This is an issue we touched upon the other night at our Bible study. It’s kind of interesting because though we are all seasoned musicians playing music at church, I don’t think there’s any of us that really dig popular Christian music. Why? Well, because it mostly sucks.
Now let’s distinguish between worship music and popular Christian music. Worship music is what you hear at church. It’s written to glorify God, encourage us, and lift our spirits. This is good stuff, and I really enjoy playing it. Popular Christian music is the stuff you hear on Christian radio. It’s designed to sell records to people of the Christian faith.
The problem with popular Christian music is that it’s so cookie cutter and so generic. I signed up to take surveys for the local Christian music station and they sent me my first one today. As I was listening to the songs and rating them, I discovered that with the exception of 3 or 4 songs out of about 50, they all sounded EXACTLY the same. It’s like there’s a sucky music factory out there in the middle of the bible belt stamping out these horrifically simple and uninteresting songs. Honestly, most of them sound like something on the Disney channel, or in a soft drink commercial, or hear around a campfire.
It’s unfortunate because there’s so many creative people out there, but for some reason they feel like they have to mimic everyone else rather than do something off the wall. And the record companies are so bent on profits that they aren’t willing to take chances cultivating new and interesting artists. There’s a certain amount of bias though from Christians themselves. A lot of people think “Christian” means a certain style of music, rather than music having a certain lyrical content. All this combined makes for music that too often is somber and moody and boring.
Why can’t Christians rock? And not that goofy corporate version of rock, I mean really rock! I want AC/DC with clean lyrics. I want Metallica with a positive message. I want Slipknot with a Christian worldview.
Fortunately there are a few heavy bands with a Christian worldview hitting the scene, but what’s really interesting, is that it’s the secular world that’s embracing them, while Christian radio shuns them. Odd. Here’s a few heavy bands that I enjoy. If there’s anyone out there that knows of some other good ones, post them in the comments.