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Why Does Contemporary Christian Music Suck?


sethosayher
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Anyone who has been raised in a modern evangelical church knows at least a couple dozen christian rock/contemporary worship songs. Am I the only one who HATED these songs even as a young believer? The lyrics would always be so repetitive and uninspired. Every song mentions Jesus or God by name. Metaphor and subtlety would be rare, and poorly implemented when present.

 

I refuse to believe that being a Christian entails a loss of artistic talent, despite my atheism. After all...I love Bach and Handel and loads of classical masses. I enjoy old school hymns. I love the energy and vigor of Gospel music. So why does contemporary christian sound so...generic, empty to me? Could it because of my age? I mean, I enjoy plenty of contemporary hip-hop, R&B, pop and house music, so I don't know if that explanation makes sense.

 

What is it about the evangelical subculture that is so allergic to good music?

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Xtian music is worse than elevator music. i used to go to a mental health clinic and the only channel the stereo in the waiting room was set to, was the religious music channel. I asked every time for other music, country, classical Saipan, who cares, anything but Xtian music? I completely dislike xtian music groups who felt a need to imitate whatever the newest pagan singer or gothic vampire in the secular music world. Imitation is flattery or so I've heard. I hope I never give an xtian a reason to sing a hymn. Some of the most self appointed bunch of hypocrites for Jesus are in music, I can imagine some have a ministry serving those who are into Satan's heavy metal. A christian without a cause is a work of Satan, the xtian is obviously not trying harder. When Amy Grant left Christian pop after marrying Vince Gill, I never saw so many jaws pop open at the news, she had left religious music fer that there outside world of entertainment, the Devil's playground.

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What is it about the evangelical subculture that is so allergic to good music?

Good music comes from the heart, it brings out the humanity. Evangelicals see humanity as evil. They aren't allowed to celebrate anything human. Uninspired, boring environments make for uninspired, boring music. The music is their reflection.

 

Also you can make money by just playing the same crap as everyone else. It's all about making money, Christian or secular. The record companies release what makes money, they don't take chances on fresh ideas like they used to, they follow a set formula for the most profits. Most people are fine with it because it's produced for the masses.

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because they're not allowed to feel what real emotions and life really are like. They only have the plastic humanity which is a poor substitute for real experience.

 

Even old gospel music lacked the depth of a lot of "secular music" One of the things that really irritated me about christianity in my youth is how they were so unable to cope or empathize with deep emotions. This was repulsive and hollow, at least that's how I felt about it. Ultimately I felt like that was why I didn't feel much regret for leaving people I'd known for years, there was no real connection, only the commonality of "loving Jesus"

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Does anyone know DC Talk? I used to have their album "Jesus Freak". OMG what a ridiculous band! They were trying hard to copy whoever was cool in the secular world. They started out with some shitty "hip-hop":

 

 

Then came Nirvana and grunde and they started to look like Kurt Cobain and they changed their music style as well:

 

dctalk.jpg

 

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So why does contemporary christian sound so...generic, empty to me?

Considering that the bible is the source of "inspiration" for ccm, how could it NOT be empty and generic?

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Christian music used to be great (Handel's Messiah for example) and then it was still very good (IMO) when the old Negro Spirituals came into vogue. Smarmy lyrics aside, I don't think most contemporary Christian music is really much worse than most pop music.

 

Of course, I think music ended with the Beatles, so don't go by me.

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There's only so many ways to sing "gawd is so freakin' wonderful."

 

This. It's pretty much been said in one way or another by everyone else but to put it another way, Christian music is stuck inside a box. It cannot go outside the box otherwise many would consider it blasphemous. Therefore it only has so much material inside the box to work with.

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There's actually some decent Christian bands out there, they're just under the radar because they don't make the mass appeal stuff you don't hear on the radio, much like with secular music. At least that's what I heard/remember. Someone gave me a Grammatrain live cd and I didn't think it was half bad. Luxury and Starflyer 59 you'd never think were Christian after giving it a casual listen.

 

With CCM there's 'regular' music and there's 'worship' music, which is the ultra repetitive, overly earnest bedwetter stuff probably most of us are familiar with. The former always seemed kind of forced to me.

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I blame the "Jesus loves you, be happy all the time!" bullshit. All the worship music is supposed to be uplifting and... worshipful, whatever that means. So it's mostly major key fluff. Christians aren't allowed to feel sad, or angry, or anything other than warm fuzzy. You're not allowed to talk about your struggles without a happy ending about how Jesus makes it all better.

 

I will grudgingly admit that this might make some sense for communal singing. I tend to pick music to listen to based on my mood; if I'm angry I'll let angry music express it for me, if I'm sad I'll listen to something sad, etc. Not everyone in the congregation will have the same emotional needs at the same time, so I guess bland music guarantees that no one ends up feeling particularly worse from the music. But that doesn't excuse the radio stations who only play music with neutral emotions. One local one I blame their blandness on their "family-friendly" marketing strategy. Seems like little kids are supposed to be so sheltered that they don't know there's anything out there in the evil world to feel emotional about.

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I blame the "Jesus loves you, be happy all the time!" bullshit. All the worship music is supposed to be uplifting and... worshipful, whatever that means. So it's mostly major key fluff. Christians aren't allowed to feel sad, or angry, or anything other than warm fuzzy. You're not allowed to talk about your struggles without a happy ending about how Jesus makes it all better.

 

They're taught that the human heart is wicked and evil. So basically they're kind of heartless and the music reflects that emptiness of human emotion.

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I blame the "Jesus loves you, be happy all the time!" bullshit. All the worship music is supposed to be uplifting and... worshipful, whatever that means. So it's mostly major key fluff. Christians aren't allowed to feel sad, or angry, or anything other than warm fuzzy. You're not allowed to talk about your struggles without a happy ending about how Jesus makes it all better.

 

I know what you mean. A lot of contemporary Christian music these days is mostly "Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!" bullshit. The rest of it sounds like a Christianized version of that infamous Rhianna and Eminem song Love the Way You Lie in their masochism, but it's saying "Jeebus! I love the way it hurts!" in those Christian songs.

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becuase their so empty and devoide of any meaning exept JEBUS

 

i do like Anberlin but thats the only one but i dont know if you could really even clasify them as a christian band.

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I'll agree with Florduh in that the classical stuff is great, and a good black southern gospel choir can be a thing of true beauty. Sans smarmy lyrics, of course.

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So why does contemporary christian sound so...generic, empty to me?

Considering that the bible is the source of "inspiration" for ccm, how could it NOT be empty and generic?

 

They are also singing about a non-existent God and a Jesus that certainly didn't exist as the Gospels portray him.

 

 

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There's no chance anyone remembers hearing about this Christian rocker who turned atheist and said he was going to write a series of books on it? When I heard about it it sounded like he had it planned the whole time or at least quite a whole. It still does.

 

The way it thrives on being a niche market for people who are convinced they have to listen to it exclusively I wonder how many people are just in it for the money and not even Christians.

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I went to a yoga class last week, and the music the instructor played on her stereo sounded exactly like contemporary Christian worship, only they said "yoga" instead of Jesus."

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I'll agree with Florduh in that the classical stuff is great, and a good black southern gospel choir can be a thing of true beauty. Sans smarmy lyrics, of course.

 

I agree too. But I wonder if that's not because religion used to be more pervasive within the culture, meaning the truly talented, creative people would use religious imagery in their work, whereas today there is no need. I think xian music is a reflection of xians as a group. If someone is truly evolved from the crowd, they certainly aren't going to sit in a pew like a sheep and if you are truly a sheep you probably don't have what it takes to create something evolved and unique.

 

I also agree with F that pop music is shit and getting worse, but that DC Talk vid was way cheesier than MC Hammer and Milli Vanilli, who were also popular at that time and that's saying a lot.

 

Finally, stopping with the Beatles just plain forgets The Who, The Kinks, The Eagles, Dire Straights, Supertramp, Fleetwood Mac, et al, who put out truly quality, creative music since. Even in more recent years, we've had Nirvana, Pearl Jam, U2 and even groups like Metalica who have been both creative and artistic. I'm sure there are newer bands who are as well, but since I've been outside the US for almost a decade, I haven't had a chance to get to know the newer artists as well. Amy Winehouse fits that category though, RIP.

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There's no chance anyone remembers hearing about this Christian rocker who turned atheist and said he was going to write a series of books on it? When I heard about it it sounded like he had it planned the whole time or at least quite a whole. It still does.

 

The way it thrives on being a niche market for people who are convinced they have to listen to it exclusively I wonder how many people are just in it for the money and not even Christians.

 

I'm betting it's like the Euro football league. College players who can't make the pros taking spots in Europe/Garage bands who can't get a contract, pulling an Eric Cartman and adding "Jesus" to their lyrics.

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Finally, stopping with the Beatles just plain forgets The Who, The Kinks, The Eagles, Dire Straights, Supertramp, Fleetwood Mac, et al, who put out truly quality, creative music since.

That was a figure of speech to indicate I'm old and stuck in the past :grin:

 

Generally speaking, I think with the extreme creativity of the Beatles in bloom, other artists were inspired to do their best. Of course there have been bright spots since the demise of the Fab Four.

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I love every kind of music, especially 'blues.' I am old, and I tend to still be a 'disco queen'!

 

I am also one of those people who loved christian music and I still miss it. ;)

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