Friday, 08 October 2010
The past few months, I've been noticing my musical tastes have been changing. The playlist that I listen to has always been predominantly Christian music. I remember back in the day -- well, it’s only three years ago -- I bought my first album: “Stay” by Jeremy Camp. And it still is one of my favourite albums, with a good balance between honesty and accessibility.
Still today I buy predominantly Christian music albums. Don’t blame me for being so cheap because people are turned off immediately because things are Christian.
What I’ve been finding recently is that my tastes have changed, perhaps branching further and further away from CCM to more alternative music. By alternative I mean a lot of things. I remember the first metal album I picked up, “Dichotomy” by Becoming the Archetype; I admit I only bought it because it had a pretty cool album cover, but then I moved onto Underoath, and, among other things, to As Cities Burn with a more indie rock sound. Yet it all still fell within this larger group called “Christian music."
Then I was set into all things indie. There was something raw about this genre. It included House of Heroes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Cocorosie, Death Cab for Cutie and more.
But lately, I've been moving into this kind of electronica, dubstep and drum and bass type of music with no lyrics. I totally blame my friend Dan for this change. He never should have sent me drum and bass mixtapes. He is a horrible influence on my music tastes.
To describe it simply, it’s kind of club type music. It may be a bit more downbeat, but it's quite popular within those circles. It is totally different to anything you'll find on the Christian market. The closest I've heard is probably the new And Then There Were None album. I find it good in two ways:
- I’ve found that the producers are not usually signed onto a record label, so they can make what they want. You can find a lot of artists on soundcloud.com and alldj.net. They release all their music on their own. Consequently, the music they create has a lot more artistic freedom and expression, because they are not constrained. A lot of the time, as well, I notice that they can do whatever they want without being constricted in one specific box.
- Furthermore, they have this total freeing sense in the style of music. Drum and bass can be totally in your face, but at the same time it can be wildly reflective. Whereas in Christian music, I realize now that it’s the same: God’s love, God’s love, Jesus loves you, Jesus love you, peace, peace...blah blah. There is a totally disconnect between the creativity that God brings to the world and the bland music that get played on the radio stations.
I've been finding myself worshiping God way easier with every bass-drop and every bit of freedom that Christian record labels do not allow. In fact, a lot of the Christian radio stations seem to encroach their artists into one small box that they have to play in and write their lyrics in. It’s increasingly frustrating to me to hear good artists being totally changed to sell more records. Tedashii has a verse in "Go Hard" which goes:
"Went to Asia, had to duck and hide to share my faith/They tell me to water it down when I get back to the States"
There is a disease in the Christian music market -- namely the radio record companies that make perfectly good artists like Bethany Dillon, Jeremy Camp, Adie Camp and many others.
I've even been listening to Chris August recently. I feel he's a good artist, but he is tame in his debut EP. This turning into a rant about Christian music, so I'll stop there.
So, I’ve been listening to all this music, and I can worship God much easier, yet there is no indicator of whether it is made to worship God or the Devil. So, as a consequence, I've been thinking: are lyrics all that define Christian music? I mean, the removal of lyrics makes the music meaningless in discernment of whether something is Christian or not. Does this indicate that what is Christian music and not is mere speculation until confirmation by the original artist? But does that make it Christian still?
What do you think constitutes Christian music? Does it have to mention Christ in it? If it doesn't contain lyrics, does it need to be made by Christians? Can any music be Christian?