Singing Secular Songs?

Hi, I am a singer in a band and we cover some popular songs when we play live.

There is one particular song we are thinking to perform called ‘Psycho Killer’ by the Talking Heads which I was happy to sing until today a Christian friend encouraged me to think if it were appropriate for a Christian to sing it.

I’m not sure if this is an extreme view to hold or if it is quite reasonable?

The song does not have swearing in it, or blasphemy, nor does it take the Lord’s name in vain. Whenever we sing a song which takes the Lord’s name in vain I change it to ‘gosh’ instead. The songwriter may have had questionable motives when he wrote it but many songs are open to interpretation - certainly when I sing them I reinterpret in my own way in an artistic way.

What do you all think?

PS. I am planning to convert to Catholicism in the next year, but do not yet have a priest or someone to talk to about this - hence why I ask you level headed people!!


I don’t know how to direct you on secular songs. I think you’ll get different answers on that, and it matters mostly (in my opinion and from what I’ve read in the Bible) on whether you feel your song choices are affecting your own soul or the souls of others.The most applicable Bible verse I can think of here is 1Corinthians chapter 8. It’s about eating meat sacrificed to idols, and while you’ll have to adapt it to your situation, I think it applies.

But when it comes to conversion- RCIA is generally a 9 month process so you should be contacting the Church soon as RCIA likely starts up in September unless your parish does year-round. This would mean having some initial contact with the faith formation leader at your parish, at minimum, and would open the door to asking some questions. Many parishes have a website you can look at with contact information for people in various roles, you might be able to get the faith formation leader’s info there.

I looked up the lyrics and don’t have a clue what they mean? The only words I understood were Psycho Killer?
Is there a particular meaning to the song that your friend might be objecting to?

The song lyrics do not seem that bad. If it were titled “Personality Disorder,” your Christian friend could not possibly object. So I am guessing he thinks the words “Psycho Killer” may lead someone to sin. I don’t know. The song is quite old, and if it had actually encouraged any real people to commit murder, I think by now we would have heard about it on the news.

Another question is whether it glorifies murder, or glorifies the work of the devil. I don’t think it does. The song is fictional, that is, it is not glorifying any real-life killer.

The song may be metaphorical. That is, it may be describing an angry or impatient person who is not actually a psycho killer. This is like when someone says “I could kill him” or “I’m gonna kill you” when everyone knows there is actually no intent to kill (so it is understood to be no real threat to harm someone). This is loose language. Is it immoral or unchristian to sing a song about anger? I don’t think so, but perhaps you can collect some other opinions and think further about it.

Many bands today are covering that song. It was somewhat a new sound at the time(1977) and the lyrics are somewhat cryptic. I like the song and don’t see any harm in it. It’s mostly playful in a macabre sort of way. Here is a link explaining how the song was conceived and written.

You can sing secular songs as long as they are not blasphemous.

As pointed out by the other posters, the song Psycho Killer’s lyrics are open to interpretation.

There are more songs today that cater to the Culture of Death.

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