Where are the songs? And why should I reflect on music when Christian Contemporary Music is so bad

So one major problem with this blog is that it is called, “thoughts, prayers & songs.” Certainly with my book reviews and various reflections, you get a taste of my ‘thoughts.’  Often I reflect on prayer and I try to publish ‘prayer’ posts every Sunday; Yet I seem to be deficient in the ‘song’ department. I am thinking about how to best address this and may work in a regular (weekly) musical reflection, but I don’t know the exact shape that that is going to take yet. As this blog has reflected on personal vocation, theology, Church words and practices, I want to make sure whatever ‘song’ reflections I offer, fit the flavor of what you’ve come to expect from your friendly neighborhood Matichuk, so I will be looking for ways to do that and wouldn’t mind a few suggestions.

I might need to post something on the Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) scene.  I am highly critical of much Christian music for the way it is marketed and the low ebb of creativity which seems to be an industry standard (the same may be said for pop music in general). I also hate how when I listen to Christian radio in my car, the station announcer always brags about how ‘safe’ the music is. “Safe for the whole family,” as though I should be comforted that the meaningless pap being pumped through my speakers would never subvert any institution or move anyone to do anything risky.  Bad music, with a Christian veneer might be safe, but it isn’t good.

Of course my relationship with Christian music is more complicated than my quick judgments. The truth is, I grew up in the 1980’s  and 1990’s and was pretty well raised on Christian music. I know more Petra, DC Talk and Newsboys lyrics than I care to admit. When Amy Grant struck it big in the mainstream with Baby,Baby, I remember friends and I wondering if she had lost her faith (and who was that eye-candy-guy in the music video?).  And while I can criticize many lyrics for being trite, the music for being too over produced and formulaic, and the marketing (“If you like Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and Creed, you’ll love Third Day”-really?),  the fact remains there are a number of artists whose music and lyrics have spoke to me and whose music touched my heart.   In the middle of the rubbish heap of CCM are some real treasures.

And there are a number of great artists both inside and outside of the CCM industry whose lyrical depth and musicianship make them worth listening to. It is easy to criticize the bad (I did it above) but I want to shine a light on the good. So as I look for a way to bring some ‘song’ to this blog, feel free to flag noteworthy musicians for me (note: some occasionally readers of this blog are noteworthy musicians).