I am a sucker for pop music.
In my younger years I wanted to be cooler and listen to indie artists and bands. Even now there’s a part of me that wishes I got as excited about a banjo as I do a drum machine. I can’t help my love for pop music but I’m not really sure I want to.
My latest obsession is the song “Shut Up and Dance” from the band Walk the Moon. My intern introduced me to this song, which you can check out below.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve listened to that song in the past week, but Alycia is already sick of me walking around our apartment singing it. The song is catchy and well produced; it also has a chorus that is energetic and fun to sing. I know that there’s a lot of serious music out there, but I just want to listen to something that’s going to make me smile and want to jump around.
My miniscule hipster sensibilities tell me that I should turn down the pop music and turn up the folk. My significantly larger Christian sensibilities tell me that I should turn down the pop music and turn up the Christian music.
But I don’t listen to a lot of Christian music.
I don’t like a lot of Christian music, mostly because a lot of Christian artists sound like they’re trying to mimic more popular secular artists. The Family Christian Stores catalogue used to have a section “If you like that, then you should listen to this!” Basically saying that if you like a secular artist or band, then you should try the Christian version. I always wondered, though, why not just listen to the secular version?
I don’t want to listen to the Christian version of “Shut Up and Dance;” I want to listen to Walk the Moon’s version. I also don’t want to listen to someone trying to sound like Adele when I could just as easily listen to Adele and probably enjoy it more.
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy some Christian music. I love most worship music and will frequently listen to Hillsong United, Hillsong Young and Free, Passion and Kari Jobe. I also loved David Crowder Band, mostly because they weren’t trying to sound like something else; they created their own unique sound that couldn’t be found anywhere else, either in Christian music or secular music.
I also can listen to pop music that encourages less than Christian behavior, because I know I’m not going to compromise my standards because Katy Perry tells me to. However for children and students who are more susceptible to pop music’s influences, it might be better for them to keep the dial on the Christian radio station.
I also don’t solely listen to pop music. I mix in quite a bit of worship music; one of my current favorites is the album No One Higher from North Point InsideOut. I may listen to Jessie J while running on the treadmill, but I’ll always come back to something that praises and glorifies God; because God is worthy of being praised, but I’m also encouraged when singing songs like “Forever” or “Furious.”
I don’t think that everything in our culture is necessarily evil. We shouldn’t plug our ears when a song comes on just because it’s not about God. Sure, there are a lot of songs that glorify sin and that are downright vulgar; if those songs are detrimental to us, then we shouldn’t listen to them. But if spraining an ankle because we were dancing too much to an awesome pop song is the worst thing that’s going to happen to us, then we should probably just hit repeat and turn it up.
What’s your attitude toward Christian and secular music?