I really like Christian music and there is a lot of it around, but I can understand why people sometimes make fun of it. It can be simplistic and superficial. Even though I won't ever get tired of worship music, lately I have been wanting to find any kind of Christian music that is more subtle and complex, and it's here that things get a little more difficult.
I understand it is a hard balance for bands. If they want to be overtly Christian they usually have to cut out the primary market because people who are not religious and are in to music have a quasi hatred for bands that try to be independent artists and Christians at the same time. I think there is some truth in this criticism - a lot of people just cannot see how someone can make something the primary focus of their music and still stay true to who they are and free to express their art. And it seems that the Christian market is not really interested in artists trying to explore new kinds of music or ways of expressing their art, it really is a niche market looking for a similar kind of sound in most cases.
So, I understand people who do not like Christian music because I used to share this extreme dislike when I was not Christian. In high school, when I found out that Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate had become a Christian, I stopped listening to the band altogether. I think I just did not think that someone could be a Christian and a real artist at the same time. Here is the letter he wrote fans like me who were disturbed when he became Christian. Now that I am Christian, I think it is pretty brave.
I now understand how artists who become Christian or who have been Christian their entire lives cannot just sing music and cut their religious beliefs out of it like I have heard so many secular people insist they should do. If musicians did this then they would be untrue to who they are as artists. Artists express what is going on interiorly and share it with the world in the hope that they will identify with it or learn something from their experience. If you love God and think about Him all the time, it would be "anti-art" to cut that part of your soul and life out of your music.
So lately I have been scribbling down names when I encounter good Christian musicians whose music is not simple or superficial. They seem to be exploring their Christianity through their music, not just writing lyrics that make it seem like they already have everything figured out. I appreciate that.
Here are some of my favorites:
Derek Webb *
Jon Foreman *
Hope you enjoy some of it as much as me!