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Old 07-24-2006, 02:30 AM   #1
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Christian Music Is Sounding The Same

I have been a strong Christian all my life, and I have also listened to Christian music ever since I can remember. At one point in my life, that was ALL I was allowed to listen to. But now, when I turn on a Christian radio station, it all sounds the same. I can't tell Chris Tomlin apart from Matthew West, sometimes, and it bothers me how repetitive the music is sounding. It's boring! I swear that every Christian artist is using the same chords over and over. In fact, my own youth pastor doesn't like much Christian music. (We sang "All Because Of You" during worship, once, and he plays U2 music before service starts over the speakers a lot. My pastor is my idol.)

So can any Christian relate to me here? Sorry if this topic doesn't fit the category, but I'd like some opinions so I don't feel like a heathen. Hahaha...
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Old 07-24-2006, 02:47 AM   #2
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There is nothing wrong with heathens.

But seriously, if the Christian music scene is boring you I suggest you look not to the genre but rather to bands that have Christian faith. Take U2 as the obvious example, U2 isn't Christian rock but they make music that Christians can gage. The problem with Christian rock is that glorifies God, whereas bands that do not fall under the Christian label bring up questions that are healthy for those of faith to think about. I'm sure your pastor and posters that follow could probably tell some of those artists.

Believe me, you're not the first Christian to not like Christian rock. How many Christians are there compared to the number who listen to Christian rock stations? You're not alone.
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Old 07-24-2006, 02:55 AM   #3
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Yeah that's what I've been doing, but I know that my friends from church give me weird looks whenever I tell them that I don't like Christian music. Although, I have absolutely no problem with the music we sing in church.
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Old 07-24-2006, 02:56 AM   #4
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The Christian music industry is THE worse music industry out there. The music industry as a whole sucks, but they are horrible. They seek what sells in the secular world, find bands that sound just like it and then water it down. You can only rewrite "Jesus Loves Me" so many times. They sell the same things secular music does just in a more "conservative" package.

It's pretty much formulated like boy bands...

I was once approached by a Christian label years ago because I knew someone. They heard one song which they considered a Christian rock hit, but they basically said all my other songs would have to be rewritten. There was one song in paticular that was forbidden because it was a song about a girl who had a drug addiction. Long story short, I said no...

I remember a story about one paticular Christian band(can't remember the name now) that got in a lot of trouble because they covered Nirvana's 'All Apologies'...because of the line "everyone is gay".
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Old 07-24-2006, 03:03 AM   #5
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It's a really tough music industry to stay in, too. The only Christian artist that I have 100% respect for is Sarah Kelly. She's not very well known, but I met her a few times, and she was nominated for a Grammy. She has decided to move to more secular music because Christian labels had a problem with her music, I think. (I'm probably completely butchering this story. My apologies.) Anyways, the point is that she was being looked down upon because her music isn't really in-your-face Christian music, but more with religious undertones like some of U2's stuff.

So now I'm sure plenty of people are considering her a "sell-out" or something because of that. It happens all the time in Christian music.
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Old 07-24-2006, 03:05 AM   #6
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I'm all for music with religious undertones and stuff, but outwardly "I love Jesus and I'm a down-home conservative country boy"-type music irks me.

I'm a big fan of that thing called "subtlety".
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Old 07-24-2006, 03:08 AM   #7
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There's a book that I read with a group from my church called Imagine: A Vision For Christians In The Arts. For those of you who are really into that, you should definitely check it out. My pastor and youth leaders were agreeing with the author in that Christian art is a very shallow form of art sometimes because you can only write or paint or sing about certain things or else it's not "Christian" anymore. It's very true. I wish I could describe the book better, but it's better to read it, anyways. I highly recommend it.
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Old 07-24-2006, 03:09 AM   #8
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Don't fall to peer pressure. Differences make us special and in a sense you have a leg up on them. I would say that whenever they give you those looks just tell them that you like Christian music just not the kind they are used to. There is no better defense than appearing to be different. After a little while they will take your challenge and want to know these artists. Thus you will have turned the tables.
Those who stick to labels are most likely to be influenced by peer pressure. Bring your friends into your court.
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Old 07-24-2006, 03:33 AM   #9
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Re: Christian Music Is Sounding The Same

Quote:
Originally posted by LikeNoOneBefore
I have been a strong Christian all my life, and I have also listened to Christian music ever since I can remember. At one point in my life, that was ALL I was allowed to listen to. But now, when I turn on a Christian radio station, it all sounds the same. I can't tell Chris Tomlin apart from Matthew West, sometimes, and it bothers me how repetitive the music is sounding. It's boring! I swear that every Christian artist is using the same chords over and over. In fact, my own youth pastor doesn't like much Christian music. (We sang "All Because Of You" during worship, once, and he plays U2 music before service starts over the speakers a lot. My pastor is my idol.)

So can any Christian relate to me here? Sorry if this topic doesn't fit the category, but I'd like some opinions so I don't feel like a heathen. Hahaha...
I followed a similar path to you in terms of my musical journey. I grew up in a Christian home but during my teens I didn't really listen to much Christian contemporary music. I thought it was cheesy. . .and it was. (Course so was a lot of the "secular" music I was listening to as well, but no one could have told me that). In college my relationship with God really started coming alive and at that same time, a friend of mine introduced me to a whole new breed of Christian music that didn't suck. For a good number of years I listened to Christian music, almost exclusively. Now, in the last few years, I find I'm listening to Christian music less and secular music more, basically for the same reasons you've described.

I think the problem is broader than just the music itself, it's the whole idea of "marketing Christianity" that I find disturbing. It's not just the sounds that are derivative, it's the whole approach. The Christian music industry in many ways seems to be no different than the mainstream music industry. Capitalize on the latest trend and sell as much as you can. Quality and depth is sacrificed for the sake making the Almighty Dollar. What I've found particularly problematic is the "praise and worship" trend. The musical quality is getting worse and worse, the lyrics less and less meaningful as the industry seeks to hustle as much praise and worship product on the market as they can. The selling of worship to me is reminicscent of the moneychangers in the temple.

Another thing that bothers me is that now that it is finally acceptable for Christian artists to "crossover" to the mainstream (back in the day Amy Grant was pilloried for such ambitions), it seems everyone was trying to sound like the latest modern rock band. There just doesn't seem to be much real quality happening in Christian music today. But then again, if you want the truth, I think the mainstream music industry is no better. 90% of what is out there in the mainstream is also cheap, derivative, unoriginal, commercialized crap. What's truly pathetic is that so much of Christian music is aping that rather than trying to aim for a higher artistic standard.

Anway, now that I'm done with my rant, there are some artists in the "Christian market" that I think put out original, high quality music and demonstrate some depth and a willingness to recognize all that goes into life beyond the happy/feel good stuff.
These are artists I'd share with anyone, and not be embarrassed because the music is just good.

Rich Mullins (he died in 1997 and it's getting hard to find his material, but he is my favorite artist, period. The lyrics, the music, everything is bar none. His magnum opus is the 1994 album "A Liturgy, A Legacy, and A Ragamuffin Band")

Mark Heard (he died, in, 1992, I think. Very edgy, very unusual sound and lyrics. Not like anyone else you've ever heard. He's not super-accessible, so I recommend the "Strong Hand of Love: Tribute to Mark Heard" album as a starter).

Burlap to Cashmere (Only had one album out, as far as I know. But they were good. Ignore their most popular and least original song, "Basic Instructions" and enjoy the rest of the album).

Caedmon's Call (They're actually still around. If you like rootsy, acousticy music, this group is for you. My favorite album is "Share the Well" which has some gorgeous East Indian and South American influences).

In general most of the lastest praise and worship stuff doesn't do much for me, but I do like the City on a Hill series. The City on a Hill Christmas album is probably one of my favorite Xmas albums of all time.
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Old 07-24-2006, 03:39 AM   #10
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Maybe the next time you see your friends in church you should bring the Interference forum. We seem to have your back.
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Old 07-24-2006, 05:25 AM   #11
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I remember when I became a Christian, I wasn't too knowledgeable about the variety of the faith (I was 15 at the time and hadn't been exposed to much Christianity in my life beforehand), and my Christian friends were your stereotypical evangelicals who think youth group is the coolest place to hang out ever, WWJD armbands are awesome, the Left Behind books are good literature ... you get the idea. And, of course, they loved CCM and told me I shouldn't listen to secular music. So I gave their CCM bands a try. If only I hadn't been so naive ...

After a few months, I just couldn't take it any longer. I despise CCM. I couldn't stand the tacky, cheesy, repetitive lyrics (especially the Newsboys' attitude of quirky = cool, which just isn't true), and the music itself just felt so dull, lifeless, and unadventurous. It was about this time that I really got into U2 beyond being a casual fan. Songs like Wake Up Dead Man and Acrobat actually rung true, it felt like there was thought and emotion behind them and a real attempt made at lyrical depth and tackling the challenging issues.

Probably the closest I come to listening to Christian music nowadays are the solo albums of Neal Morse, former frontman of progressive rock band Spock's Beard. His solo albums have very obvious Christian themes and are musically exceptional (come on, he's a prog musician, what do you expect?). Oh, and I also enjoy the music of Trouble, an openly Christian band who played, of all things, proto-doom metal. What I'd give to hear some doom metal in a church!
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Old 07-24-2006, 07:38 AM   #12
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Personally I just listen to music I know I'm comfortable listening to, Christian or not.

I have no problem with CCM either - there's some decent stuff out there, although nothing earth-shatteringly good in a musical sense, but if it allows people to have an outlet to express their love and praise for Jesus then that's great.
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Old 07-24-2006, 09:43 AM   #13
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Two words for you: Mute Math.

www.myspace.com/mutemath.

They're Christians who come from the Christian music industry, but they're getting out of it for a variety of reasons. They're incredible. They're going the U2 route as far as mixing their faith with incredible music.

Check them out. If you like U2, you won't be disappointed.
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Old 07-24-2006, 10:45 AM   #14
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Re: Christian Music Is Sounding The Same

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Originally posted by LikeNoOneBefore
I have been a strong Christian all my life, and I have also listened to Christian music ever since I can remember. At one point in my life, that was ALL I was allowed to listen to. But now, when I turn on a Christian radio station, it all sounds the same. I can't tell Chris Tomlin apart from Matthew West, sometimes, and it bothers me how repetitive the music is sounding. It's boring! I swear that every Christian artist is using the same chords over and over. In fact, my own youth pastor doesn't like much Christian music. (We sang "All Because Of You" during worship, once, and he plays U2 music before service starts over the speakers a lot. My pastor is my idol.)

So can any Christian relate to me here? Sorry if this topic doesn't fit the category, but I'd like some opinions so I don't feel like a heathen. Hahaha...
Good thread - LikeNoOneBefore! I've felt the same way for years. A lot of contemporary Christian music has gotten so homogenized and repetitive that it IS boring (and I am all for any type of music in church). Weird thing about it, for some reason churches that have contemporary music, a lot of times sing the same repetitive songs over & over again. Don't think they get the idea of "overplay".

Your pastor sounds like a very good one though. Sounds like he really understands!

(<---will try out some of the artists mentioned here!! )
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Old 07-24-2006, 10:57 AM   #15
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One great christian band is Delerious.

They sound a lot like U2 and mimic U2 on a variety of levels, ie, drastically changing their music style. The music and lyrics are very creative and honest.

I also like a christian band called Tree 63.

But that's about it. I grew up on cheesy christian bands like Petra, Carmen, and others. I'm happy about it because it makes me appreciate U2 that much more.


The main problem with christian music is that it's not being honest. It can be very fake. Music came from our ancestors who would play music in times of ancient celebration (ie, a wedding). Or, our ancestors would play music in times of sorrow. Or, they would play in praise of God. Today's christian music only plays music in praise of God and forgets the other historical artistic expressions.
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