Troublesome song lyrics

I’m sure there are times where I’m guilty of my own criticism, but something that really bothers me is songs that have toxic lyrics. Songs that portray a casual toxic masculinity or that celebrate violence. Like, when songs refer to women as “bitches” and sex objects to be used and thrown out with the morning trash. Or songs that are like “I just killed someone and it was fun.” And something that really bothers me is when people I love are fans of these songs and the “artists” that write or perform the songs.

Maybe others just don’t put as much emphasis on lyrics and meanings as I do. Maybe they don’t realize what they’re listening to. Maybe people just genuinely like the track/instrumentation supporting the lyrics. Maybe it’s more nuanced than that. Maybe there’s an “artist” who’s doing something in terms of representation, like an Asian rapper. But I just can’t look past the toxic nature of the lyrics and the toxicity that the “artists” perpetuate by performing the lyrics, whether or not those people actually ”live” the lyrics in their persona or actual lives. (I pointed out rap because that’s a style of music that a lot of my friends are into. I know that many other, if not all, genres of music can have toxic lyrics, and I have problems with those songs as well.)

It upsets me greatly that people I love and admire are into such music and are fans of “artists” that perpetuate such…crap. It makes me doubt my loved ones. Like, is this something they follow in their own lives? Are they just bullshitting me when they’re kind and caring? Or is it something that they struggle with? Or is it just something that doesn’t matter to them? Do they not see these things as a problem? Why is something so morally awful considered entertaining?

Why do people have to be so complicated…or maybe people are simple and I’m just kidding myself.


Hey friend, thank you for posting. As a lover of music myself, I felt compelled to respond. I want you to know that I understand where you’re coming from and that I read your post with a lot of patience.

To extend an olive branch here, yes I agree that there are a lot of examples of very surface lyrics that perpetuate very toxic things and that kind of music is garbage in my opinion.

That being said, I think it’s pretty harsh to judge others or question their morality based on the type of music they listen to or identify with, especially when viewing things through your own prism and experience. Music and art in general can be a means of telling a story, and for others a means of cathartic release and expression of a lot of negative thoughts and emotions. Many rappers can be placed into this category as well, music has become their means of releasing many of the negative emotions based on their past experiences. However, for me probably one of the best examples of this that I can think of is a band I love called Whitechapel, they’re a deathcore band. The vocalist/lyricist Phil Bozeman has a history of writing very dark and disturbing lyrics, which is no surprise considering his childhood. I would be angry and hateful towards the world too if I went from having the perfect family life to losing my father at a young age, then watching my mom get married to someone who got her addicted to heroin, witnessing her slip into schizophrenia with multiple-personality disorder and ultimately losing her too, all before you barely reach high school. If you see Phil today on social media at all or get a chance to meet him like I have, he is one of the nicest and sweetest dudes you’ll ever meet and he’s a tremendous dad to his adorable dogs!

My point is, I would encourage you to try and not judge someone so quickly or rush to question their character or morality based on the type of music they listen to, or to criticize an artist based on what inspires them to create and express themselves. People are different, have vastly different life experiences, and thus different types of art or music speaks to them on a personal level in different ways. Many people are able to enjoy something without taking it to heart, such as enjoying horror movies or playing video games like Call of Duty and not rushing to act in violent ways in the real world. If that is not something you feel like you are capable of, then simply don’t engage in listening to certain types of music yourself. People have to be complicated because we are. It really is as simple as that.

Thank you for posting. Hold fast.


Thank you for your patience and trying to explain things to me; I understand what you are trying to say.

I didn’t intend to be dismissive of the experiences or darkness that causes people to create certain art or to be dismissive of the experiences/darkness that causes people to be able to have that art speak to them; I’m sorry if that is how I’m coming across.

I try not to be quick to judge, but I am indeed guilty of that at times. I’m sure that if I were someone else, by my own standards, with some of the music I listen to, I’d judge myself rather harshly.

I try to see the whole picture, the good and the bad, but perhaps because of my own insecurities, that is in certain moments difficult for me to do.

I feel like my response to your reply is coming off as defensive, but I am truly thankful for your response to my post :slight_smile:


Hey friend, like I said I totally understand where you’re coming from and I get it. Personally, a rather big trigger of mine is when I hear or read that someone is willing to make some sort of judgement towards someone else based on one factor or one aspect of that person’s life. I just find it troubling when I read that you “doubt your loved ones” over something like this. This is why I try to encourage others to look at the whole picture as often as I can.

Your response is totally not coming off as defensive! Rather you sound understanding and self-reflective. It’s appreciated, and I appreciate you being willing to listen, even if we don’t agree entirely!


Try to listen to more positive music with positive lyrics or positive messages. It will help your mood and see the world differently.

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I can understand that dislike of music like that as I myself am not a fan. I don’t like listening to music that degraded someone else or speaks of hateful things. But I don’t judge what other people listen to or the movies they watch or even the video games they play.

It’s okay to not like these things, yourself. It’s even okay to not have understanding why others would enjoy it. But I think @adam_actual spoke very well here. I agree with what he shared.

Be careful of the judgement you place my friend. As I’m sure you wouldn’t want friends or family to judge you or question their love for you because of something you enjoy doing. We all have our different reasons and experiences that lead us to relate to and appreciate things.

But with that said, like I said, I can relate to not liking a lot of filth lyrics. It just doesn’t bring any positive to my own life. I prefer things a little lighter.

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts though, and allowing us to share our brains with you. Know that you are loved here. And your thoughts are still important. Just remember to be careful of what questions your love and care for people. It could result in loss of good relationships if we aren’t careful for reasons that may not have been worth it.

Hold fast friend

  • Kitty