One of my kids had borrowed a stack of CDs from a friend to listen to. I asked if I could have a look and see what the millennials were listening to these days. I was impressed by the musicianship—gosh, I wish I could play guitar like those guys. But I was saddened by the recurring theme of blood and death. There is a culture of death in today’s music, which means that there is a culture of death in our kids’ heads.
Believe me? Listen yourself to Megadeth. Listen to “Homicidal Retribution” by the band Dying Fetus, or to “Bloody Kisses” by Type O Negative, or to “Bludgeoned to Death” by Suicide Silence. And it’s not just white kids’ metal bands. Rap and hip-hop are just as bad or worse. Google the lyrics of “If I Should Die Before I Wake’ by Notorious B.I.G. if you dare and if you have the stomach.
The culture of death has been around a while. In 1976 Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” got huge airplay. The singer begs his lover to take his hand and be like Romeo and Juliet and not be afraid of suicide. Even my fave group of the ‘60s, the Beatles, featured peace-loving John Lennon singing this in “Run for Your Life”: “Baby I’m determined that I’d rather see you dead….Run for your life if you can, little girl…Catch you with another man, that’s the end, little girl.”
It’s older even than that. Robert Johnson is widely considered to be the greatest of all bluesmen. Almost every blues player has covered his songs and imitated his singing and playing. Back in the ‘30s he wrote a song called “32-20 Blues” in which he celebrated his favorite gun, his Winchester .32-20. “If she gets unruly and think she don’t wanna do, Take my .32-20 and cut her half in two.”
Let’s face it—the culture of death in all ages comes from Satan, evil lord of death and hell. Be aware of what is going into young people’s minds, but take inventory of what is in your mind, too. Yelling, scolding, and shaming won’t stop it. A better plan is to let a steady stream of the words of Jesus into our minds. His words bring life and health. And joy.
Straight talk. Real hope.