Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Brief Thought About CCM

Contemporary Christian Music continues to dominate the religious airwaves and even filters into the secular mainstream. I will readily admit that I don't care too much for CCM. There are only a handful of CCM artists (Michael Card and Steve Taylor being among my favorites) that I have ever cared to listen to, and frankly it doesn't seem like I've missed out on much.

Jeffrey Tucker, editorial vice president of, wrote about CCM in an essay entitled "Suffering, Thy Name Is FM Radio":
    How can I describe this stuff? It's like bad rock, bad pop, bad country, bad everything all rolled into one. The voices are all bad. They have this cheesy little vibrato that seems designed to sooth but only annoys. The instrumentation is all canned. All songs begin softly with whispered nothings about some personal problem you don't care about. They grow and grow with choruses featuring long notes. Cymbals and trumpet flourishes arrive at the high points. They end with some victorious flourish. A dated rock beat backs it all. The words are completely vacuous. The sentiment is cheap. The melodies are childish. If religion were this thin, it's a wonder anyone goes along with it at all! This is truly bad music in every way.

    Give me the cultural authenticity of rap. I'll take the phony philosophy of the college station blues. I'll tap my toe to the Village People. Put on a Sting re-tread. I'll take another 688 bars of saxophone improvisation. I'll even suffer through an old-time country crooner. But please please, can't somebody do something about Christian contemporary music? I know what I was thinking and feeling: This stuff is the bane of the entire radio dial.
Hyperbole aside, is Mr. Tucker being unfair?

I recall what a fellow student told me back in college: "We don't need more Christian rock musicians; we need more rock musicians who are Christians." His point was that good music and Godly music aren't necessarily synonymous. We don't have to settle for bad music just because the lyrics happen to be about God. Why can't we have both? Wouldn't a more God-glorifying combination be intelligent, edifying lyrics sung to an equally intelligent and edifying tune?
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