This issue goes far beyond musical tastes because today much popular music is radically different from that of previous generations. The difference that much of today’s music has words and themes which openly emphasize and encourage such things as immoral sexual experiences and the use of drugs. Some songs, in fact, even have strong Satanic or occult themes. This cannot be overlooked by any responsible parent…”
It is with these words of warning from Billy Graham that Eric Barger begins his book. Empowered by the phrase “This cannot be overlooked by any responsible parent…” Barger sets forth to make certain that parents and teenagers alike know exactly what it is that makes much of today’s rock scene so dangerous to follow.
Barger lays bare the content of videos, rock concerts, song lyrics, album covers and artists’ lifestyles. With startling clarity and detail, he reveals sexual deviance, violence, hedonism, depravity, substance abuse, and links with the occult and Satanism.
The information he presents is concise and well documented. To his credit, Barger conveys the sordidness and perversity without resorting to quoting the profanity used by so many of the artists.
But so comprehensive is Barger’s research that a reader who is unfamiliar with the world of rock music could easily be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and its unparalleled depravity. A gradual easing into the material through the use of introductions for Chapters 2 through 4 would certainly have helped.
In this light, it is in the later chapters that Barger is at his best. The Group/Artists Summaries present detailed exposés that are easily comprehended. And the chapter entitled “Rock Music’s Occult Symbols Explained” provides a startling look at the origins, meanings and uses of the symbols found in many rock groups’ materials.
The most striking facet of Barger’s book is his 48-page ‘Rock Music Rating System,’ in which he classifies over 1500 past and present musicians according to the presence of certain themes. These themes include substance abuse, sexual perversion, involvement with the occult and Satanism, and the adulation of murder and suicide. For parents and rock enthusiasts alike, it provides a quick and easy to use guide to what is and isn’t present in the material of the entertainer of choice.
The major difficulty with Barger’s ‘Rock Music Rating System’ is that of any rating system: it rapidly becomes obsolete. In the field of rock music where groups disband and reform overnight, this is especially so. For example, at the time of the book’s printing, the group L.A. Guns received a rating which castigated it for its rebellion, violence and vile language. But the March 1990 issue of Hit Parader notes: “With the success of their latest LP, “Cocked and Loaded,” these Sin City Bad Boys have staked a claim to the title of the sleaziest band in the world. But these guys don’t work at being sleazy; it’s something that just comes to them naturally.” Obviously there is far more to L.A. Guns than a taste of rebellion and the use of four-letter words.
While books like From Rock to Rock provide parents with essential information, they are no substitute for parental involvement. In his closing chapters, Barger acknowledges this and exhorts parents to get involved. Listen to the music, watch the videos, go to the concerts and read the music magazines, he encourages. But don’t expect your child to reject the ungodliness of rock music if you yourself indulge in ungodliness in other forms, Barger wisely warns.
“Parenting is not an easy task,” he admits. “But we have been given a great responsibility – to raise, guide and nurture another human being for God. When we lose touch with the heartbeat of our kids we greatly diminish our effectiveness as their spiritual leaders. Jesus must become what music is – the heartbeat of our youth.”