Few things sadden me more than good questions without good answers. I can think of so many areas this applies to, but music is certainly one of them. Sometimes when I’m listening to a non-Christian song, I think to myself, “This is a great song, and it raises so many profound questions, but it’s missing the answer completely.”
Then other times I hear a Christian song and think, “Well, on a basic level this song has the answer… but it’s so shallow/artistically inferior that it couldn’t meet that non-Christian writer where he’s at.”
I’m not gonna lie: I have that reaction to Christian songs of all genres. So this isn’t about southern gospel versus praise and worship/CCM. This is an across-the-board issue. But the good news is that there are also many examples of Christian songs that, in my opinion, do rise to that challenge. And one of the things I love most is finding good matching pairs of “questions and answers” — an exceptional non-Christian song answered by an appropriate and also exceptional Christian song. As an extra challenge, I try to create matching pairs that are musically complementary as well (just because it makes it that much cooler).
I decided I’d like to share some of these with my readers, while analyzing their lyrical content. I’ll uncover what I think the non-Christian song is trying to say, or trying to ask, and then show how the Christian lyric provides exactly the right answer.
Stylistically, this series will cover a wide range, though you needn’t worry about seeing any rap, heavy metal, progressive rock, or similar genres appearing. This is a series designed to explore the intersection of music and art. ‘Nuff said. However, the songs won’t be southern gospel either. Obviously the “questions” won’t be, and so far all the “answers” I’ve collected are drawn from CCM artists. But I know that at least some of my readers enjoy a variety of music, and I’d like to think that I have good taste, so I think and hope that most of you will enjoy this. Even if you find a particular song not to your stylistic taste, I still encourage you to think about the lyrics. This will be “deep, man” territory. Love, longing, meaning of life, life after death… as my little sister used to say, “all stuff.” If you are a songwriter, I would most certainly encourage you to tune in, because these are some of the best songs ever written, and there is no teacher like a great song.
So let’s see how this works. Expect the first installment some time next week. Oh, and if you have any suggestions, by all means leave a comment!