Friday, January 18, 2008

It's the Devil's Music!

I’m sure you were all as excited as I was when you heard about Time Life’s offer. Secular music is just too… rockin. I want to listen to music in which art takes a back seat to the message of Christ.

But seriously, why is Christian music so bad?

I’m as guilty as the next guy for liking that one Jars of Clay song in high school. (I know, I'm sorry!) And I’m still not sure if Collective Soul is a Christian band. You can't throw a rock without hitting a church in most of the Midwest, so it was kind of hard to avoid the songs. But by and large the vast collection of Christian music is complete shit. Why?

Imma get philosophical on yer ass.

Art of any kind is concerned with both form (or style) and content (or subject). Both are important in every work of art, but not equally so. Depending on the medium, form or subject takes the lead.

In writing, content is king. Even if you don’t like the voice of the author, you can enjoy a well-designed and communicated story. In painting, form is queen. Beauty is in how the apple is depicted, not in the fact that it’s an apple.

Music is closer to painting than writing in this sense. Most people who like music (but aren’t obsessed with it) can tell you that they like a song, but they probably can’t tell you what it is about. I’m a little backwards in this sense, since I can usually tell you exactly what a song is about after I’ve heard it twice.

My idiosyncrasies aside, one need only point to classical or instrumental music to plainly illustrate that form is most important in music. Even when there are vocals, the singer can often-times sing complete nonsense as long as he or she sings it beautifully.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see why Christian music is bad. It puts the message before the form. It puts the Christian before the Music… so much so that the style must be tagged on as in “Christian Rock” or “Christian Blues” (does such a thing exist?). As far as I know, Christian music is the only genre that does this. “Emo” comes close, but is so ill defined as to be almost meaningless.

Plenty of secular bands write songs with Christian symbolism. It’s hard to find an album without at least one mention of angels, demons, god, etc. But this isn’t the focus. The focus is on the music, not the secularism. That’s a strange term, by the way… secular music. We don’t have a term for music that’s not about rainbows, why have one for music that’s not about Jesus?

Despite being inferior musically almost by definition, Christian bands have a huge following. How did that happen? Let’s ignore the people who actually believe secular music is a conduit for Satan’s will as a definite minority of listeners. What do Christian music fans get out of listening?

Simply put, they get affirmation.

And don’t we all love that?

I’m gonna go listen to "Weird Fishes" now. I wonder what that affirms for me.

Everybody leaves if they get the chance. And this is my chance.

5 comments:

SonicRyan said...

Damn fucking hell. This was an excellent piece, and you're making me look bad.

The Moon said...

"We don’t have a term for music that’s not about rainbows, why have one for music that’s not about Jesus?"

I L-O-V-E this quote! HaHaHaHaHa

Girlfriend said...

Beautiful.

Femme Fatale said...

I'm still trying to find out if Sufjan Stevens is a "Christian artist"? Certainly he is Christian and an artist, and he discusses religion in his music, but he also says things like, "All the glory that the Lord has made...and the complications when I see his face...All the glory when he took our place... but he took my shoulders and he shook my face... and he takes and he takes and he takes."

Oh well. Don't all those hard-core religious people say that doubt is the first ingredient for a strong faith? Sure it is...

Hackworth Artifex said...

Hmm, I was more talking about bands that actively market themselves as "Christian Rock" (or what have you) to try and cash in on an instant fan base.

I dunno anything about Sufjan, but he sounds like a musician that happens to be Christian and not a "Christian Recording Artist".