Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sad State of Contemporary Christian Music

I never listen to the stuff myself and now I know why. A couple of days ago I was performing the parental duty of attending my daughter's dance recital. (For the record, she did just great.) The studio, of course trotted out performances from every class, and therefore included two numbers from their 'worship dance' offerings. Yes, unless you didn't know because you don't attend such a church, worship dance is its own art form-- sort of drawing on a lot of different styles, inoffensive, intended to be uplifting, etc. They actually, by and large, achieve their goal.

But what I noticed was the songs to which they danced. You see, I do that stuff, too. I sing, I lead worship in church and I even write worship songs. And I was frankly turned off by what I heard. One song expressed that what we can really offer God is not much except ourselves (My Surrender - Steven Curtis Chapman) a sentiment that I agree with, even though the lyrics were not anything I could sing with integrity and the tune was mediocre at best. OK, if it means something to you. But then the production got me. I'm sorry, your real purpose shouts too loud and drowns out your apparent humility. The production was highly crafted to appeal to a certain kind of church audience for one purpose only. To sell.

The other song (You Are for Me - Kari Jobe) had the same effect on me. Song is all about God's faithfulness in the face of our weakness. Nice sentiment. Over-produced to sell.

Makes me wonder if I ever want to write another song myself. Is this what happens to 'successful' songwriters? Crappy, mediocre, essentially dishonest songs prepackaged for the Christian consumer -- because now that I make a living at it, it's just business? Hmm.

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