Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?

Contemporary Christian Music covers a huge range of styles, including soul, pop, rock, rap, ska, techno, you name it. The only real difference I can find is the lyrical content. I’ve quoted some song lyrics in the church I attend, but if I played the song itself, some of the members would probably go ballistic. Some Christian artists have “crossed over” to the secular markets with excellent success, like Amy Grant, dc Talk, or Jars of Clay. Yet the artists are sometimes denounced by church folks, even if they are sincerely trying to tell their audience about Jesus.

What do the Teeming Millions make of this? Is this something new to you? Do you listen to CCM, and find it helps you along your journey with God? Do you avoid it as being too secular?

My opinion is that I find it helpful and enjoyable. Some of the best concerts I’ve ever attended have been Christian concerts. I’ve also seen Frank Zappa, ZZ Top, Bruce Springsteen, and others, so I do have a good basis for comparison.

For folks who would be interested in finding out more, I’ll include some helpful sites.
calvarychapel.com/crossroads-vancouver/chrmuschrt.html has a format along the lines of “if you like these secular artists, you might enjoy these CCM artists”, and provides links to many of them.
www.ccmcom.com is CCM magazine, for reviews, tour information, etc.
www.wayfm.com is a radio station site, and I believe they also webcast.

Brian has all the good music? Hopefully,he’ll sell some to collectors! I listen to Christian music,contemp or ancient. If its got a good beat,I’ll give it a 98.

All the good rock and roll acts are affilitated with satan, everyone knows that–Bart Simpson
Really tho, I really like creed. their lyrics are spiritual, but they contest they are not a religeous band.

Your church doesn’t have to approve of your taste. As long as you get a positive message from what you’re listening to, it shouldn’t matter.

Mmm hehe um yah jack am coke, yah yah, vodka- Keith Richards

mikehardware wrote:

dc Talk does secular music now, too? Bleah. They were bad enough when they stuck to the Jesus stuff.
I listen to CC music quite a bit (thanks to that now-ubiquitous “K-love” radio network), but I’m not Christian. I just think that the CCM that’s worth listening to happens to be prettier than secular pop music. Unfortunately, I also feel that the CCM of 8-10 years ago was prettier than the MTV-like dreck most CCM artists play now.

Contemporary Christian music also gives you the opportunity to say things like “Twila Paris could kick Sandy Patty’s butt any day of the week.” :wink:

Because the rest of us don’t work for music companies like he does! :slight_smile:

Okay, a subject I can sink my fangs into!

Contemporary Christian music has become big business now that point of sale counting by Soundscan has been included in Christian book stores and the like. It was always there, but like the mainstream failed to recognize country’s impact on sales until Soundscan showed that Garth Brooks, et al were indeed superstars, so it went with CCM.

As for the diversity of said music, it makes sense that it would be so. And in fact, it’s part of CCM’s PROBLEM that this is the case.

To wit - Most CCM is derivitive of pop music in other genres, and often, like any photocopy, failing to distinguish itself as being a particularly GOOD representation of that genre.

Since music has become so fragmented, with underground genres leaping into the mainstream (like punk) and sub-genres reaching astronomical numbers (Industrial Metallic Electronica is now a sub-genre with devotees, believe it or not), it’s not surprising to see CCM react to that as it reacted to pop music all along.

Case in point - Back in the day, you had a slew of mellow soft rock crooners, a few supposed divas (Amy Grant), and, er, Stryper - The token “metal” band. Well, there were quite a few lesser known Christian metal bands - Bloodgood, Vengeance Rising, The Brood - but you know what I mean.

So there are Christian punk bands (MXPX), Christian electronica, Christian swipes on the Korn aesthetic. There is no end.

And, like before, most all of them are not as good as the secular bands that inspired them.

There ARE a few bands that I think are not bad. I like Jars Of Clay, for example. And, showing my age, I still have To Hell With The Devil on vinyl! As well as a lot of relics on tape that I dubbed from my Christian girlfriend’s brother back in High School.

SPIN did a nice article on the phenomenon a year or so back, if I recall correctly.

The funny thiing about the movement among the more aggressive youth is whether or not to slam and crowd surf. Some find it an abomination to be frowned upon, others a release that Jesus would do.

I guess if Jesus walked on water, why not a few heads in the Pit! :slight_smile:

Yer pal,

http://weeklywire.com/ww/11-10-97/knox_feat.html … it’s mainly about the “WWJD?” paraphernalia phenomenon, but it has a section in it about the growth of the Xian music industry in this decade, too.

On a lighter note, The Onion ( www.theonion.com ) once had an article entitled “Area Christian Rock Group Denies Kicking Ass”, but they didn’t save the article in their archives.

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

All the music out there is up for interpretation. Any music, based on you interpretation of couse, can be spiritual. Whatever it means to you. It has nothing to do with the genre. I can find more meaning in some punk than in CCM. CCM is not a genre, it’s a lyrical catagory.

Whenever I detect that music is trying to preach to me on any subject, I instantly cannot stand it.

I’m not 100 percent sure why. Probably because I’m not looking for lifestyle advice from music, only pleasant and/or stimulating sound.

If the music doesn’t come first, it probably isn’t going to be very good.

There is some great, phenomenal religious music out there. Gospel, gospel blues, etc. Listen to Elvis singing “How Great Thou Art.” Or some of the religious music played by people like B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, etc. R&B has strong roots in gospel and 19th century spiritual music.

But Contemporary Christian music as a category is pretty lame. The way I see it, if the songs are that great they’ll cross over into the mainstream and I won’t have to dig them out of Christian Bookstores.

As soon as I saw the thread title, I could hear Larry Norman (the great-granddaddy of all Christian rockers) yelling it in my memory. Thanks, Mike…now I’ll be listening to that for the rest of the night. Larry had all sorts of snazzy little takes like that: “He’s the Rock that doesn’t roll”; “Jesus is the Rock and He rolled my blues away”, “My feet are on the Rock and my name is on the roll”, and so on. The song in question dates from about 1971, and part of the lyrics are hilarious:

“They said to cut my hair, they’re driving me insane;
I grew it out long to make room for my brain.
But sometimes people don’t understand----
What’s a good boy doing in a rock and roll band?
Jesus told the truth, and Jesus showed the way,
There’s one more thing I’d like to say;
They nailed Him to the cross, and they laid Him in the ground,
But they should’ve known you can’t keep a good man down.
There’s nothing wrong with playing blues licks!
Well, if you got a reason, tell me to my face: Why should the devil have all the good music?
I’ve been filled, I feel okay,
Because Jesus is the Rock and He rolled my blues away.”

Ah, memories!

I haven’t been heavily into the CCM scene for about 15 years now, but at one time, I really kept up with the charts and had quite a collection. I recall my faves were Petra, Don Francisco, Keith Green (a raving anti-Catholic----forgive him, Father, he knew not what he did), Silverwind, Rick Cua, Dallas Holm, and White Heart. I also liked some of the stuff by Servant, Rez Band, DeGarmo and Key, and some others.

I think that Satan has a point concerning the Christian copying of secular bands styles; however, so what? That’s been going on for approximately seven hundred years or longer. Case in point: a very nice “traditional” hymn that goes,

“We praise Thee, O God,
Our Redeemer, Creator;
In grateful devotion
Our tribute we bring…”

Which was actually Christianized lyrics to a bar-song popular in English pubs at the time:

“I once met a girl
And her name was Matilda;
She hugged like a bear
And she looked like one, too…”

I think another reason that a lot of these Christian bands never go anywhere is due to the fact that many of them feel that their job is a ministry, rather than a way to make wads of money; the message is more important than the success. Plus, this also accounts for the number of personnel changes in some of these bands; one or another of them is always being “called” to some other area of service, and the band disintegrates.

Ah, well. I don’t listen to much CCM any more these days—I don’t even know who most of them are. But if I had my way, I’d love to own every album Larry Norman ever put out; he started out as a backup player for the Rolling Stones, and Mick Jagger’s influence is in a lot of Larry’s tunes. Plus, the asides he put into his records were a riot; speaking of Jesus Christ Superstar in a tune called “Reader’s Digest”, he said, “Dear John; who’s more popular now? I’ve been listening to Paul’s records----I think he really is dead!” (In reference, of course, to John Lennon’s comment about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus, and the "Paul is dead"marketing ploy they used somewhat later. Absolutely hlarious. Unfortunately, his records are practically impossible to find any more, and if you do find them, they cost an arm and a leg. Ah, well.

Christian contemporay music has always bothered me because it seems to me that the best music ever produced in America and possibly the world–gospel-- is explicitly Christian, but much of the Christian community has rejected it in favor of what Satan so aptly termed poor “photocopies” of what seems to me to be already insipid pop music. I guess the idea was always to try and appeal to the young folks, but it still seems to me that if Mahalia Jackson can’t convince you of the power and glory of God, what chance does Amy Grant have?

The true test:

Dr. J

I’m a Christian who tends to listen to a fair amount of CCM. I’m not fond of some of the blander music or lyrics, preferring some that show more creativity on the part of the performer or composer or lyricist (or more than one of the above). On the other hand, my taste in music runs more towards pop music than it does towards rock or alternative or various other varities. I’ve known people who chose what to listen to by whether it was “Xian” or not. I think that is really stupid because there are some secular albums with great Xian messages (“Les Mis” comes to mind) and there are some “Xian” groups that aren’t very “Xian”. (Some of this is because CCM has become big business and there are labels which only require that one or more band members be Xian, which may not mean they have lyrics that appeal to my Xian friends). I tend not to listen to the radio a lot because I think the lyrics on a popular music station would offend me. But, I would have to admit that I listen to so little contemporary popular music that this perception might be wrong. (I have been known to listen more to Oldies stations). Some of the CCM that my brother likes I can’t see why it matters whether its “Xian” or not, because one can not understand any of the lyrics anyway. I like songs I can sing along to.

Strangely enough, I don’t listen to much overtly Christian music. I enjoy the occasional religious classical piece, and when something with religious overtones makes it into normal airplay, I usually find it enjoyable.

But my experience both in rural New York and in North Carolina is that, barring concerts, clubs, and such, which we almost never attend, most Christian music (contemporary or not) is played on radio stations that allege themselves Christian. This would be OK if it were so. But their aired attitude generally resembles the quote in Satan’s OP on the thread that he and Jodih had that “discussion” about his alleged views on. I.e., you must be a Biblical literalist, Catholics worship bread and the Virgin Mary not God, Mormons aren’t Christian, Fred Phelps is too kind to homosexuals, and other “Christian” sentiments – the kind that give the term a foul name.

Let me be clear about something - Name any Christian Contemporary artist, and I can name an artist in the same genre (or even sub-genre) that was a) first and b) better.

Yer pal,

I have to go with Satan on this one (wow, never thought I’d say that out loud…)

The last great, original xian musician was J.S. Bach, IMHO.

I think a large part of the reason CCM is so far below musical par is the basic inspiration of creativity. Those who are deeply driven have a great deal of emotional power to harness. There are very few driven chistians today. Perhaps this will change, but right now is a very uninspired era in the timeline of Christianity. The Church is becoming the bastion of the boring, the meek, and the desperate. Not very inspirational qualities to draw on.

I think some of that good ol’ fashioned christian persecution is in order. Stir things up and give the cream a chance to rise. I’ve done the math - for every 30,000 Christians oppressed, we should get one trulyInspirational song!

Hell is Other People.

One problem with CCM is that the lyrical “space” is so small. Pretty soon all the songs sound pretty much alike. (I think straight pop has the same problem.)

And then there are the abominations I have heard called “Jesus is my girlfriend” songs. The only way to tell that these songs are Christian is that “Jesus” or “Lord” are thrown in at the chorus.

Of course there are some great novelty songs. Currently on the (only!) local CCM station in LA, there is a song that posits what different cartoon characters would sound like as Christians. It is a clever idea, but I think it wasn’t carried out as well as it could.

As for naming artists in CCM: Tonio K and Steve Taylor have few peers in satiricism and sarcasm. 8^) Of course, it helps that modern christianity has so much to be satirical about!

I think most of the better bands are on the fringes of CCM, where there is some not-so overt Christian lyrical content. One such band is Dream Theater, not every song is about Jesus, but a few songs definitely have Christian overtones. Other bands: Creed(mentioned already), Saviour Machine, Galactic Cowboys, Impelliteri, Tourniquet, Veni Domine, etc.