Thursday, April 18, 2013

What Gets My Goat

Hi everyone, I'm back with another installment of What Gets My Goat. Once again I'm going to talk about music, but this time around I'm talking about the absolutely ridiculous argument over Christian music versus Secular music.

What comes to mind when I say the phrase "Christian music"? Nine times out of ten you think of Church Hymns, praise/worship, barbershop quartets. Now what do you think of when I say "secular music"? I'm going to guess it's the complete opposite, music filled with only sex, drugs, money, and thirty types of debauchery. Oddly enough Christian rappers cover the same topics as Secular rappers, just a different side of the coin so to speak but that is a different story for another day.

Christians (Believers) and nonbelievers are equally at fault when it comes to stereotyping music. Sad as it maybe I was raised with the ideals that if the music wasn't a direct glorification of God then it was bad and of the devil. I eventually learned that christian and secular music had to do a lot with how lyrics are interpreted, given a good portion of songs fall into the stereotypical secular and christian category but there is a large group of them that don't.

Take this lyric from Creed for example, " Can you take me higher? To the place where blind men see....... To the place with golden streets." What does that mean to you? For my mom she was convinced that the singer wanted to get high on drugs and hallucinate about a place like that. Silly I know, but when I think about it I hear someone wanting and asking a higher power somewhere to take them to heaven. Now if you all know the song, you can see that my interpretation of the lyric isn't completely insane.

Bring me to life, another popular song, by Evanescence, "How can you see into my eyes like open doors? Leading you down into my core where I’ve become so numb, Without a soul my spirit's sleeping somewhere cold until you find it there and lead it back home Wake me up inside..... (Save me) call my name and save me from the dark...... Bid my blood to run.... Before I come undone..... Save me from the nothing I’ve become...." Now to me this song tells the story of someone on the edge that has been run over by life and is looking for a way out so in a last chance desperation she calls out to someone or something to save her. Now here is where interpretation plays a big role, with whom is it the singer cries out to? Personal convictions and experiences weigh on the interpretation of the lyrics.

There are hundreds of examples I could list of secular songs that could be interpreted as a "christian" lyric from lots of bands like Daughtry, Nickleback, Matchbox Twenty, etc.

Now the flip side of the coin, "christian" songs that could be mistaken for secular ones. Crash by 12 Stones, "As I lie here tossing in my bed, Lost in my fears remembering what you said, And I try to hide the truth within, The mask of myself shows its face again, Still I lie time and time again, Will you deny me when we meet again?" How do you interpret this lyric? Is it a girlfriend in a troubled relationship? Perhaps a friend the singer has had a falling out with? Maybe it is just the singer talking to God.

Another well known overtly christian band Skillet is really good about blurring the line and giving multiple meanings to their lyrics, for example The Last Night, "This is the last night you'll spend alone, Look me in the eyes so I know you know I'm everywhere you want me to be This is the last night you'll spend alone, I'll wrap you in my arms and I won't let go, I'm everything you need me to be..." Is this God speaking to one of us or a significant other speaking to the love of their life?

Christian or Secular, it doesn't matter the label of a band but instead the content of their lyrics and if they truly speak to you and you like the genre then what does it hurt to listen to them. Many people miss out on great bands just because they may be labeled "christian" or "secular". To my readers, I challenge you and your friends and family to explore new bands and look past the monikers placed on them.

Just to prove a point I will post lyrics from both Christian and Secular artist and let you decide which is which, I will reveal the answers at the end of this article.

1. "On and on I see you, The life that comes together, To see that we're forever, On and on I see you, The times we've spent together, The times that last forever"

2. "Now the dark begins to rise, Save your breath, it's far from over, Leave the lost and dead behind, Now's your chance to run for cover"

3. "Do you remember me? Lost for so long, Will you be on the other side Or will you forget me?, I'm dying, praying, bleeding and screaming, Am I too lost to be saved? Am I too lost?"

4."Seven years is long enough, I made this trip just to spill my guts, The things I've seen I can't believe
I'm letting go So I can move forward, I just need some sleep tonight, One thing could make it all better, If I could hold you tight"

5. "I'm done wondering where you've been All night long when you're out with your friends, All you say, that the matter's over But now that chapter's over I'm done trusting you it's ended, Even after I catch you red handed You could've been my only one But now your chance is gone."

6. "I don't belong here, I never saw this on the path I walk The blood-stained walls, the lines of chalk on the floor, It's getting so hard, I never saw the backlash when the tide began to rise, I can't remember,The way it was when everything felt right, My mouth held shut and eyes sealed tight with control."

7. "If you could stay here for just a little bit, a little while, a little bit with me, you're what makes me, and if god could keep you with me I'd trade just about anything You're what makes me want to change things, I would die just to live and yet we all live to die, You're what makes me want to change, you will not die"

Really analyze and think about the lyrics above, as you do I hope that I can introduce believers and non believers to great new music that they may never have thought about listening to before. Until next time readers, Garebear says goodbye and Goodnight. And remember don't judge a band or song based solely on its "Christian" or "Secular" classification.

Oh yeah I forgot, the answers are
1. Christian, song is On and On by Number One Gun
2. Secular, I Will Not Bow by Breaking Benjamin
3. Secular, Tourniquet by Evanescence
4. Christian, However Long it Takes by Sent by Ravens
5. Christian, Should've when You Could've by Skillet
6. Christian, The Tide Began to Rise by Demon Hunter
7. Secular, Hignia by Bless The Fall