Never talk about Religion, Politics or Money, Part One

I think this will be a three part series about music that fall under the three great taboos of conversation.  I must start by saying that I fully support a musicians right to talk about these things (or anything else for that matter) as part of their artistic freedom.   I also think that one should not dislike a band or artist just because they have a different view than your own.  That being said…

…first taboo, Religion.  What is the first band you think of?  The first thing I think of isn’t even a religious band.  Depeche Mode does sing a song called Personal Jesus though, which is really about how a person can sort of consider someone else to be a god like figure, because of love and/or care of that person.  The song was partially based on the way Priscilla Presley felt about Elvis.  Love can certainly slant our view of a person!  I know I elevate both Andrea and my girls to a much higher place than I do anything else in my life. Here is a cover of Personal Jesus as done by Marlyn Manson, whom we will mention later…

Not matter what religion you are or your belief there are songs that certainly share your view.   I work with some Muslims who very frequently listen to the Qur’an.  The interesting part to me is that the Qur’an is being sung in these recordings.  In this case it is sung in another language (a Somali one I assume) so I really have no idea what they are saying, but it really is quite beautiful and interesting to hear.  There is also what is called “handasah al sawt” or the the “art of music” which is not so widely accepted (unless controlled).   This is the music that does not fall into Muslim strict beliefs.  Here is the Qur’an:

It not only Muslims that are so strict about music as we all well know.  Christians are certainly known for there non-tolerance of music outside of there religious compass.  I know in recent years Christians have attacked the likes of Marlyn Manson and Madonna for there musical content and lifestyles.  In ways I see there point, but don’t think a public figure should be held accountable for poor parenting.  In anycase, like Muslims, Christians also have a wide variety of music that very positive and beautiful.  I remember as a kid listening to Carman, he certainly was an influence of the person I would become (even is I did become agnostic).  Here is a pretty popular christian song titled Awesome God by Micheal W. Smith.

I know there are lot of relgions we could talk about, but I’m going to just cover one more.  It is the Yin to the above Yang(s), Satanism.   Just for the record, Satanism doesn’t necessarily mean one worships satan, some use him just as a symbol of certain human traits.  Marlyn Manson has be associated with Satanism although he has always denied it.   One other artist I like in particular openly admited to being a Satanist (atleast at one point).  King Diamond has more recently denounced religion in general saying that religion has led so many people to kill and destroy each other. He stated that he cannot comprehend why religion has caused so much death and destruction when it is logically impossible to prove the presence or absence of any god.  So it does sound like he is more of an Atheist now.  Here is a video called Give Me Your Soul from his latest album Give Me Your Soul…Please.

Of coarse there are many songs about god, satan, faith, religion and ect. out there that take all forms from inspiration to comical to offensive.  It all kind of depends on one perspective really.  I think one belief we all should share is that we should all just get along, to love one another, and to respect everyones right to choose and follow there own path.

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10 thoughts on “Never talk about Religion, Politics or Money, Part One

  1. Two things come to mind. If you’re 555 than I’m 666, and losing my religion by REM.
    Musicians are business men like anyone else trying to make a living, and you will get many more people to notice you if you are offensive. Therefore making more money. I don’t know if they actually know anything about satanism, or whatever it’s called, or they just know how to appeal to many sulking depressed teenagers…either way it’s a good way to make a buck. Who wants to hear music about rainbows and unicorns?

    1. Good point. Controversy does sell and religion is a big part of that. I’m sure a lot of these artist are pandering to impressionable young adults, but I wonder what percentage of these artist are actually in it for the art. There are plenty of christians and atheists that have sung about Satan too.
      I completely forgot about Slipknot. That also reminds me of Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast

  2. The very first that comes to my mind is “With God on Our Side” by Bob Dylan. I think this could also be political as it’s sort of a jab at the right wing embrace of religious fanatics. It’s not just the lyrics, I like. This song is rather playful. I love the timing, the rythmn, the cadence and vocals as only Dylan could write. I really don’t think people realize that Dylan is more than a lyricist. Some of his songs are more complex and thoughtful than others from a structure, timing, musicianship and yes, even vocals standpoint. “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones also comes to mind. My understanding is that this song is about the fact that we are all sinners and we’re all in this together. I can’t stand the G&R version of this song. I also thought of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (again not a fan of the G&R version) by Dylan and the Clapton verison from the 1970s isn’t too bad. I’d throw the Beatles “Let it Be” out there as well. I thought about “Losing My Religion” by REM as well.

  3. I thought of the song (lol) “What if God was one of us?” You know the one, “Just a slob like one of us…” Yup that is what popped into my head! lame, I know…hahahaha there are more now that I think of it! Actual songs of religious faith, Jesus take the wheel, Love them like Jesus, who am I…that’s all I got…peace…

    1. That’s a great choice. I have a friend named Todd and when that song first came out and got tons of radio play, we used to tease him by saying “What if Todd was one of us?”. Kinda of a lame joke, but my friend seemed to like it.

  4. I find that some modern Christian pop/rock music can be left open to interpretation, in that even if you’re not a religious person you can enjoy the song and apply it to your life in other ways. There’ve been several times in the past couple of years when I’ve heard a song that I didn’t associate with religion at all and then found out it was by a Christian band (or some other faith). One in particular that I really love is “Never Alone” by Barlow Girl. Every time I listen to this I think of my grandfather. Certainly not what is intended by the artist/writer, but it’s nice that people who aren’t particularly religious can enjoy it without feeling preached at.

    ^ Hope that all makes sense….very late and I feel it’s a bit babbly and incoherent, but the baby cries and I lose track of my thoughts. Ugh. Good night!

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