christian rock doesn’t

September 21, 2008

When I think of Christian music, I am hard pressed to find the good qualities behind it justify its musical quality. I’m not talking about music by bands who are Christian or could be seen as Christian, such as Collective Soul, a band I like a good deal. I’m also not talking about Christian bands who’s topics are not always praise-oriented but certainly are sold in the market, such as DC Talk, Newsboys, etc. More can found on bands in those two groups here.

However, when it comes to praise and worship groups, the musical creativity and inventiveness goes out the window. Back in the early 90s, when Christian rock started to take the form more similar to what it is today, the music was fairly well constructed, and possibly even innovated.

Our God is an Awesome God
Lord I Life Your Name on High
I Can Only Imagine
Take My Life

Of these songs, I would have to say that Higher is probably the most inventive of the songs here, mostly because it touches on the least overt imagery and lyrics, and also, the music itself is just more intricate, with more individual notes in the melody played on the lead guitar. The others are very predictable (trust me) and at least Creed uses some melodic figures that don’t require you just wag your arm over the whole guitar. You have no idea how much it hurts me to pull Creed up on the pedestal here.

Now, let’s be honest. The reason I don’t like Christian music cause I’m not Christian and there is no message there for me. In fact, I often stop listening to a band when I hear Christian overtones in their songs, but that’s just me.

However, I will be hold up Evanescence over all the others for being a band that uses Christian overtones, doesn’t rely on the Christian market, and is still creative and evocative with their music. Collective Soul is another band, and I’d even say that DC Talk and Jars of Clay used to be pretty good bands.

I think probably the one obvious difference between genre and non-genre Christian bands and praise bands lies in how they go about evoking emotion. Genre and non-genre bands just write the music and try to sell the records. Praise bands try to create a response. It’s a bit self-serving.



  1. There’s usually an inciting incident for your blogs. I’m curious, what inspired this one?

  2. This weekend my good agnostic friend was out here to celebrate John’s b-day. I put my iPod on the speakers and searched for some good wake up music. I put on The Benjamin Gate, a Christian band. She immediately barks at me that it’s a Christian band, so I turn it to Queen. The next song that shuffles on after that is another Christian band, The Frantics (they are no more) and she was bobbing around to it, saying how much she loved it. Then I said who they were and she just shrugged and said she still liked them.

  3. I think the level of overtness plays into things.

    That said, I don’t know if I have any particular incident surrounding this bit. However, I will say that I did hear about how the song Healer originated from a man who swindled his congregation for money, claiming he had cancer. He did this for two years.

  4. Just so you know, I chuckled when I read that. Some people.

  5. I really like relient K. The reason is I find that they do have praise music but they relate to the every day. It’s not “I love God because he is the best,” it’s I love God because I mess up all the time and He can Fix me. I find the music that “require you just wag your arm over the whole guitar” is often rediculus. And though I feel bad I laugh and snort at it.

  6. I tend to tune away from overtly “Christian” music. It is preaching, and I don’t do preaching. I will never understand the need religionists have to try to get everybody to believe what they do (I’d guess it is either insecurity, or a desire to increase the “offering”). That much altruism? I don’t buy it.

    I also don’t like overt lyrics much. Cannot listen to Graham Nash.

    Came here via mrschili.


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