Arts, Music — September 25, 2012 9:50 am

Some writing on a topic I am at odds with.

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I went through a time when I only listened to Christian Music. I was convinced that it made me a better person. Well, I listened to mostly Christian music. I would also listen to the Classic Rock station with my Dad in his Jeep Cherokee (It would become my Jeep). But, overall I only listened to Newsboys, DC Talk, Jars of Clay and a host of other forgettable bands. I went to the concerts and participated in the culture. It was not till much later that I realized there is much better music out there. Once I figured this out, I haven’t looked back.

I know some of you may say, “Jars of Clay’s first album is great!” or  “The bands making the best punk rock and Hardcore are Christians.” Yes, fine. But, no one off of Gotee Records is doing anything close The Black Keys.

Anyway, SLATE has compiled some great long-form articles on Christian Music. It’s a mix of interviews with people like David Bazan and proper journalism on Bob Dylan and his “Christian” phase. Check them out if you need some tuesday reading.

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2 Comments

  • Sad but true. The only money maker for Christian labels is worship music… It doesn’t help that Christian music is centered in Nashville where new genres never get a chance to flourish. My cousin-12 years younger than me– listens to the same bands I did from 12 years ago!

  • Agree! Agree! To be completely fair, I’ll list the only mainstream Christian songs that I like.

    1. Keith Green:
    a. Because of you
    b. Run to the end of the highway
    c. You put this love in my heart
    d. He’ll take care of the rest
    e. Easter Song
    f. Soften you heart
    g. And his masterpiece – The Prodigal Son Suite

    2. DC Talk
    a. What if I stumble
    b. In the light
    c. Lean on me (cover)

    3. Third Day – Consuming fire

    4. Rich Mullins – If I stand

    5. Amy Grant – Somewhere down the road

    6. Newsboys – Entertaining Angels

    7. Audio Adrenaline – Get Down

    8. Praise Ye The Lord – Petra

    9. Shawn Mcdonald – Take My Hand

    Okay, that’s enough. As for the other 99% of it out there, I’d like to post here a rant I published for The Heretical Review, since I think it’s relevant.

    —————

    I have a rant! I’m going to say something that – unfortunately – might offend the vast majority of Christians out there. But this is my opinion and I feel a very strong conviction about it. It is this. The Christian music scene is – on the whole – awful. Why!?!?!

    It puts out some of the most boring, repetitive, bland, inauthentic, cookie cutter, generic, horrifically simple, forced, somber, hopelessly uninspired drivel I’ve ever heard. It isn’t creative, catchy, impressive. It is devoid of excitement. It isn’t innovative. It is some of the crappiest, sappiest, shallow music I’ve ever heard. I’d prefer Gangster rap and mainstream country music to the schlock I hear on K-LOVE. It is something you’d hear slapped together around a campfire, or the music you hear in an elevator. And they all sound the same!

    But before this turns into an exercise in mudslinging, I am a Christian. Why the heck is it that I can’t stand modern Christian music? Shouldn’t I like it? But I don’t. I HATE it with a passion. I turn it on and I cringe. I hear it during Church and I can feel myself getting angry.

    It hasn’t always been like this. Christianity once held a monopoly on good music with Bach, Handel, traditional hymns etc. . . Why is it that “Christian artists” can’t compete with “secular artists”? And why is it that putting quotations around those designations annoyed me? Why can’t Christians rock?

    DC Talk was okay. Third day had one good song, and you can’t help thinking that they rode that grunge, southern rock wave for a boost. Rich Mullins is a great, passionate Christian – but lets be realistic – he doesn’t stand a chance – musically! – against Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, or Neil Young. Amy Grant is Christianity’s biggest splash and can you seriously say she’s on par with Jewel, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Moressette, Janis Joplin, or Cher?

    There is no song in Christian music (quote, end quote) that even remotely compares to the quality of music churned up our there by secular artists. Where is the Led Zeppelin equal? The Beatles? Michael Jackson? Pearl Jam? Radiohead? Where is the Christian artist that can pack stadiums, be authentic, and – most importantly – be a great, awesome, distinct, brilliant, and amazing artist? People think U2 fits the bill, but technically they aren’t Christian music. I want the Christian-sponsored industry to produce an artist on par with any of these guys. I defy them to do it!

    I’m sorry, but the constant, unending, musically uninteresting, dull, repetitive, and even morally sanctimonious praise and worship formula is tiring, boring, vexing, and just viewed as retarded by the vast majority of musicians out there.

    Mewithoutyou may be the beginning of something special. I’m not sure about their being purely Christian music. But that’s the key. It’s not just praise and worship 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Christians are people too, people who might suffer a horrible break-up with a girl they loved, and write beautiful poetic lyrics to amazingly passionate music. This is the trend that finally needed to be set. And what happened? Secular radio stations embraced them, and Christian radio stations shunned them. What the heck?

    But droves of Christians flock to K-LOVE type, musical poppycock. While Christians are caught up in it, and while maybe it doesn’t offend their moral sensibilities, the music itself stagnates, and it becomes a slave to moral neutrality; it doesn’t serve the end of creating beautiful art anymore, but to be a sniveling milquetoast to artistically myopic people just wanting a momentary high while they piously think this inferior medium is the door to true worship. Meanwhile, the music (as music) dies, and is dying. I’ll stop there.

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