Why do you listen to the music you listen to?

It was probably about 25 years ago that I first seriously considered the question about my music selection and whether the words and lyrics glorify and honor Christ by a seminary chapel speaker named Al Menconi.

This morning, I came across a list of 12 questions to ask of albums when we listen to them.  While it is true that “most of the time, the vast majority of people listen, and listen again, to music because of its mood, energy, resonances and associated memories. And that is totally reasonable and fair – there’s absolutely no point in downplaying the sheer enjoyment of music,” yet there are things that occur in us spiritually as we listen to music, sometimes overtly and sometimes subtly.  This author attempts to address those realities:  “…my purpose in writing these 12 questions is to help people to foster what we might call joined-up listening – taking an album’s form, music, lyrics and construction as an integrated whole where possible.” [Joined-up Listening: 12 questions to ask of albums.]

Here are a couple of questions I thought were particularly helpful:

1.  APPEAL: What drew you to the album in the first place? Was marketing a factor, or was it word of mouth, or something else?

8. ALLUSIONS: Did any lyrics allude to other songs, ideas or art-forms? Are there any religious themes that get appropriated or subverted?

12.WORLDVIEWS & AGENDAS: Are there hints of a consistent, underlying worldview through the album? What do they say about the nature of reality, morality or humanity? Are there ways in which this engages with, endorses or even challenges, a Christian worldview? How should we respond?

Along with that, I would probably also ask the simple question, “does the combination of words and music exalt and glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31)?  Does it bring pleasure to Him (2 Cor. 5:9)?  And does my attitude while listening to it bring pleasure to Him (Eph. 5:8-10)?

HT:  Tim Challies.

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