Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Love/Hate Relationship with Christian Music

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
*
Matt Redman
Jon Foreman *
Brooke Fraser
Bebo Norman

(my favorites)

Hope you enjoy some of it as much as me!

5 comments:

mesc said...

I started listening to Family Life Radio about two years ago - My favorite is Bebo Norman - "I will lift my eyes" I heard it on my way to work one morning and was hooked on his voice, his words, his praise. There are a few times that I just can't listen to the music and have to change the station - but within a few minutes I really would rather be listening to the Christian music and I turn back. I'm more sensitive to this when Uncle Pat is in the car because he loves to listen to music and isn't as thrilled with my choice - but it is one of the stations I surf when I get too much stupid talk on the regular radio stations so he has to listen sometimes! I really like your choices (but you didn't get Bebo Norman linked correctly here is my fav: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtAjrNqEsoM)

Theresa said...

Hahaha that is exactly how I feel. When I am listening to Christian music every once in a while I will have to turn it to something else because one of the songs will be so terrible. But then I change it back pretty quick because I would rather be listening to Christian music than anything else!

Monica said...

Theresa,

You should check out Kevin Heider's music. He's a friend of my brother and sister-in-law, did the music at their wedding last year, and it was wonderful. His album's on iTunes, but he's also at http://kevinheider.com

Theresa said...

ooh and i forgot john michael poirier - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BazdDnp6_qk&feature=related

Anonymous said...

My fav's are:
Jeff Johnson
Nicole Norman
Sara Groves

Kelly:)