Praise "Music"


#1

For everyone I'm about to offend...I apologize in advance. No pitchforks and torches please.

Now...on with the post.

It would be nice every now and then to be able to listen to music (not necessarily hymns or chant) with a Christian theme that was actually worth listening to. Some of my friends play praise "music" in their cars, and some restaurants play the stuff on Sundays. I've tried (honest) to listen to praise or contemporary Christian "music" myself on occasion. I put quotation marks around the word "music" for a reason. Technically, I suppose, the stuff is music. But, 99% of it that I've listened to is really gag inducingly bad.

Admittedly, the other 1% is good. The Doobie Brothers did a good cover of "Jesus is Just Alright" back in the day. Joan Baez has done some good gospel covers. Elvis (obviously) had some excellent gospel albums. Los Lobos has some good Christian themed stuff. So does Dylan. Some religious Bluegrass tunes are well done. Even some Grateful Dead songs while not being explicitly religious can be Baptized. Other than these notable exceptions (1% or so of what's out there) Christian themed popular music is just horrible. I mean really REALLY bad.

Why do the Rastafarians get to have Bob Marley, while we have to suffer through this garbage?

Any thoughts as to why Christians seem incapable of producing good popular music?

Peace,


#2

I know exactly what you mean! The songs are so "cheesey." Sometimes I hear modern renditions of classics that are okay...but most of time I can't bear it. I'm sorry I don't have an answer for you, but I want to echo your pleading "why??"


#3

[quote="Legal_Eagle, post:1, topic:256824"]
For everyone I'm about to offend...I apologize in advance. No pitchforks and torches please.

...

Any thoughts as to why Christians seem incapable of producing good popular music?

[/quote]

Leaving music suitable for liturgy alone (a debate I'm unwilling to enter into), I'd say these kinds of observations are subjective. "Good" depends on what your personal taste. Lots of people like "popular Christian music," or it wouldn't be popular.

I agree that for me, at least, a lot of this genre lacks the kind of depth and complexity that I'd prefer. But sometimes, it's kind of nice to hear a song where the entire message is more simple and ascribes praise to God.


#4

Starfield is excellent. Tenth Avenue North is really good. I just discovered The Afters and I'm enjoying them. Matt Mahar is also excellent.

Just throwing some out there off the top of my head.


#5

[quote="Legal_Eagle, post:1, topic:256824"]
Why do the Rastafarians get to have Bob Marley, while we have to suffer through this garbage?

[/quote]

Rastafarians would probably say that creativity is one of the reasons Jah gave us the herb. Actually, that might have some bearing on the 1% examples you cited.

But I think we have to ignore Marley - musical genius follows its own rules. However, good music doesn't always rise to the top. What rises to the top is product that has been well-marketed. The actual quality of the music plays a role here, but a lot more of it has to do with the appearance of the band members, clever or attention-getting song titles/lyrics/concepts, pre-existing business relationships, money paid to radio stations/magazines/websites to feature the band.

All through this process people are making decisions, and usually their decisions are risk-averse. The decisionmakers want to avoid wasting money promoting a product that won't sell well, and they want to repeat what has been a tried and true moneymaker for them. So the decisions are often conservative. Being that Christian music fans tend to be more conservative in their tastes than popular music fans, the Christian music industry is that much more conservative in its decisions. The result is that a lot of the music is the same stuff rehashed thrice over, with the occasional injection of watered-down new ideas borrowed from rock or another genre. There is no place in this process for groundbreaking artists.


#6

Someone blogged about this recently:
[LIST]
*]The Problem With Christian Rock Part One
*]The Problem With Christian Rock Part Two
[/LIST]
You may find much in those articles to identify with. :)

I haven't looked to the mainstream venues for musical offerings since grunge replaced glam as the fad of the day. :p

I really like Theocracy. If heavy metal isn't your thing, you may not like them, but I think they offer a great combination of well-crafted songs with intricacy and depth while will offering memorable melodies. Their lyrics are also above average in that they don't make me feel uber-cheesy while singing along to them. :)


#7

[quote="Garyjohn2, post:2, topic:256824"]
The songs are so "cheesey."

[/quote]

Pure Velveeta.


#8

Have you ever tried a station like “Air One”? there’s loads of fun christian music, it’s not all sappy happy clappy.


#9

[quote="929dad, post:3, topic:256824"]
"Good" depends on what your personal taste. Lots of people like "popular Christian music," or it wouldn't be popular.

[/quote]

True. But, since when did popular taste become our barometer for artistic merit? After all, "Madea Goes to Jail" made lots more money that "Maria Full of Grace." That fact certianly does not mean that "Madea" was the better film.


#10

[quote="Melchior, post:4, topic:256824"]
Starfield is excellent. Tenth Avenue North is really good. I just discovered The Afters and I'm enjoying them. Matt Mahar is also excellent.

[/quote]

Thanks for the suggestions.


#11

[quote="Digitonomy, post:5, topic:256824"]
Rastafarians would probably say that creativity is one of the reasons Jah gave us the herb.

[/quote]

Prolly so...Nevertheless, I think the Tuff Gong is Exhibit A for the position that popular religious music can be truly excellent music.

But I think we have to ignore Marley - musical genius follows its own rules.

True.

However, good music doesn't always rise to the top. What rises to the top is product that has been well-marketed. The actual quality of the music plays a role here, but a lot more of it has to do with the appearance of the band members, clever or attention-getting song titles/lyrics/concepts, pre-existing business relationships, money paid to radio stations/magazines/websites to feature the band...There is no place in this process for groundbreaking artists.

Sad.


#12

Can you cite some examples of the praise music that you think is bad or "cheesy"? If others besides the OP would like to chime in on this, that's OK with me.

I like certain contemporary praise artists like Sandy Patti. I don't think her music is cheesy at all. Have you listened to "Via Dolorosa"? Or "Morning Like This"? (These are some of her older hits.)

I'll admit that I don't listen to contemporary Christian music much anymore, mainly because I listen to talk radio when I listen to the radio. So perhaps you are correct about current P and W songs. But I would like to hear/see some examples. Thank you.


#13

[quote="Joe_5859, post:6, topic:256824"]
Someone blogged about this recently

[/quote]

Thanks, I'll read em.

Peace,


#14

[quote="Cat, post:12, topic:256824"]
Can you cite some examples of the praise music that you think is bad or "cheesy"? If others besides the OP would like to chime in on this, that's OK with me.

[/quote]

Pretty much anything I've heard on XM stations like "The Message" or the one just called "Praise." Pretty much anything I've heard at a youth Mass. I know that doesn't narrow it down much. I guess what I don't like is the syrupy sweetness, and the repeated chorus, and the "breathy" vocals, and the lyrics that seem forced. There's no artistry or depth or genuine human experience connected to it.

Compare pretty much any of this stuff to Bob Marley's "Redemption Song," or "Rastaman Live Up" and you'll see what I'm talking about. Even Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody," while not Bob's best lyrics still has a pretty good feel to the melody.

Peace,


#15

I googled The Message, and saw the list of artists that you don't like. I happen to like a lot of that music.

You're in a different place and life and "human experience" than those of us who like this kind of music.

And that's OK.

I hope you will try to understand that those of us who like this kind of music are also in a different place and life and "human experience" than you. Maybe our lives are a little "sweeter" or more "syrupy."

And that's OK, too.

Is it possible for Christians to accept that others have different tastes in music?


#16

[quote="Cat, post:15, topic:256824"]
I googled The Message, and saw the list of artists that you don't like. I happen to like a lot of that music.

[/quote]

Sorry. See my disclaimer on the original post.

You're in a different place and life and "human experience" than those of us who like this kind of music.

So, just for laughs let's do a little test.

Greatful Dead or The Monkees?
The Allman Bros or The Carpenters?
The Cars or Debbie Gibson?
Pink Floyd or Air Supply?
Waylon Jennings or Glenn Campbell?
Hank Williams, Sr or the Everly Bros?
Peter Tosh or UB40?
Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi?

I hope you will try to understand that those of us who like this kind of music are also in a different place and life and "human experience" than you. Maybe our lives are a little "sweeter" or more "syrupy."

And that's OK, too.

Is it possible for Christians to accept that others have different tastes in music?

No! Everyone must be exactly like me!! Bow before my superior taste in music!

Peace,

:D


#17

[quote="Joe_5859, post:6, topic:256824"]

I really like Theocracy. If heavy metal isn't your thing, you may not like them, but I think they offer a great combination of well-crafted songs with intricacy and depth while will offering memorable melodies. Their lyrics are also above average in that they don't make me feel uber-cheesy while singing along to them. :)

[/quote]

Got anything heavier? :D


#18

[quote="Legal_Eagle, post:14, topic:256824"]
Pretty much anything I've heard on XM stations like "The Message" or the one just called "Praise." Pretty much anything I've heard at a youth Mass. I know that doesn't narrow it down much. I guess what I don't like is the syrupy sweetness, and the repeated chorus, and the "breathy" vocals, and the lyrics that seem forced. There's no artistry or depth or genuine human experience connected to it.

Compare pretty much any of this stuff to Bob Marley's "Redemption Song," or "Rastaman Live Up" and you'll see what I'm talking about. Even Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody," while not Bob's best lyrics still has a pretty good feel to the melody.

Peace,

[/quote]

I know a lot of people flee black Gospel like the plague, but there are some awesome groups. Ever heard of Richard Smallwood?


Check out Psalm 8
based on, you guessed it...Psalm 8

And also Total Praise

This song, by another artist is AWESOME and has helped me get through hard times:
For every mountain


#19

[quote="Joe_5859, post:6, topic:256824"]
Someone blogged about this recently:
[LIST]
*]The Problem With Christian Rock Part One
*]The Problem With Christian Rock Part Two
[/LIST]
You may find much in those articles to identify with. :)

[/quote]

Amen.

And don't forget to read this ...
Catholicism: Making Rock Stars Since 36 A.D.


#20

Ooo, this is easy :rolleyes:

Greatful Dead or The Monkees? Greatful Dead
The Allman Bros or The Carpenters? The Allman Bros
The Cars or Debbie Gibson? The Cars
Pink Floyd or Air Supply? Pink Floyd
Waylon Jennings or Glenn Campbell? Can't stand either one
Hank Williams, Sr or the Everly Bros? Ditto Jennings/Campbell
Peter Tosh or UB40? Toss up (not sure why I like some UB40 :blush:)
Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi? Have to admit I actually like Bon Jovi but not qualms on Springsteen either

Did I pass? :thumbsup:

I do know what you mean with praise music, I start to feel viscerally sick when I hear it. It might simply be by taste. Those that are drawn to praise music might just prefer the lighter fair those artist put out. Then again since I'm more likely to listen to Thomas Tallis, Matthias Gascogne or William Byrd maybe I'm not the best judge of contemporary music. :D


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