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Old 05-03-2002, 09:03 AM   #1
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late night musings about Christian bands breaking into secular ground

A friend was telling me how Christians shouldn't criticise Christian bands for their skills but concentrate on the message. I'm not sure whether to agree or disagree with that.

When I hear a Christian band played in the mainstream and marketed to the mainstream (as opposed to exclusively Christian audiences), I immediately judge them for their musical skills as well. I don't ignore the message, but because the songs are put out into the secular industry, they become just like any other music that's out there, and I feel that gives me a right to critique the skill as well. Is that wrong, do you think?

For instance, dyou know the band Lifehouse? At first, I didn't know they were Christian. I heard their famous single 'I'm falling more in love with you' (or something like that, I forget) and remember thinking "Ugh, what an awfully boring riff, what a lousy singer, what a totally uninspired chord progression".

Another thing is I think that it's harder for Christian bands to break into the secular scene because of their message and the general prejudice against bands who try to 'sell' Christianity. This is why Christian bands operating in the secular industry have to be stunning in their musical deliveries, a good example being Jars of Clay whose guitarists are respected. Why do I think this? Because if the secular crowd doesn't care for the message, the only thing to draw them in is the musical skills. There are people who would buy a Jars of Clay album because the music is Good. Obviously they wouldn't buy it for the message. Therefore, I think a Christian band with great musicianship could be a powerful tool for evangelising to music lovers.

Hey, sorry that I wasn't very articulate and coherent. I typed all this in a rush to get everything out.

foray
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Old 05-03-2002, 10:04 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally posted by foray:

For instance, dyou know the band Lifehouse? At first, I didn't know they were Christian. I heard their famous single 'I'm falling more in love with you' (or something like that, I forget) and remember thinking "Ugh, what an awfully boring riff, what a lousy singer, what a totally uninspired chord progression".
That's a great cd.

Bands should always be judged on their musical ability no matter what genre. I don't think the fact that some bands are simply marketed toward Christians makes them exempt.


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Old 05-03-2002, 10:30 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Se7en:
That's a great cd.
Actually, I thought it was a crap CD. But to each his/her own.

I've had other Christians tell me that we should be kind to our fellow Christian artists and support their music even if it is crap because it "has a good message". I disagree. As Christians we are supposed to be doing all things with the utmost of our abilities and to produce excellent things, not mediocre ones. Look at the instructions for building the Tabernacle or the Temple. They didn't get any person to do the woodworking or the goldwork, they got those with the talent to do so and then they went about doing a superior job. I think we're called to a higher standard in all aspects of our life be it our relationships, our hobbies, our jobs, or our talents. Churning out lazy music that has a "good message" (which in most cases is just a re-hashed collection of Christianese phrases of absolutely no value to someone outside the community) is not that honoring to God. Anyways, that's my 100 rupiah.
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Old 05-03-2002, 12:33 PM   #4
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My view on CCM and Christian bands in general has always been that not only should Christian bands be as good as those in the mainstream, they should in fact be superior. As many times as music is mentioned in the Bible Christians should be THE top musicians. But instead of asking for that, we settle for sub-par songs/albums, and the artists who are making amazing songs are ignored or worse yet, derided because they won't fit in the mold. They talk about real life issues like doubt and hurt and pain and "Where are you God"...

In any case, a positive message is no reason to accept crap work. And in many cases the music marketed as "Christian" doesn't have anything specifically Christian to it. It may be moral but more times than not it simply gives feel-good vibes. So artists claim they are producing Christian music and therefore should be given some leeway when in fact, they are just making happy music. And they wonder why they aren't accepted in the mainstream.
Did that make any sense?

I will say there are some awesome Christian bands out there who should be on any radio station. Jars of Clay for example. Not only do they have the technical skill on their records, their live shows are amazing. Ten times better than the CD's. They also tour with some great artists (just saw them Jennifer Knapp, who should be fairly big in rock herself). In the pop end the label Rocketown is pretty good at signing good musicians.

...

/rant
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Old 05-03-2002, 09:47 PM   #5
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Uh... not much to say except

The Julian Theory Rocks...

Try "If I Told You Was Killing Me"
http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/210/...na_theory.html

What lyrics!!!!!!!!!

Here is a band that's concentrating on music in it's true art form, not going for the CCM formula.

Tooth and Nail Records is the place to find great music by Christian artists, not just Christian Music.

Mark
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Old 05-04-2002, 06:53 PM   #6
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I've never been a huge fan of Christian music, a lot of it is junk, but a friend wanted to play some Ten Shekel Shirt in our praise band so I downloaded some tracks. I really liked about 4 or 5 of the songs so I ended up ordering the cd. I don't really know if any of the material is cliched in Christian genre but some of the songs really moved me. I was especially impressed with Great.

So yeah, Ten Shekel Shirt-- decent stuff in my opinion.

I also ordered the latest Passion cd as well as the Circadian Rhythm disc. I was ordering my 12 free cds from Columbia house and these made the cut. CR only because of the U2 cover ...I hope the rest is bearable. I've heard both Kindness and Make A Joyful Noise on the Passion cd. Two of my most favorite P&W style songs ever.

*Looking back, I wonder if this post has any relevance to the topic whatsoever. Oh well.

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[This message has been edited by Se7en (edited 05-04-2002).]
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Old 05-05-2002, 10:03 PM   #7
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Just to throw in my opinion, I LOVE Lifehouse's No Name Face. It's a beautiful album, and I really connect with it musically as well as lyrically, but then again, I am no musician, so I simply go for something that appeals to my senses, whether it is good or not.

Fors, of course Christian bands can be judged on their music if they're mainstream, and I think they should be. It's just to some people, like myself, I will always give them more of a listen because I really admire people who go out there and try to get God through to the masses. Not that it doesn't happen in non-Christian music, it's just more blatant in Christian music.

oh yeah, and NEVER take a cheap shot at Lifehouse again or I will seriously hurt you!

that's my rambling, 'night I'm off to bed
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