April 26, 2006
What's the deal with Christian music, anyway?
As you may have guessed from my little run-in with Twila Paris, Christian music is rarely blaring from any speakers here in Slushville. Now that Hatchling is getting a little older, however, I find myself more an more concerned about the things I hear on the radio. I don't wish to explain what lady lumps are to a 2-year old, nor do I intend to expound on why a pre-nup is something that you need to have. It just wouldn't be seemly.

With these problems in mind, I've recently added our local Christian radio station to my dial (at the expense of my beloved alternative station), and I've made a sincere effort to listen to it. I have to be honest with you. I think most of the music on there BITES. I sincerely hope God doesn't strike me dead for saying so, but most of the music is just fluffy and feel goody, and it makes me think very un-Christian thoughts. I'm sure there are a lot of folks who feel uplifted and spiritually nourished by it. And I'm so glad for them. But this is all about you me. It's my blog, you know. I can make it all about me if I want to.

I suppose I'm uber-sinful or something. Is there no Christian equivalent to Nickleback, or Tori Amos, or Nelly? I mean, come on, I can't seriously be the only Christian who likes a little edge to my music, can I? Is there such a thing as the Christian hip-hop movement?

I do like a few Christian bands, so I may not be completely hopeless. I like the 2 songs I know by Mercy Me. I like Jars of Clay (at least the old stuff). I like a girl from our church, Kelly Jones Parks. Other than that, I'm at something of a loss. I don't want to listen to the little choruses that we sing on Sundays when I'm trying to rock out in my car. They're great for church, not so great for traffic jams.

If you know any good music that doesn't suck, let me know.
14 Comments:
Blogger Hillary said...
I hear you about the Christian music. Contemporary Chrsitian music is often so... so.. BORING! I like worship music, and I like "regular" music, but the in between stuff gets to me. On the other hand, sometimes God has used it to really speak to me.

There are lots of Christian bands out there that are realyl good - and don't necessarily sing "Christian" songs. They just have - shock! - clean content.

One band I REALLY like is Switchfoot. They're SO good - rocky/alternative, sing about lots of differnet topics. They're played on both secular and Christian stations here. Check them out, and I'll look for all those other bands I know of that I jsut can't think of now and get back to ya!

Blogger Hillary said...
by the way... that Twila Paris story is priceless. I wouldn't have known it was her to see her, but I may have guessed from the first name. Maybe not, hard to tell. That's awesome!

Blogger Amber said...
I understand how you can feel that way Slushy. Most of the stuff they play on the radio is, how shall I put it, safe. I guess that would be one way to put it. But, there are plenty of awesome alternative Christian bands that you might like. (Coming from a former mainstreem alternative junkie), you might try Toby Mac, Kutless, Sonicflood, and a bunch more recent ones that I am ashamed to say I have not kept up with.
Anyway, just my 2 cents!
Amber

Blogger lawyerchik said...
I agree with you - I have the local Christian music station on my radio presets in my car, but I rarely listen to it because (IMO) it's lyrically anemic and monotonous, the music has no texture or interest, and the overall sound is just...annoying.

I make an exception for Amy Grant, because I've been listening to her for over 20 years (OMG! IT'S BEEN 20 YEARS!!!), but that's about it.

I think that, as with anything, you can go the route of isolating your children from the entire world, or you can teach them to make good choices among all of the available ones from whatever source.

My parents exposed me to jazz and classical music at a fairly early age - I also listened to a lot of folk music from Peter, Paul and Mary, The Irish Rovers, the New Christie Minstrels, etc. Plus, my mom was into the Carpenters and Claudine Longet and Van Morrison (my dad liked Pat Boone, Doris Day and the Stamps Quartet, but nobody's perfect).

Between their musical choices and the jazz track from Peanuts and Mr. Rogers, I probably lean more toward music that has more "substance" to it than a lot of popular music.

I think that if you give your kids good stuff - and there are objective criteria for deciding what is good music - like you give them good food, they'll get the basics and then go on to make their own choices as they get older.

On the other hand, how anyone can let their kids listen to Kid Rock/ Sheryl Crow's latest crooner about how they're in love with each other but each sleeping with other people is beyond me! (Yes, I know it's just a song!) :) I used to call songs like that "slut songs", and they never poisoned my brain (that I know of - the jury may still be out on that one!)

You'll make the right decision, though. I have every confidence that you will do what is best for your child(ren - to come).

Blogger jennifer said...
Here are some bands that you might like:

Switchfoot
POD
Pillar
KJ52(Rap)
CrossMovement(Rap)
Newsboys
TobyMac

Hope that helps...

Anonymous kassi said...
I was seriously going to just suggest the bands that jennifer named. I love TobyMac, he's got a funky edgey sound...Switchfoot is very edgey as well. I think you'll like both, plus all of the others they have mentioned. I am fortunate in that our Christian Radio Station here in Detroit plays all that funky stuff. Sometimes not so "safe".
Have fun checking these guys out though...

Blogger Amy said...
I feel the same way about Christian books. Too moral, too predictable, too feel-goody for my tastes. Give me some people who have messed up, made mistakes (big ones) and moved on!

I have no clue about Christian music, I used to listen to it in high school (in an effort to impress a boy from my youth group) but haven't listened to it since.

Blogger Queen of Spain said...
I can't stop laughing.

I vote you just play jazz, classical, etc. No lyrics!

Blogger SlushTurtle said...
Thanks for all the good advice girls! Now I just need a chance to go to the music store where I can listen to these without Hatchling pulling every. single. cd. off of the shelves!

Blogger Angi said...
I like our Christian station since it's ok for the kids in all ways. My 3yo sings along. I like that too. He also likes hip hop though and lots of edgy music. I'd love to find more edge too. I flip between lots of stuff. But... my actual point in commenting was that our church does a contemporary service that the kids really enjoy because the music they play is all stuff we hear on the radio. They like feeling more connected through the music. So, I guess it's working for us... :) Best of luck out there...

Blogger Jason said...
You might want to try these two for a more edgy sound:

Kutless
P.O.D.

Along the lines of Mercy Me (personal fav of mine):

Casting Crowns
Monk & Neagle
Ever Afters

Blogger yipeng said...
Kutless works, they have really really nice riffs.

If you think CCM bites you don't have to listen to it. Why not try one of the local christian rock or alternative christian radio stations?

Other bands you might want to check out include the afters, day of fire and 12 stones.

Here are some legal download links you might want to check out to see what they have to offer.

KJ-52 (Rap/Hiphop) --> 'Are You Real?' with JON MICAH of kutless / 'Back In The Day', Grits (R&B) --> 'Ooh Aah (Liquid remix)' and other songs, John Reuben (Punk pop) --> 'Nuisance' feat Relient K

@
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=103875

Pillar (Rock) @
http://www.purevolume.com/pillar

Day of Fire (Rock) @
http://www.myspace.com/dayoffire

Anberlin (Rock/Punk Rock)
http://www.purevolume.com/anberlin

Anonymous Gem said...
Casting Crowns!!!! You've got to listen to a couple of songs and see what you think!

Anonymous Titus said...
I stopped listening to the local christan station up here years ago for the same reasons. They only play very, very 'safe' music. When asked when they would start playing something with an edge (both musically and lyrically) they gave a lame answer involving a one-hour saturday-night show they did... Not acceptable, IMO. Got a few more suggestions for you.

Project 86 - Hard post-punk, I think they call it. It's good stuff, very deep lyrics with very aggressive music. Not punk, it's hard rock through and through. Their latest album "And The Rest Will Follow" is really good, though I like "Songs To Burn Your Bridges By" better.

Skillet - started out rocky, went to electronic industrial, now do hard guitar rock. Can't wait for the next album, they get better and better with every release. They're often called the biggest up and coming christen band, and IMO will soon be one of the big ten of Christian music, if they're not there already.

Audio Adrenaline - one of the cornerstones of Christian Rock. They started as a straight-up rock band and kind of mellowed as the years went on. Their early albums "Bloom" and "Some Kind of Zombie" are IMO their best. They kind of went the CCM direction with the last two, "Lift" and "Until My Heart Caves In".

Burlap to Cashmere - They only put out one album, but it's great stuff. Kind of folky alt-rock, all acoustic. Hard to describe, I guess. Well worth picking up if you can find it.

Chevelle - Hard rock.

Barlow Girl - Not my favorite, but they do alright. All-girl sister rock band.
Superchic[k] - Girl led rock band, great lyrics and great sound. Their latest album is really, really good, if a bit short. Awesome live act.

Downhere - Rock, light rock.

John Reuben - Rap. White boy rap. He's a very silly man, and his first three albums reflect this. It's rap that doesn't take itself seriously, and was kinda weird to listen too. The music videos were side-splitting hilarious. Then he came out with "The Boy vs The Cynic", and in my opinion he has really hit his stride. Meaningful, biting lyrics and a great live band sound topped with great vocals. A must buy, even if you don't typically enjoy R&B or rap.

Newsboys - Another behemoth of christan music. Like Audio A, I believe their early albums are their best. "Take Me To Your Leader", "Shine", "Step Up To The Microphone", good stuff. Their latest albums are more worship and CCM-focused.

Relient K - One of christian music's new darlings. I've been a bit jaded over them since seeing how snitty they got at the 2005 Sonshine music fest when the monitors were acting up. Good music though.

Five Iron Frenzy - These guys broke up two years ago. They came out of the Ska craze of the late 90's and were one of the few bands that managed to stay afloat when that blew over. Their sound got better as time went on. The lyrics are great, often downright funny. The sound from album to album gets more rocky until its no longer ska but 'Rock with Horns'. "The End is Here" was their last album, and is worth getting. "Electric Boogaloo" is also worth a purchase.

Roper - Headed up by Five Iron's frontman Reece Roper, this is like Five Iron without horns. Punk rock with fun lyrics and high energy.

Steve Taylor - Last, but not least. In fact, should be first. He hasn't put out an album since 1993, and according to the last news I have heard doesn't plan on making any more albums. This man invented christan rock, really. He started breaking out during a time when "christian" meant "gospel". This is back when Bride, Daniel Amos, White Heart, all those good guys were just starting out as well. Steve's lyrics are the best part of his music. He pulls no punches, and most of his stuff is aimed directly at a very lukewarm church body. There's just something about hearing a man artfully rip the church a collective 'new one' that puts a smile on my face. It's very, very hard to find his stuff. eBay is really your only hope, though iTunes has just put up a few of his early albums for download. You NEED to check this man out. Getting your hands on his anthology "Now The Truth Can Be Told" would be best, you can find that on Amazon I believe. It's a two-disc set with songs from all his albums, along with a book where he talks about each one, gives a story and might explain the lyrics. Very good read, gives you a good look at what was going on in the late 80's.