Friday, January 27, 2012

If You Like...Then You Might Like...

Music is a funny thing. It can get you going or mellow you out. It can even change your mood. For some people, like me, it can also inspire you.

Therefore, it's important to be careful what kind of music you allow to be a part of your life. I have to admit, I'm not always careful enough. I have tons and tons of good, positive music. And I have some not-so-positive music. I listen to plenty of good, God-honoring Christian music. And sometimes I don't.

Don't get me wrong – I'm not saying that I listen to complete rubbish, although I easily could. But sometimes I feel like listening to music by so-called "secular" artists, and I do. I'm not here to condone or condemn any music that's not Christian. I'm just being honest, which is sort of the point.

That being said, I do recognize that I am more likely to be in a better frame of mind and more at peace in my soul when I'm listening to music that speaks to my soul.

I don't know who's reading this right now.

Maybe you're older, and when you hear bits and pieces of "modern" music, whatever the style, you simply roll your eyes, hit the "Seek" button on the radio, or the "Channel" button on your TV, because it holds no interest for you whatsoever. It all sounds like a bunch of noise, you think.

Maybe you're younger, a teenager perhaps, and you hear today's popular music on a regular basis – whether you own it and play it on your mp3 player, or you hear it at your friends' house, or watch music videos on TV, or whatever. Maybe you like some of this music, even though you know the lyrics, or the content of the videos, or the artists themselves are questionable, if not downright immoral. Maybe you don't care if it's "bad" or not.

Maybe you're the parent of teenagers, or even younger children, and you're concerned about the negative influences that some of today's music is having, or will potentially have on your child's life. Maybe you know they're listening to it, and you think: What harm could it do, it's just music, right? Maybe they're listening to it when you're not around, and it's affecting the way they think, feel, or behave.

Maybe you're of the belief that only one kind of music is any good, and that's Christian music. And only one kind of Christian music is good, and that's Southern gospel, or hymns, or Christian contemporary music, or you-fill-in-the-blank. You're entitled to that opinion, of course, and maybe you're right. Or maybe you just don't realize that there are good, Godly alternatives to today's "secular" music because you've never been exposed to them, or because you've summarily dismissed them as "copycats" of worldly music.

Whichever category best fits you as you're reading this, I hope you will listen to the songs in the video links below, and will do so with an open mind. If you're the "anything-that-ain't-a-hymn-is-sinful" person, maybe these will convince you otherwise (or maybe not). If you're a parent, perhaps you'll find something here that your child may enjoy that will edify them and enrich their lives. If you're a teenager, and you think that no kind of Christian music could EVER be as good as what you're listening to now, maybe you'll be surprised at what you hear. If you're older, and it's all just noise to you, maybe these will just prove what you already believed (or maybe they won't).

I picked these songs in particular for their strong lyrical content, their superior music quality, and for the artists themselves, all of whom I would consider good role models for Christian young people today. You might disagree on one or all of these points for the songs below. But I sincerely hope that you will at least give them a chance.

1)  Flame ~ "Move"  –  So, maybe you or your kid likes the crazy-sounding, hip-hop ramblings of rapper Lil Wayne, although I'm not really sure why anyone likes him. Here's a healthy alternative that doesn't have to be bleeped every five seconds for curse words. It doesn't have to be bleeped at all, in fact. However, it is very explicit in its message about obedience to God, no matter the consequences. Listen as Flame implores you: "Hey, here's an idea / Why don't you go and forgive? / Why don't you go and repent? / Turn from your sin and enlist / Yes, I know it's hard, though / Plus, I understand it / But Jesus said, 'If you love Me, then you'll keep My commandments..."

2)  PRo feat. Andy Mineo ~ "In His Image" – Maybe you (or they) prefer the adept but foul-mouthed lyricism of Eminem or Kanye West. Well, you won't find any foul language here, but you will find plenty of truth. Listen as PRo and his pal Andy Mineo tell us:  "The simple fact that Creation is so creative / Is an exclamation point to this statement / It's amazing, so amazing / If you got low self-esteem, well, this should change that / There's traces of divinity up in your frame, fam / So love God, love people, and thoroughly hate sin..."

3)  Sir-Viva & Result ~ "Lost In Love" – I don't really have a comparative artist for this duo, but I do love listening to their music. Their recent album, "Heart Condition", from which this song originates, presents a clear picture of the sickness of our hearts before and up until we come to a saving knowledge of Christ. This song demonstrates the principles about Godly love from I Corinthians 13 more clearly than I have heard in any other song. Straight out of Scripture, they proclaim: "Love bears all things / Love believes all things / Love hopes all things / Love endures all things / Let's get lost in love..." I'll warn you, that chorus will get stuck in your head for awhile. But there are lots worse things to get stuck in your head, I suppose.

4)  Lecrae feat. Andy Mineo ~ "Background" – Lecrae is, by far, one of the most popular and successful Christian rappers out there right now. It's his accessibility – you don't necessarily have to like rap to enjoy his music – and his blatantly Christian lyrics, as well as his unashamed lifestyle that seem to set him apart from the rest. In this, one of Lecrae's best songs, he talks to God openly and honestly: "I had a dream that I was captain of my soul / I was master of my fate – lost control and then I sank / So I don't want to take the lead, 'cause I'm prone to make mistakes / All these folks who follow me [are] gonna end up in the wrong place / So let me shadow You, let me trace Your lines / Matter of fact, just take my pen – here, You create my rhymes..."

OK, so maybe you (or they) aren't into hip-hop or rap at all. That's cool; that's perfectly understandable. Maybe you (or they) prefer pop stars like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Beyonce, or Rihanna. While these ladies are all very accomplished in what they do, none of them are what most would consider a good "role model". But here are a few ladies who are:

5)  V. Rose ~ "Not So Average" – This young lady knows that image isn't everything, and isn't ashamed to put herself on the back burner in order to glorify her King. She sings: "The only way to shine like a star / Is to realize whose you are / You were created to go far / It really doesn't matter what you look like / If you have Jesus on the inside / He's everything that you need in your life..."

6)  Beckah Shae ~ "#putyourloveglasseson" – Beckah Shae excels at producing catchy, upbeat songs that you could dance to (if you were so inclined), very much in the vein of Lady Gaga, minus all the blatant sexual references and imagery. Admittedly, there's not quite as much substance to the lyrics of this song as some of the others here, but the message is positive and it's clear. "Keep truth seeking, listen to wisdom speaking, catch His heartbeat, and see the world through God's eyes!"

7)  Britt Nicole ~ "The Lost Get Found" – Here's another young artist who's unashamed about her faith. Her music is light and poppy, but always grounded in truth. She implores the listener to: "Don't let your lights go down / Don't let your fire burn out / Somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe / Why don't you rise up now? / Don't be afraid to stand out / That's how the lost get found..."

8)  Kerrie Roberts – "Outcast" – Christian young people who aren't afraid to take a stand for their faith will often face ridicule, bullying, or even be ostracized in some settings because of it. This song encourages them (and you) to be okay with not being like everybody else. Comparable in style to an artist like Katy Perry, Kerrie boldly proclaims here: "I'm not good enough, I'm not what they want / But let me tell you what, I know who I am / So just throw me out for not fitting in / I will stand my ground and be an outcast!"

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