Okay, folks, this is something that’s been bothering me for a long time, and it’s really time it got said.
Folks, it’s not the 1980s anymore, Carman is no longer a prominent figure, and Christian music, is, overall, just as good as secular music, in terms of musical and lyrical quality (I am not qualified to speak of vocal ability).
Here’s what I mean. I have listened, due to working in a warehouse, to three different local radio stations that spew forth secular music. I have also listened, due to desiring background noise that isn’t going to cause me to freak out, to the local Christian music station.
In terms of lyrical and musical quality, I really cannot tell the difference, except the classic rock songs sometimes have a better awareness of the state of the world we live in, as opposed to the world to come. The subject matter for both is extremely derivative–dear rock bands and pop artists, we have enough songs about having sex and engaging in bad relationships–while Christian artists really need some more fire and brimstone–encouragement is good, but most people need a kick in the pants every now and then. The lyrics are often banal, with overly repeated choruses, and the mindset is often adolescent, although at least the Christian artists can act like mature adults, if not think like them. And don’t even get me started on secular music’s view of women…
Now, here’s the the thing. A lot of the people I know who snub “Contemporary Christian Music” do so, I think, at least partially on theological grounds and the notion that we’re supposed to hold ourselves to higher standards. I understand both of these notions, having had such opinions myself about many “Christian” bands. There’s also the issue of familiarity–most of us are familiar with the CCM scene, and as such we see its foibles and troubles and stupidity, therefore we criticize it, because we can best criticize what we see. However, we also end up being exposed, as a rule, to those secular artists who don’t play to the lowest common denominator, mostly because those are the ones who actually require an introduction, thereby getting a skewed view of the relative quality of Christian vs. secular music.
However, I honestly think that, partially, the reasoning is that they want to be taken seriously by their secular peers, and their peers hold Christian music in contempt, a contempt that is, at best, rooted in stereotypes from the 1980s and 1990s, and at worst merely an artifact of cultural sneering at music that doesn’t play by the same hedonistic, hierarchy-is-the-worst-thing-ever, rules. I understand this as well, but it’s really not a good reason to snub something.
(Ed. note: Don’t even get me started on “preachiness.” Stellar Kart at its worst has nothing on Hozier.)
And maybe I’m getting a skewed view because I’m listening to the radio, and I would hope that no one would take this to be some kind of claim that all non-CCM is bad and all CCM is good–as stated, the local Christian station is there mostly because my one real alternative is NPR, and who wants to listen to National Peoples’ Radio all day long?
That was a joke.
Anyway, just…think through why you don’t like stuff, and try to be objective about it. Be rational, don’t rationalize. I’ll try to do the same myself.
And we’ll be better for it.
‘Til next time,
Lowell Van Ness