Does Christian Music Suck?

I recently discovered a discussion on Amazon titled “Why Does Christian Music Suck?” Many people commented “it all sounds the same.”

Is it true? Do we tolerate mediocre Christian music only because it reflects our beliefs in Christ?

Contemporary Christian music has come far since the days of Amy Grant. Starting as a Gospel star, Amy gained notoriety when she crossed from Christian to pop. Many Christians considered her a sell-out, even though she opened the door to what Christian music has become.

Today, most Christian artists no longer cross over to more popular, fame-driven genres. Instead, they aspire to top the Christian charts and rate success based on their own album sales against their secular counterparts.

So why are so many oblivious to the quality of contemporary Christian music?

Is it the message? Perhaps they label Christian music as out of touch.

Contemporary Christian music at a local church was the primary key to lead me to Christ. Prior to that, I could not relate to the music and style of the old hymns. It provided an opening to discover the love and life of Christ.

Third Day is a giant in the industry and one of my favorite bands. They create appealing music, melodies and lyrics coupled with modern production, every element necessary to capture the ear of any song lover.

So where’s the disconnect?

Is there a unique sound which defines all contemporary artists?

As a Christian songwriter, it’s difficult to keep the music centered on one theme while attempting not to become too rock, jazz, or country. Perhaps it is the single theme of our Lord and Savior that creates the perception of similarity. The only exception in my mind is the country music genre which seems to freely allow its artists to cross the line of Christianity and back. It isn’t a coincidence that the majority of the Christian recording industry is centered in Nashville.

I don’t think Christian music sucks. For the most part, it’s very good.

But like Christian music, Christians are a blend of people, genres and subjectivity. We don’t just tolerate the music, we live it.

 

 

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  1. Iluvdogs77 said:

    I happen to think Christian music is awesome, yes it does have the same message but if it did not contain the Good News, of Jesus Christ our savior then it would not be Christain. I wonder if the people who saying it sucks are the same ones attacking Christainity itself? My 18 year old son like me listens exclusively to Contemporary Christian music.

    March 25, 2009
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  2. SavingGrace said:

    Unfortunately I think they have a cookie cutter formula for success in Christian music industry. Everyone sounds like everyone else and there are remakes of songs that were just popular two weeks ago. To be popular in Christian music means you have to fit the industries cookie cutter mold. No one would ever fault the message but the message can be told in many different ways. There are great groups out there right now not getting the success they deserve because the do not fit the cookie cutter mold. What is sad is those who don’t fit the mold are finding some success on mainstream stations where most do not even know they are Christian artists. It is sad. Do I think Christian music sucks, no. Do I think it is in major need of some diversity? Yes!!

    March 27, 2009
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  3. ajstancato said:

    Dear Saving Grace, I agree somewhat on the cookie cutter sound. I recently started my own record company because a very large, un-named record company stated my music is different and therefore risky. However, I have seen the same in the mainstream industry. Many of the radio stations in Christian will not give a new artist the time of day, and only represent the big labels and artists. Much of this is based on a quality and financial support issue. Additionally, It is risky for radio stations with new artists, perhaps their audience will turn elsewhere. Mainstream has the college market and many genres, Christian very few alternatives. I am starting with the smaller Christian stations and building a base on social networks like Shoutlife. I’ll let you know how it goes!

    March 27, 2009
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  4. Karlaell said:

    It’s an interesting dynamic. I think SavingGrace has a point — there are some great bands and great sounds that don’t necessarly fit the current mold. But it’s hard for someone who doesn’t fit the mold to get airtime. That makes it so important for fans of up and comers to get the word out and support them!

    March 27, 2009
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  5. Lauri Biber said:

    The disconnect is that unless you are within the christian community, you dont know whats out there. It’s not widely advertised like regular/secular music is. For someone who’s not in a christian atmosphere your first thought is of someone banging on a piano singing old hyms, Maybe this also has to do w/ the disconnect of church and state! This country was founded on GOD & christian beliefs, but now it’s a sin to bow your head in prayer in school. Honestly what is that teaching our next generation? I love christian music for me it opens my soul to receive the message that is about the be delivered.

    March 28, 2009
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  6. KCFitzgerald said:

    If you are looking from the outside in I can see where you might think that it all sounds the same, but how can you say that given the mix from TobyMac/DC Talk to Third Day or Casting Crowns to the country sounds of 33 Miles…I think the music coming out today is so much more varied than what I listened to back in the 80’s. Don’t get me wrong…Amy Grant and the gang back then were great (I was a Petra fan from the beginning), but I think there are more artists writing not just about Jesus and his love, saving grace, etc., but about being a Christian in today’s society when it’s NOT cool to be so. Just my quarters worth (given today’s inflation rate.) “;O_) KC

    April 1, 2009
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  7. bvman7794 said:

    It always seems that people put a bad stamp just because it is “labeled” christian music. I can think of POD which has a message with their music. However, they play on platforms that most Christian artists wouldn’t dare to play. They are a testimony to cross over and there music is loved by many. I also look at Bands that have lasted many years in the Christian genre. Bands like Newsboys who have sell out crowds and through the generations change their style to fit the era. I think that people in the secular world would know Jars of Clay and DC Talk as well. Just to name bands that again have been in the industry for years. Their music all unique and hitting the hearts of believers and non believers. It always seems that whenever a band is labeled “christian” it automatically labeled as a bad band. I would challenge these individuals to really listen to ALL genres of Christian music and they will find something they truly love.

    April 2, 2009
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  8. 7Cubed.org said:

    This discussion is wonderful. It illustrates exactly why we started http://www.7cubed.org – to get the importance of a friendship with Christ out to the people who would never attend church or listen to Christian worship/gospel music of any genre. It is through Christian’s making music that isn’t primarily filled with lyrics of worship style that countless people have become a follower and friend of Jesus. NOT that their lyrics are not worship in their own way in their heart…quite to the contrary. We need to go where the need is and be right there to show others that we are not on a pedestal as Christians but instead that we have the same hard experiences they are having. The difference is that if we go where they are then they are more likely to listen. Don’t confuse that with being AS THEY ARE… just appeal to them without dishonoring God.

    June 24, 2009
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