Friday, February 28, 2014

Music: The Fight Between Good and Evil

     Today I came across perhaps the most empowering song I've ever heard while listening to a Christian station on Pandora. I have extremely powerful emotions towards music and the effect it can have on its listeners. My opinion on music might even match the impact my emotions towards SSA. Now before I start a tangent, I'll explain some more and then give you the song.
     So my life and music have always been on extremes. For much of my youth, I honestly hated music. I hated all music. Before iPods and MP3's (yes, even though I'm 19, I remember those times) when it was all about stereos and boomboxes, I never even wanted one. I mean, I had no reason to have one. Even when iPods and MP3's started coming out, I never had a desire to get one, after-all I hated music at the time. Then me and music got a new relationship.
     Just a while before starting middle-school I finally started opening up to music, and even started to love singing. I started out mainly listening to instrumental music, and much of it was world instrumental. I dabbled a little into vocal music, and that's where I developed a love for singing. This phase of only instrumental with a tiny bit of vocals only lasted about a year or so. After that, me and music took another twist.
     I ended up diving in to vocal music, almost all at once, and listened to the music that was popular for kids (usually radio Disney which was still cool back then). It was another quick transition from that to something else too. I ended up getting an MP3 player, and dove into another extreme, and that was music that was popular at that time for teenagers and older. This was during the big rise in hip-hop, rap, and electronic-pop-dance music. This was a big change from what I had listened to previously.
     As you can probably guess, my new relationship with music which led me to hip-hop and rap led me to find some pretty bad songs. This phase in my life lasted up until about 2 years ago, and lasted 4-5 years of my life. I was getting into music that was worse and worse. I started listening to awful songs, songs that would swear every-other word, songs that were extremely sexually explicit, and songs that were just evil and dark in nature. It wasn't long after this phase started that my life started spiralling out of control.
     It got to the point where I had no morals about music anymore, and nothing phased me. It didn't matter how much profanity, sex, drugs, or evil was in a song, as long as I liked it, I listened to it. It started influencing me, even though I never really thought about it at the time. I would listen to that music when I was feeling low, and it would drive me lower, but somehow I loved it, or at least thought I did. Music was a deciding factor in my actions, and even my free agency and was a huge influence on me driving me further and further from God. In fact, now that I think about it, I really believe it was the music I listened to that drove me from the Church, and I don't even just think, I know it was a big part of it. The music I listened to destroyed me spiritually.
     It wasn't until I got sent to inpatient treatment that I really had time to think about what I was doing in life, including the media I had decided to listen to and participate in. It was during my stay in treatment that I realized how deep music had pulled me, and how much it was destroying me inside. It's crazy to think I went from hating music, to loving it, and then getting into the worst music I could've found. Now you might think I'm talking about some kind of music you couldn't find listed on the home page of iTunes, but that's actually the exact music I'm talking about, or at least the artists. It was the "popular" music of the time that was my downfall. Lady Gaga, Kesha, Pitbull, Jesse McCartney, Katy Perry, etc. They, and so many other popular artists, were what destroyed me.
     After my stay in inpatient treatment, I resolved to change the music I listened to. At first, I decided I'd get rid of all my songs that swore at what I considered "too often". After a month or so, I realized that wasn't enough. I still had these awful evil feelings and influences, so I decided to re-evaluate. I got rid of all songs I had that swore at all. Things got better, but after a month or two, I started to notice evil influences in my life still. I was still hitting lows because of music. I took another look into it.
     This time I took out all my music that was sexually suggestive, any song that had innapropriate references, gone. Things improved a little, but still, evil influences, bad feelings, low points and sin. I re-evalutated again the music I listened to. This time, deciding to eliminate any music that contained indirect references to anything sexual. Again, more improvement, but a month later, still evil there. This time I decided I really needed to do something big. I needed to sacrifice something more for God if I was ever going to improve.
    I did a huge evaluation of all the music I had. I decided this time that I wouldn't just eliminate individual songs, but if there was an artist who sung any song with any profanity, sexual reference, drug references, anything evil, then every single song from that artist went bye-bye, no matter how "positive" an individual song sung by them may have been. I decided to judge the music by emotion too. Any song that invoked anger or hate, gone. I used to listen to heavy rock, that was gone because it provoked anger and hate. I dropped entire genres. Rap and hip-hop, completely deleted, metal and heavy rock, completely gone. Needless to say, my music library was cut in more than just half. I had a fraction left of what I had had before.
     It was not an easy process, getting rid of all that music, especially because I had spent money on it, and there was no way to return it. It was also hard to get rid of it, because did I like it? Yeah, it was fun to dance to and sing to, but the destruction it had heaped on me was so much worse than any "fun" that came from it, and the disobedience from God's law that it was compromised who I wanted to be. I was pretty much out of music to listen to, my library was tiny and I loved music but had little-to-nothing to listen to. This is when I came across a new kind of music; Christian.
     Christian is now essentially all I listen to, and has been perhaps one of the biggest blessings God has given me. The evil influence, destruction, and corruption my previous playlist once caused me has been replaced by good, uplifting, and inspiring music always drawing me closer to God, and I still think there's room to improve, in fact after this post, I'm going to filter my music library yet again.
     The process of change has not been easy. Some people may laugh at this because evil music has become so normal that it's funny to think someone tries to avoid it like pornography or drugs, but honestly I've had to treat music just like my addictions. I've had relapses on my bad music since I deleted it all. As amazing as the radio in my car is, and as amazing as Pandora has been in helping me find amazing Christian and LDS music, they've also both been extremely dangerous for me. I've had times where I've listened to evil music on the radio or Pandora since I deleted almost my entire music library.
     This is the part people might laugh or smile on, but I've even caught myself justifying listening to songs that aren't in and of themselves evil, but by an artist who has a lot of really bad music, and even that influences me for evil, regardless of how "good" the individual song may be. Satan has literally tempted me to return to old music through so many different avenues, including factors that I can't control, and so I have to be constantly vigilant about what's going on around me to avoid the temptations that can cause me to go back to listening to bad artists or songs.
     I have such powerful emotions towards music because I have been everywhere with music. I once hated all music, then I got into it and listened to strictly instrumental, then I got into lyrical, dove into popular music, delved into absolutely evil music, and made a slow and painful recovery climbing out of the dark hole and finding my way back to God by deleting my music library. I have such strong emotions because I see people being destroyed by music every day, even people in the Church who you would never suspect. People delving into music that seems "innocent" enough, but ultimately leads to worse things. Just like drugs have "gateway" drugs (lesser drugs that easily and almost always lead to worse drugs) I believe and know for a fact that there is also gateway music. I have a testimony of music for both sides, good and evil, and I know what an influence music can be.
     I am a Child of God, and I will never sell my soul for the evil of this world. I honestly feel that music is something I would fight for. If I could go to war against evil music, even with a risk of losing my life, I honestly believe I would. If I knew I had a chance to change the world, to change music as it is, I would happily seize the opportunity.
     I want to challenge every single person who reads this post to go look at the music you listen to, the movies you watch, the channels you turn to on the TV, the talk-shows or other media you watch or listen to, even the pictures you have on your walls and as the wallpaper on  your electronic devices. Look at them, and honestly, 100% think about whether these bring you closer to God, closer to who you want to be, or whether they are doing the opposite. Think about the effects it may have on you even indirectly. I promise I never saw the full affects of music on me until I looked back on it and saw how destructive it really was.
     I honestly desire that every single person who reads this post will re-evaluate their lives in every aspect, and really think about what things you're letting affect you, and whether you mean to let them affect you or not. It's amazing how such small things that may seem so insignificant can effect us in the biggest ways.

     I almost want to end the post here, but I promised a song, and so I will post it and let you check it out. This song is what inspired this post. This song makes direct jabs at many popular artists of this day like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Kanye West, and Kesha. I love this song, I really do. I'll end the post with this, and I'll post the song and lyrics and highlight the lyrics that really stuck out and meant something to me. Don't let the media control your life, let God be your guide, not media be your dictator and deceiver. I love you all. I hope you all walk away from this with the ability to see the things that influence you, and that God will bless you with the ability to identify and remove the negative.
If the video isn't available here, visit it on youtube at
Royal Tailor
This world is, ra, ra
In a bad romance, going, ga, ga
You know we're gettin' played
By the love game

And hypnotized by all the fame
But I believe we can't back down from the fight
It's not okay with me to just be silent
Won't be silent
, silent

No, we won't let them take control
We won't go with the flow
We've got to stand together

It's all plastic and I can't be a fake
It's all static, every word that they say
We won't let them take control

Won't let them take control

Life is short, baby, tik tok
Ain't got no time for your, blah, blah
(Nah, nah, nah)
'Cause girl, we don't need your drug

No, no, we don't what you're calling love
'Cause I believe that you're either yes or no
You're hot or cold
No teenage dream could ever be worth your soul
Never worth your soul

Burn like a fire
Shine like a diamond
See a flash when I smile
Brighter than Kanye's
Comes to the heart

Gotta guard what we buyin'
Can't you see they all got you tryin'
To fall in love with your stereo

So they control what you think
And everywhere you go

But greater is He who lives inside of we know
He won't lose fight, that's right


  1. Idea time! After I finished this post, I was thinking more about it, and how hard it can be to find good, uplifting, spiritual music anymore. What if I was to make another blog specifically geared towards good music that made it easy to find good artists and songs, LDS and Christian, from different musical genres so that people could find something that fits them. Thoughts? Advice? Feedback? I'd love to hear it, as now I'm honestly considering starting a blog like that.

  2. Hey, I read once something in Gospelink about this issue. I just can't find it, but I think it would help. See you soon.