In modern Christian circles exists the opinion that true committed Christians should only listen hymns or religious kind of music, and all found enjoying modern secular music are either condemned or looked down upon in some circumstances.
But this is not correct.
MUSIC IS A GIFT FROM GOD TO ENJOY
Like any form of art, Music is a talent, a skill given by God to humans to be able to combine sounds and create harmonious melodies.
As in any other art, like painting, architecture or cooking, it was given for men to enjoy and enrich their quality of life.
OFFERING THE FIRST FRUITS
We are under obligation to offer the first fruits from all God’s gifts to our Divine Provider as proper sign of recognition and gratitude (Proverbs 3:9), and so, the same goes for all forms of art and craft; we should offer our God the best of them. Musicians should compose firstly hymns and psalms to God, Painters should paint Icons and religious motives, Architects should build temples and Chefs and Cooks make bread and wine and oil for the celebration of the Sacraments; but at no moment does the Scripture restricts their function only to that.
Musicians are free to compose secular music, Painters to paint non-religious portraits, landscapes and surrealist patterns, Architects to build houses and stadiums and Chefs to prepare delicious meals and drinks for our nutrition and enjoyment, each of them within their own skill, procuring to enhance their work with harmony, tastes and shapes towards excellence, as correspond to creatures made to the Image and Likeness of God.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
All kind of skill can be also distorted and misused. Cooks can make also intoxicating beverages, Architects build concentration camps, Painters obscene pictures and also Musicians create improper music.
As the Bible does not condemn specific types of music, but on the contrary gives examples where secular music is used for entertainment (1Sam 16:23)(Jeremiah 31:4, 13) (Judges 11:24), we are left with two criteria to follow to select a proper type of music.
1 – INTENTION: WE should separate music according to their intention.
Secular music destined to sooth, to cheer up, relax or reflect can be consider recommendable and licit to listen.
Music on the contrary destined to create antagonism, hate, depression, rage or sensual disorderly passions are not licit.
Usually, apart from their lyrics, the type of sound used can signal their purpose.
2 – LYRICS: The clearest way to make a selection of music.
All lyrics that promote sin, violence, murder, suicide and any other dishonourable are strictly forbidden and to listen to them constitutes a sinful behaviour.
In modern times, this same principle can be applied to music videos and their graphics.
NOTE: An important detail is not to confuse improper lyrics promotion with depiction of social realities.
In some types of music, like modern Rap, Hip Hop or Reggae, the lyrics can picture dysfunctional social realities to create social awareness. This is allowed, as a tool of social expression, and it is different to those that promote and encourage those dysfunctional attitudes, which is terminally forbidden.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.”