Music Monday

Can Christian music compare with mainstream music?

To really answer that question, we need to define Christian music and how it gets labeled as such…

What makes Christian music “Christian”? Is it the lyrics themselves or the artists portraying them – see Christmas music on a Christian based station. Some of it contains no semblance of Christianity, but because popular “Christian” artists sing them, it gets a ton of play. On the other hand, take U2 or Bob Dylan. Their lyrics contain many overtures of Christianity, forgiveness, sin, and longing – as do their lifestyles – but they never get played because they don’t fit the mold…

There must be some test, because Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Daughtry, and a few others have crossed that divide with play on Christian stations…

For quite a while, Christian musicians have been their own worst enemy. Occasionally someone like Rich Mullins will come around, but most of Christian music’s wrath is self-imposed…

Especially with artists producing cheesy songs & videos – see Carman

And others essentially singing covers of other artists under the guise of “worship albums” – see Philips, Craig, & Dean

It seems that either the artists are so focused on being lyrically correct that they were not free to make good music or they were never exposed to good music in the first place…

I’m not saying the music has been bad, it’s just not to the same standards as other music. Here’s an example – some of the best “Christian” music was recorded by non-Christian artists – Elvis Pressley, Van Morrison, Charlie Daniels, U2, Lifehouse, etc…

The good news is the music industry is changing across the board. The way music is being made, marketed, distributed, and listened to is in flux. The idea of genres appears to be going out the window, and I think this is a good thing. This is allowing artists with Christian influences to pursue music in a true way – and the music is infinitely times better…

Here are a few examples of artists or bands that have strong Christian influences and are making great music – and ultimately reaching more people with the Gospel than those solely focused on “Christian” music…

Sufjan Stevens
The Avett Brothers
The Civil Wars
Mumford & Sons
The Decemberists
Need to breathe
Arcade Fire
Rocket Summer

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