isn’t like morality with a set of absolutes (and hence, why we shouldn’t look to it for moral guidance). Even songs I don’t like, I can draw some form of value if I tweak my perspective enough.

So I guess anything that’s not religious is out the window? Nice. Way to prove a religious stereotype. I suppose even the Pope’s fondness for classical music should be condemned as well. Stuff like Wagner and Mozart don’t necessarily fit the ‘glorify God’ description.

Sure… if I wanna imagine a cathedral or a crusader’s training ground. :rolleyes:

Do not underestimate people’s power to backstab. I wouldn’t be too confident about forcing my musical tastes upon people. That never ends well.

You better stop before you run into someone who doesn’t take kindly to your behavior and try to force their musical tastes on you.

I have stopped doing this, I found even though they do speak of evil in mainstream music it’s ultimately up to the listener to figure that out. I would assume that once the listeners realize that they constantly are appreciating immoral values and teachings they’ll hopefully change, but it won’t make a difference unless they look at it from that point of view. My friends actually have lashed out and started playing music very loudly in my moms house when they come over which is extremely frustrating so I know what you mean by saying that.

Hurt is actually a remake of a Nine Inch Nails song. I was big into NIN, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot etc. I don’t listen to it much anymore but I’ve found music with the same sound only a message I can sing along to. I’ll bet you can find music along the lines of your old tastes that have a good message if you still like the sound.

Oh, thanks! :smiley:
Hooray for Gregorian Chant! :bounce::bounce::bounce::bounce:

I am a big music buff and like a lot of the classic prog stuff but most of my modern tastes are outside the mainstream. As long as the acts are not openly anti religion and they are experimental and avant garde I will be interested. In terms of religious music most rock acts who are “Christian” are not to my liking. They are the preserve of the evangelicals, pentecostals and “prosperity gospel” adherents. If I am going to listen to religious music I will listen to Gregorian Chants which suits me as a practicing Roman Catholic.

I feel the same way about rap. mainstream music though, are talking about today’s music? or music from the 90’s and farther back?

I was musing about mainstream, secular songs that have an uplifting theme and meet my criteria for worthiness: either glorifies God, or contributes to personal holiness. And I came up with some great 80s songs that were on the radio all the time.

Higher Love - Steve Winwood
Kyrie Eleison - Mr. Mister
In the Name of Love - U2
anything by Enya

But it’s a shame. The music I listened to as a teenager, and held on to into my 30s, such as alternative rock, new wave, gothic, industrial, those genres are a wasteland when it comes to Christian values and morals. Sometimes the best you can hope for is a love song that’s not full of innuendo. There’s a lot of negativity and hopelessness. I suffered from depression for years. My mother asked me a couple of times whether the music I listened to was contributing to it. I denied it at the time. But part of having a positive outlook on life is about rejecting negative influences. The Evil One would like us to think that we are strong enough to resist, that a little poison won’t kill us. But listening to negative music all the time is not the way to build up a resistance to it.

It’s OK to have moods, and it’s great to have a spectrum of music to match those moods, but for me, the best moods are prescribed by our liturgical year. If you attend Mass regularly, you will have mood swings as the Church cycles from the signs and portents of Ordinary Time, to the anticipation of Lent and Advent, and the extreme sorrow and anguish of Holy Week, to the utter joy and celebration of Christmas and Easter. Take a look in the back of any good hymnal, you will find a variety of music for any occasion. Pick up a copy of Christian Prayer and you will find all the psalms, arranged for daily recitation. What a treasury that is! And there is a complete hymnary in that book as well. Once you run out of music from those two resources, you might have time to listen to mainstream music.

Clearly, you fit the stereotype of a religious music fan to a T. However, please know that differences in tastes and character are one of finest features of being a human being.

No amount of happy, campy hymns can ever match my sorrow and rage, the war with my own despair, the desire to live an adventure, and the aspirations of freedom.

You can keep your hymnal if that’s what you identify with. I’ll stick to who I am and keep to music that plays true to that tune.

Yes of course, that’s what I love so about Beethoven’s 9th - the lyrics! How do the words go again? Oh that’s right - there aren’t any.

And that’s also what I loved about Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit as well - those catchy lyrics. How do those go again? Oh yeah … ‘mumble mumble mumble mumble’. Literally never have been able to understand those words the way Cobain pronounces them (or doesn’t).

Oh wait, just looked the lyrics up.

“A mulatto/an albino/a mosquito/my libido”

Yep, that definitely must be what attracted me to the song, those riveting lyrics :shrug::hypno::whacky:

Umm… did you read the part where I said I listen to songs in a language I don’t even understand? :confused:

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