The normalization of pop artists using Christian themes, lyrics and imagery.

The music industry is one of the biggest and most successful businesses. Music changes people’s lives. Over the past ten years, we have seen more secular artists, using themes, lyrics, and imagery in their songs, music videos, and the artwork for their album work. Artists are being accepted by the mass public for using these themes, imagery, and lyrics in their music. Three big-name artists have done this with their music. Which is Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, and more recently Lil Nas X.

Justin Bieber: From singing in the streets to one of the worlds largest artists. 

Justin Bieber was raised in a Christian home by his mother. So, from a very young age, Justin Bieber was taught about all these Christian ideals. In 2015, his relationship with Selena Gomez. In this time of reflection, he wrote the song Purpose:

 The underlying message of this song is that God gives us purpose in life. Then if you look at his most recent album Justice which was released in 2021 it is marked as a pop album. The Justice album cover illustrates the “t” in justice looks like a cross representing the cross that Christ died on.

In this album, so many lyrics and ideas have come from Christian. The third song in this album is called As I Am (feat. Khalid) we see this theme of unconditional love, or love that is so good that we think that we don’t deserve it because we have messed up. This song also brings us the act of praying and miracles. Justin Bieber is an example of a huge secular and Christian music crossover. The visualizer for As I Am has over 21M views, over 200K likes, and over 9,000 comments on YouTube.

Demi Lovato: From Disney to rock. 

Demi Lovato was also raised in a Christian home and attended church when she was young. Now looking at her album released in 2022 which was labeled as a pop album called HOLY FVCK and looking at the artwork for this album is her in a crosscut out.

The titles of two songs, HEAVEN, and CITY OF ANGELS are Christian themes. In the, “About the album”, Demi says that “HEAVEN was based on a bible verse Matthew 5:30.” Matthew 5:30 says this, “And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” However, the song’s message is against the verse and what the Bible is saying. The visualizer for HEAVEN has over 300K views over, 8K likes and over 300 comments.

Then CITY OF ANGELS is referencing her time in Los Angeles, which is called the City of Angels. This is also very much a sexual song that is seen as written. The visualizer for CITY OF ANGELS has over 400K views, 11K likes and over 400 comments.

In the visualizers, both HEAVEN and CITY OF ANGELS Christian imagery is angels, crosses, and what heaven is told to look like for some people.

Lil Nas X: From country to J CHRIST 

Lil Nas X whose father was a gospel singer, was influenced by the Christian church in his youth.  

Lil Nas X released his music video for MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name). The visuals for this music video are based on Christian themes and imagery. In the first part of the music video, Nas is in the garden with this big snake, which is related to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden in Genesis. Then at the end of the video, he is in what looks like hell. This music video has over 556M views on YouTube, over 11M likes, and over 1,000,000 comments.

There are also a good amount of reaction videos to the music video itself. One that stood out to me was from the YouTube channel Public Dweeb. They post Pastor Reacts to Lil Nas X – MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) (Official Video) in March 2021. The reaction video has over 4 million views, 200K likes, and over 20,000 comments.

This year Lil Nas X released a song and music video called J CHRIST which is a nickname for Jesus Christ who is the central figure in Christianity.  

Then the music video starts in heaven, then hell, and then also Nas on a cross, which Christians believe that Jesus did die on a cross. In the music video, he shares a Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 5:17. The verse says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” This music video has over 17M views, over 300K likes, and over 90,000 comments. Then on top of the song and the music video there are people posted reaction videos to the music video of this song. This music video even caught the attention of Ben Shapiro and he reacted to the music video on his talk show and then shared the clip of it on YouTube. The reaction video itself has over 300,00 views, 11K likes, and over 4,000 comments. Then in the description of the YouTube video Shapiro shares this: “Lil Nas X is clearly out of ideas, as he’s just released a music video for his new song, ‘J Christ’ where he depicts himself as Jesus. This not only shows a lack of creativity, but it displays just how screwed Hollywood is.” 

Seeing these artists making these works based on Christian themes, lyrics, and imagery. On top of that these works being accepted by the mass public as a Christian is concerning because they are taking the message of the Bible out of context and using it for their own personal following and making millions off it.

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