Seemingly Contradictory Music Interests (AKA What are you listening to that for?)

There's this song I like by this artist I love, Hallelujah by Rufus Wainright. If you don't know him, here's his wikipedia page

Just kidding (seriously though, that IS his wiki page if you're interested). Wainwright is a talented (and somewhat eccentric) musician who is just, if nothing else, fun to listen to.

Anyway, he covered the song by Leonard Cohen. Now, if you listen to/read the lyrics, you might not interpret it as having a religious meaning, just that it references certain passages in the Bible to make a point (which is what I think it's doing). However, just listening to the song, a person who's never heard it might think it's religious.

So me listening to it seems kind of contradictory to my views on religion (if you don't bother to even try to analyze the lyrics). I was wondering if anyone else here had a song that they love/enjoy listening but seems to have religious connotations, or actually does.

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Replies to This Discussion

Some of Bob Marley's songs do. It doesn't seem to matter much to me. The songs and their words have their own meanings to me.
Good point and this occurred to me when I was working on some of the threads here.

I basically just accept the fact that when it comes to music I am areligious and don't care.

If it's a great tune and I enjoy it, that's what matters.

I suppose there are a lot of things that one can criticize about that attitude but there it is :-).

I really love Handels' Messiah for example.

The only exception to that is a song that sends a really outrageous message like Sting's song, I'll be watching you, which is essentially a Stalker song.

While the tune is pretty, I really object to the message.
Actually, Sting himself talked about the song and its meaning.
"I woke up in the middle of the night with that line in my head, sat down at the piano and had written it in half an hour. The tune itself is generic, an aggregate of hundreds of others, but the words are interesting. It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn't realize at the time how sinister it is. I think I was thinking of Big Brother, surveillance and control."
http://www.sting.com/news/interview.php?uid=1527
Well it's good that he, at least was aware of that. That's redeeming in that he doesn't consider that the way a lover would behave.

I know a lot of people who think it's a love song and my response is, "are you kidding me? By what definition?" Lol.
I was thinking, I like a great deal of music by the Staple Singers. Surely religious music. I still like it. Can't listen to "I'll Take You There" enough but the religious message has no meaning for me, it's just great music. In fact I have "People Ge Ready" by several artists and I love that song too!
Fortunately for me, some of my favorite bands actually wrote songs against religion, specifically catholic. Gentle Giant has a song named No God´s a Man (which the title itself is quite clear, trying to say that Jesus, or "chuy" if he´s your friend could have not been anything related to god, or that I understand). Jethro Tull also has written things like that, in a song which name I dont remember he states " you got it all wrong, you dont have to worship on sundays, nor go to sunday school" or something like it.

But back to the original topic, I have listened to many seemingly religious songs, some of them are quite good and I may even say some of the alltime favorites, such as "Stand by Me". Which was actually a song sang in the african-american churches, and then popularized in the radio by numerous artists. What I also like about that song is that while the meaning is intended to be religious it may be taken as something unrelated to religion.

I dont remember other songs (or their names) that actually have a profound religious meaning, but as with Jeff I always find myself giving the words another meaning, which most people do on most songs anyway. Also, I do try to avoid the kind of songs that explicitly state god and its "love", its not the god part I despise, that I can stand, but the part of the loving in the christian manner. Besides, I would only really like it if such song had a reaaaaally nice tune.

but either way I tend to like instrumental music much better. Tends to get rid of situations like that or misunderstandings of the lyric´s meaning.
"Also, I do try to avoid the kind of songs that explicitly state god and its "love", its not the god part I despise, that I can stand, but the part of the loving in the christian manner. Besides, I would only really like it if such song had a reaaaaally nice tune."

That's what I meant by the songs that definitely have a religious meaning. The songs that are so obviously about God and their religion, I can't stand those songs.

I don't really care that they're making that music (it'd be hypocritical if I did care, cause I do listen to some obviously anti-theistic music), but personally, I just don't like them. Even if I like the instrumentals, when I listen to music with a singer in it, I pay attention to the lyrics first.

Kind of off topic, but that's why I only listen to instrumental versions of Carol of the Bells. It has such a haunting feel to it, but when I listen to the versions with vocals in it, I hear the lyrics and I'm turned off by it.
I listen to anything and everything and if I like a song, so be it. The words are often meaningless. The purpose of music is first the music, the words come afterwards and have only the value I perceive them to have which can be none if I choose.
I've been an atheist all my life and my first love is 1950's Rockabilly, but I know the words and can sing along with religious songs like, I've Seen The Light, Church In The Wildwood, Bringing In The Sheaves, We Shall Gather At The River.

The sentiments expressed in these songs has nothing to do with it - I just like them. They sound good.

My favourite Rockabilly song:


My favourite religious song
I enjoy some of the killer's, but they seem to have religious lyrics here and there.

I do have some music tastes that contradict each other, such as Marilyn Manson and John Lennon.
MSI is primarily a adolescent punk girl band. I am none of these things, but I still like their sound. It also doesn't hurt that Lin-Z is gorgeous.

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