Music is one of mankind’s greatest achievements as far as self-expression is concerned. If you think about it, music wasn’t a vital adaptation that the species needed to devise as humans were developing through time. Fortunately, music is here to stay and there is literally a world of genres and styles to choose from.
It’s no secret that the Christian music genre is a very lucrative one. Many artists make millions singing about their faith and Christian Rock is still fairly popular. It’s fairly easy to research bands who sing about these topics and there are also bands like Creed who don’t go on the record for being Christian but most people can somehow assume that they are.
For a freethinker who might want to listen to music that is consistent with his or her tastes and philosophy, the search for the perfect band might be a little bit more challenging. Hopefully this post would help freethinkers consider some artists for their “freethinker playlist”. The caveat here of course is that this is not an imposition for what freethinkers should listen to. These artists and songs are being displayed here for the sole purpose of sharing the fact that they exist. I’m sure a lot of freethinkers also enjoy listening to Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Gary Valenciano.
Hopefully this would be a first in many weeks of Freethinker Music Weekly! Let’s start off with the obvious genre for freethinker ideas:
Metal and Hard Rock
These two genres have always been demonized from being really affiliated with Satanism and the occult. For angry and militant *cough* teenage *cough* freethinkers, this would definitely be a very good place to start.
Tool is quite possibly the first and last name when it comes to atheist/ anti-religion music. The track (“Opiate”) above is from the band’s first EP of the same title released in the early 90s. The track comes across as very aggressive but at the same time, there’s a hint of satire and sarcasm in the delivery that makes it work very well. Aside from having good lyrics, Tool is also widely respected for having deft technical schools making them a magnet for annoying fan boys and the most passionate of haters. If you like “Opiate”, feel free to check out the songs ““Eulogy”” (guess who it’s for?) , “Sober” (which has a really awesome video) and Lateralus (spoiler alert: the verses follow the Fibonacci Sequence). Quite frankly it’s hard to pick out Tool songs that stand out because almost all of them are good and most of their songs are relevant to the freethinker experience.
Another band that has a trove of good freethought-themed songs is Disturbed – easily one of the best bands from the much-maligned nu metal from the late 90s. The band’s second album “Believe” was as blunt as it could get. The main message of almost all of the songs in the album was that religion engage in a form of psychological torture just to keep people in the flock. The song Prayer demonstrates this very well.
The cover is a dead give away. There is a superimposition of the three major religions of the world (Islam, Christianity and Judaism in the form of the crescent, cross and Star of David) in an effort to create the statement that all these religions pretty much do the same thing in terms of affecting those who believe them. The lyrics don’t really hide much – the band really does tell you like it is with enough artistic flair to make it intriguing. Disturbed is also unbelievably catchy for a hard rock band. It would be difficult not to tap your foot or bob your head while listening to these guys.
Opera singing or church singing is something that is heavily rooted in religious activities. That’s why it’s refreshing to have a Dutch band like Epica churn out a song like “Cry To The Moon” – a ditty that’s all about “following one’s common sense” and “not hiding behind a fairy tale”. The genre could be quite an eye opener for Filipinos – Epica is filed under a style of music called symphonic metal. This genre combines the heavy shredding found in metal with the precise soft strings of an orchestra. Pair this up with a sweet combination of classical singing and guttural growling and you get the entire experience. The lyrics are definitely gorgeous and while it doesn’t go on a balls-to-the-wall offensive against religion, it should be easy to decipher to message through some of the verses:
Indoctrinated minds so very often
Contain sick thoughts
And commit most of the evil they preach against
I bet people who don’t even agree with the content of the lyrics would appreciate the song for the sheer artistic merit of the piece. It’s simply impeccable! And oh, that girl in the photo? That’s Simone Simmons – the lead vocalist of Epica. I bet that got your attention!
The local scene also has its share of bands who dare to speak against religion. The band Cheese (now known as Queso) released the song Parusa off their 2002 album Parusa and the theme of the song was unmistakable – it was a diatribe against the corruption of the church and laughable idolatry that they promote. Bands never really release official interpretation of their songs but in recent interview by vocalist Ian Tayao with FHM, he said that he has no religious affiliation because he has always found something wrong with the religions that he has tried to study and join in the past. Without that information however, one can interpret the song in a way that is still consistent with a deistic perspective while just being hypercritical of the hierarchy of the religious establishment. This makes it worthwhile for freethinkers of many types of approaches to the “god” issue.
A Perfect Circle‘s “Judith” is also one of the great masterpieces of the last fifteen years. The song is a very powerful piece on vocalist Maynard James Keenan’s (also Tool’s front man) mother and how she struggled with being incapacitated throughout almost ten thousand days of her life. The song is very powerful in the sense that it manages to feel visceral and yet appeals somewhat to your intellectual faculties at the same time.
You’re such an inspiration
For the ways that I will
Never, ever choose to be
Oh so many ways for me to show you
How your savior has abandoned you
Fuck your God, your Lord, your Christ
He did this, took all you had and
Left you this way, still you pray, never stray, never
Taste of the fruit, never thought to question “Why?”
It’s not like you killed someone
It’s not like you drove a hateful spear into his side
Praise the one who left you broken down and paralyzed
He did it all for you…
He did it all for you…
There’s some genuine angst there. It might not be the most constructive and inspiring of feelings but at the end of the day, embracing one’s emotional frailties is a part of life.
Again these are mere suggestions. The internet is your playground and you will surely see a lot more metal and hard rock bands who are into writing about ideas consistent with freethought. See you next week.