Oh, Just Sing About Your Girlfriend Already

They’re a soft target, most worship songs. Partly because they tend to be lousy musical compositions, but also partly because they tend to be mushy and indistinguishable from love ballads bar the occasional “God” and “Jesus” thrown in. In short, they’re all-around lousy songs.

One day I was in a cruel mood. So I thought I would try taking a couple of these fluff-fests and seeing how they fared when set next to the genuine article: real, bona fide love songs.

It’s not pretty.

Take, for example, Big Daddy Weave’s “Every Time I Breathe”:

Now compare it with Brad Paisley’s “She’s Everything”:


Fact: I’d rather hear Brad Paisley sing this song about his wife than hear Big Daddy Weave sing that song about God. Not only is the romantic language far more comfortable and appropriate, but the writing actually holds my interest. A novel concept.

Let’s try again with something a little different, a song that’s not technically worship but has a “vertical” orientation and got played a lot on Christian radio:

This one gives a laundry list of things the singer “questions” before concluding with, “The one thing I don’t question is You. You really love me like you say you do.” God is the fixed point in the singer’s life.

Okay as far as it goes, but when one of your main hooks runs, “Hold me, come on, hold me. I need your love. Hold me. Come on now…,” and when, moreover, the song is addressed to God, this is an epic fail. It’s an epic fail anyway, but the God part makes the fail even more epic. Plus, if you seriously “question” your “ability to judge wrong from right,” you’ve got some issues. And if you’re not sure what race you are, you’ve got even bigger issues. (Yes, yes, I know that’s not what he meant, but I couldn’t resist.) The whole thing just comes off very trite. It fails to make me take it seriously or provoke any thought, even though presumably it’s supposed to.

Compare this with the very similarly themed but vastly superior “Kathy’s Song,” by Paul Simon (lyrically anyway, though admittedly the melody isn’t particularly inventive). Note in particular how Simon self-consciously takes some of the language commonly used in reference to the divine and works it into this very horizontal piece (and how much more elegantly this succeeds than the reverse operation):

So you see I have come to doubt

All that I once held as true.

I stand alone without beliefs.

The only truth I know is you.

Or even more explicit: “There but for the grace of you go I.” And yet this lyric is far more believable, profound, and thought-provoking than the Coleman song, which actually is referring to God.

Here’s the brutal truth: If you’re going to talk to or about God, you need to expand your vocabulary. Because if all you’re doing is writing a love song with “God” and “Jesus” thrown in, I’ve got news for you: The rest of the world writes way better love songs. Like so much better it’s not even funny. Your job is to prove that a relationship with God is deeper and more holy than any human love relationship could ever be. Will you still write about love? Absolutely. The love of a father for his child. The love of a shepherd for his sheep. The love of a creator for his crowning creation. But what you write for your girlfriend? Keep that separate from what you write for God. If that’s something you need to work on, do us a favor and just sing about your girlfriend until you figure out how to write better songs about your God.

That is all.

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57 Comments

Filed under Faith and Culture, Songwriting

57 responses to “Oh, Just Sing About Your Girlfriend Already

  1. AMEN!!! This Jesus is my girlfriend junk is sickening. Isn’t it funny that the world can come up with more solid reason why they love their girlfriend than CCM can about how they love God? You love Him because He loves you and holds you? Uh- yeah. So…. would you mind telling us a little more about Him?!

    I know that you pointed out some of the inconsistencies in the lyrics of “One Thing”, but I found this one interesting as well. If the guy has questioned his religion, um, I believe that that would mean he questioned God as well. Just saying, it’s a little hard to separate the two.

    • You said “Isn’t it funny that the world can come up with more solid reasons why they love their girlfriend than CCM can about how they love God.” It’s really tempting to note that, and I actually had an early draft of this post with a similar comment. However, I then realized that in one sense it might be a little easier to list a bunch of tangible reasons why you love your wife (like Paisley does in his song), since you have a close physical relationship with her. God, although we can find out a lot of his attributes through reading Scripture, is admittedly still at more of a distance for us right now than the people we know. That won’t always be the case, of course, but in the meanwhile, I can see why one could have less trouble making a long, vivid list of things to love about your spouse.

      Of course, just because it takes a little more work to do the same for God doesn’t mean writers shouldn’t try!

      • Well, it seems that the old hymn writers didn’t find it that difficult to do. Can you seriously picture Martin Luther, bending over his BIble, saying, “OK, I need to find something in here about God that I can write about. I just can’t think of anything. I feel His love pulling me, He’s holding me, oh, this wonderful fluffy cloud of- No, stop you have to focus, Martin. Think of some attributes. Um— He holds me, no I guess that isn’t in Scripture, let me see. Oh, this is so hard!” :)

        Yes, I know its a bit exaggerated, but I’m trying to make a point. People from that era knew so much more about God than most Christians today. They died for truth; they knew who their God was. And all Christians can do today is sound like a silly highschooler with a crush? So sad.

      • True. However, “A Mighty Fortress” and similar hymns aren’t providing reasons for why we LOVE God, specifically. You’d find more of that style in the 19th or early 20th centuries (“In the Garden” and such). But even that can be done in a way that doesn’t make God the big BFF in the sky.

    • JSR

      My guess is that best selling CCM writers could write best selling SG music. It’s a matter of the audience they’re targeting when writing a song.

      • Well, I know of some very good writers who’ve had cuts in both, so certainly that’s true. But if that particular style/meme is selling in that market right now, shouldn’t we perhaps start questioning the artistic merit of the genre as it now stands?

  2. JSR

    ” One day I was in a cruel mood…” Great way to make sure we know this isn’t exactly an objective post.

    This reminds me a little bit of the current presidental administration, we spend our time bashing others because we don’t have anything good to say about ourselves. If this blog is about SG why spend time just bashing another genre of music? Especially just because you’re feeling cruel and want to beat somebody up? Obviously you listen to CCM or you wouldn’t know these songs, so there must be some CCM you like or your wouldn’t listen. Yes, I know you targeted love songs, not the whole genre, but if someone wanted to be cruel they could do the same with SG.

    • Oh come on. Yes, I threw that in there with a bit of a gleam in my eye, but as far as the whole post not being objective, I think it’s easy to see that the songs I held up as improvements over the two CCM songs in question really are objectively better. If you’d like to dispute that, then I would honestly question your taste in lyrics.

      Of course I like CCM, but I admit the vast majority of it dates back to pre-2000. There’s a small handful of artists making music right now that are pretty good, but that number is dwindling every day. And actually, I first heard these songs a few years ago when I was still desperately trying to give my local station a last chance to earn my appreciation, but was coming to realize the genre had left me. So technically I didn’t like what I was hearing even then—it was a last-ditch attempt to like the genre as it now stands.

      Yes, there’s plenty of awkward or sub-par writing within SG, but that’s kind of irrelevant to this post. As you yourself admitted, I was making a very specific, contained point here. I didn’t write a post saying, “There has never been any worthwhile music in the history of CCM.” Also, I think you have to admit that looking at the current crop of POPULAR or RESPECTED artists within southern gospel, the average quality is much higher than that of the current crop of popular artists within CCM.

      • JSR

        I’ve liked the Brad Paisly song for a long time. But, its not really fair to pick a song you think is terrible from one genre and compare it to a song you love from another…if I compared Glorious Freedom to any Ozzy Osbourne song I’m going to have a long list of reasons why Glorious Freedom is better.

        I think CCM and SG are comparable, but I typically only listen to the best in both genres, so i may not be the best judge.

      • But wouldn’t you agree that it’s not ridiculous to compare two songs that are both a) Very thematically or lyrically similar (in this case, both expressing love towards someone with almost the same language in some lines), and b) Popular or well-liked in their respective genres?

      • Also, consider that musically, I actually picked songs that had similar sound and feel. Big Daddy Weave is what you might call a country/pop/rock fusion, while this song by Brad Paisley is what one might call progressive country (that is, country with a smattering of rock). And the other pair both feature finger-picking guitar and a folksy sound. So musically speaking, the sounds aren’t wildly different, and as I already pointed out the lyrics have many similarities. So I really don’t think this is equivalent to comparing Ozzy Osbourne to a hymn by the Gaither Vocal Band.

      • JSR

        I decided to study the lyrics to the BigDaddy Weave song a little closer. I found them to be a solid message. There are songs that do what you said, but I dont see the problem with this one.

        I am sure all of heaven’s heard me cry As I tell You all the reasons why This life is just too hard

        But day by day Without fail I’m finding everything I need And everything that You are To me

        Chorus: Every time I breathe You seem a little bit closer I never want to leave I want to stay in Your warm embrace Oh basking in the glory shining from Your face And every time I get another glimpse of Your heart I realize it’s true That You are so marvelous God And I am so in love with You

        Now how could I after knowing One so great Respond to You in any way That’s less than all I have to give But by Your grace I want to love You not with what I say But everyday In a way that my life is lived.

      • It’s mainly the chorus. I agree that the verses are somewhat better, but the chorus is awful, and that’s the part that provides the hook, that gets repeated over and over, etc.

  3. I actually agree with most of what you said here. I will say that a big reason why the “Jesus is my girlfriend” and “Jesus is my BFF” songs are common is that’s what many young people relate to. Most can’t relate to a shepherd and his sheep, or other parallels.

    The love of a father for his child has me intrigued though, but I’m sure the song has already been written. Just thinking about how there are so many broken homes, where kids don’t experience the love of a father for his kids. Maybe a song could be formed around that concept…

    • Of course the shepherd to sheep idea was merely metaphoric language for our view of God as somebody who protects, provides and cares for us. In that sense very much like the father to child.

      As for the BFF being what young people can relate to… well, that may be true. And I guess when people talk about “falling in love with Jesus” they’re trying (clumsily) to latch on to the idea of Jesus as a love that transcends all other loves, Jesus as the one-stop “replacement love.” Problem is, that kind of thinking can potentially lead to lazy song-writing, where you just co-opt ordinary romantic language and plug it in. But it doesn’t work well that way.

  4. Michael Booth

    How bout this? If you have a child and they had one opportunity to hear the Gospel in a song for their eternal salvation. There was a box of songs from current CCM and a box of songs from current SG. Now you can only reach in one of the boxes and pick a random song of which you do not know for certain what song it is. Which box would you choose?

    • Thank you Michael, that’s a great way of putting it. Even if I could legitimately say, “Well, that southern gospel song does present the gospel, but it’s linguistically clunky or not my stylistic cup of tea or yakkity-yak-yak,” in terms of getting the content right I have much more faith in the SG “mean” (average) than the CCM “mean.” Now the very best writers in CCM right now do, in my opinion, surpass the best current writers in southern gospel. But we’re talking about a very, very small group of folks there.

    • JSR

      Wow. This is a good way to put it. Fortunantly God has better options than either one :-). Thankfully the question is unrealistic and hypothetical and those are often better left unanswered, especially since God has choosen through preaching, not singing, to save people. I’ve heard SG songs that are so unscriptiual, but somehow made it to #1 on the chart, that I’m not sure SG would be any more successful than CCM.

      Mr. Booth, I actually very much enjoy your music, so I’m not intending to bring any personal attack. In fact, I tend to agree that SG generally more “church worthy” music, but I get really turned off with the occosianal SG attacks on other genres of music. Especially when for years I disdained SG music because of the horrible sounds I heard coming from my local SG station almost everytime I tried to listen…SG was entertainment, just not in the way people probably hoped. So I feel like SG has lots of their own problems to write about instead of attacking other genres.

      It was groups like the Booth Brothers who helped me start enjoying SG…please, keep producing high quality music.

      Wow, I just really rambled.

      • For the record, I do find it amusing that I seem to take flak for being an anti-SG “hater.” In fact, if you put my favorite big driving playlist on shuffle, it would look something like this:

        Buddy Greene
        Simon & Garfunkel
        Garth Brooks
        Marc Cohn
        Jon Schmidt
        Simon & Garfunkel again w/James Taylor
        Buddy Greene again
        Josh Wilson (instrumental version of “Amazing Grace”)
        The Andrews Sisters
        Lynyrd Skynyrd
        Simon & Garfunkel again
        Several by Paul Simon in a row, and then…
        Journey
        Garth Brooks again
        Billy Joel
        George Winston
        Bob Dylan
        Brad Paisley

        There was more Paul Simon interspersed there, but I wanted it to look at least a little varied.

        Does this look like a narrow-minded music listener’s playlist?

      • Oh yeah, and for some reason Bruce Hornsby wasn’t coming up on that particular shuffle, but I’ve got a couple albums’ worth of his stuff in there. Sometimes a mix from his debut and sophomore projects is literally all I need on a drive.

    • That was a good way to put it, Michael. Although I am part of the “younger generation” so to speak, I really appreciate the depth and beauty of Southern Gospel lyrics. Thank you for being one of the reasons that SG has such a focus on the truth of the Gospel. It is such a blessing.

    • Patricia

      Well it would depend on the boxes and the songs one of the best songs I have heard that describes I think a clear message of the Gospel is Lamb of God which was written by Twila Paris and goes in CCM really take the time and listen to the words .Some CCM songs are not what you would want but there are some Southern Gospel songs that are not very strong lyrics either it goes both ways.I understand the message you all are trying to put out but artist like Michael W Smith and Twila Paris do have good Gospel messages so don’t dicredit CCM .I’m just saying there is some strong lyrics in CCM and worship music take the Getty’s.

      • Michael specified current, popular CCM. Many of us, myself included, would I think all agree that there have been many good CCM songs in the past. The problem is that you don’t hear Twila Paris on the radio anymore. The genre isn’t what it used to be.

      • Patricia

        What do you do with the writers like Tony Wood and Berry Weeks who write for both SG and CCM take Beautiful Terrible Cross that brings out the Gospel Message and that’s a pretty new song or the song There is nothing greater than grace that Marshall Hall wrote that point of grace sings .What grace is mine by Kristyn Getty there are new CCM or worship music that brings out the clear Gospel.Yes Booth Brothers sing one of the most powerful and clear Gospel Message songs in What about Now that Jim Brady wrote and I’m glad they are presenting the Gospel message clear and precise .Michael thank you for doing that I love you guys for that.I’m just trying to point out that not all new CCM songs and writers are not putting out good Gospel messages.

      • We were also careful to say that there’s still a handful of good writers in the genre today. The Booth Brothers themselves have covered several songs by the Gettys. The key word is “average.” On average, is it easier to find good gospel-centric music in southern gospel today than in CCM? Also, we were also emphasizing the music that gets played on the radio. Bar a couple covers of “In Christ Alone,” the Gettys don’t get much airplay.

  5. Here’s my question….if one person is worshiping our Heavenly Father with all their heart while singing “Every Time I Breathe,” does that make their worship any less sincere or authentic?

    • Were we questioning the sincerity of their worship in the first place?

      • In a way, yes. You question whether the song is a valid Christian expression, or if it’s just fluff. If the song, ultimately, is being used as a form of worship, then fluff or no fluff, it’s doing its job. My only objection to such lyrical content is if it is being ambiguously portrayed.

      • People can be earnestly attempting to praise God while using something that’s not the best vehicle for that purpose. We can criticize the effectiveness of a song, a book, a Bible translation or what have you without casting aspersions on the sincerity of a person who might be using/enjoying one of those things. I wouldn’t deny that a writer might have a good heart, or that people singing along are genuinely caught up in a spirit of worship. My question is, aren’t we still called to strive for excellence in what we create?

      • Excellence is subjective. What I view as excellent and what you view as excellent may be two completely different things.

      • Do you really think that all excellence is completely subjective?

      • Excellence in terms of if the lyrics are in line with Scripture is certainly not subjective.

      • Well yes, you have a very good point, and of course that’s the main focus of this discussion. However, obviously I don’t think a song has to be in line with Scripture to be excellent or I wouldn’t have all this secular music on my ipod!

      • Another point I think worth mentioning is that the purpose of a worship song, or anything designed to direct our focus to God, is to in some sense teach us about God. And if something is failing or misleading Christians in that goal, then can we really say it is completely fulfilling its purpose?

  6. Lydia

    Living in a cave as I mostly do, I hadn’t heard three out of four of these songs before. And I can’t actually remember when I heard the Brad Paisley one. Still haven’t listened to the Paul Coleman song. But a couple of thoughts occur to me, in no particular order:

    Thought 1: “Every Time I Breathe” has, for such a light pop song, quite a lot of (I trust this won’t be regarded as an offensive comment) sexual energy. There is something almost creepy about watching all the people mouthing the words. The chorus is very easy to get into musically. I would imagine it is pretty easy to work an audience up into quite a frenzy of emotion by repeating that chorus over and over again with the way the drumbeat works, the specifically male-female type of emotion, and so forth. None of this really seems like a good thing for a song intended for the worship of God.

    Thought 2: Human love is ennobled by the introduction of Christian themes. There is, of course, something daring and even a little dangerous about this. It can verge on idolatry towards the beloved. But it is the very opposite of trivializing. In striking contrast, one’s relationship with God *is* downgraded and distorted to some extent automatically by comparing it to a human romantic relationship. This asymmetry probably partly accounts for the problems in the lyrics here. One has to be a very great poet indeed to get away with making the second comparison. John Donne could write, “Ravish my heart, three-personed God,” but his sonnets should come with a label: “Warning: These metaphors performed by an immortal stunt poet. Do not try this at home.”

    • Yes, and of course in “Kathy’s Song,” it’s not merely the use of a “Christian theme” like self-sacrifice or agape love—the beloved is actually filling the role of God in the singer’s life. As you said, a dangerous game to play, but it makes a smashing love song.

      Your thought about Donne is very relevant to what I’m saying—that you need skillz to make a love song to God work, REALLY work.

  7. Lydia

    Sorry, make that “Batter my heart, three-personed God.” The whole poem is here:

    http://www.online-literature.com/yeats/863/

    But it does, in fact, use the romantic metaphor. See the final line.

  8. I cant stand to hear a song say something about falling in love or being in love with God or Jesus.

    • Why is it that songs about God’s love are okay, but songs about our love for God are not. (not specifically asking you, Mary, but in general)?

      The Love of God and Jesus Loves Me are examples of songs that the SG community welcomes with open arms. But when we turn it around and sing songs like you mentioned, they are said to be mushy and better served to be sung to our girlfriends.

      Are we that ashamed to profess our love to God? Love is a two-way street. Yes, he loves us. But we also need to do our part and love him back.

      • I think it’s possible to express our love for God without making it romantically charged in an inappropriate way or trite/shallow. However, it seems that a lot of writers in the Christian industry aren’t gifted enough to be that creative.

      • The Love of God doesn’t make it sound as though Jesus is our boyfriend and just loves us and wants to hug us etc… I don’t think anyone here is saying that we can’t sing about our love for God. It’s the way these artists are doing it that presents the problem.

      • Lydia

        Pretty simple: God’s love for us isn’t characterized in “Jesus Loves Me” or “The Love of God” as being like the love of a boyfriend for his girlfriend. Or vice versa.

        Actually, it isn’t a “God’s love for us” vs. “our love for God” thing at all. A song that said, “He holds me tighter and tighter in his sweet embrace” might well be said to be in some sense about “God’s love for us,” but it would be somewhat problematic in exactly the way we’re all discussing here.

        On the other side, there could certainly be songs about our love for God that would be no problem. Others will be better than I am at thinking of specific examples, but in general terms, if we talk about our love for God as being absolute commitment to him, that’s not part of the problem. Or if we talk about loving him as a child loves his father, that’s not part of the problem. And so forth.

        There are even songs that are very vivid about a relationship with God but that do not imply a romantic relationship. Consider “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.” In that song, God is taking your hand, but he’s doing so as a guide, to lead you through the storm and the night. He’s not taking your hand because he and you are so in love with each other.

      • If I remember correctly….Love the Lord God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength.

        I love my wife dearly, and have no problem telling her that, either in speech or in song. But my love for God is even greater. If you think love songs to significant others are mushy, then love songs to God should be a river of sap, logistically speaking.

      • Indeed, we are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and we are told that this love should surpass all earthly loves, however strong they may be. That’s not in question. However, the concern we are expressing has to do with the method and language we use to convey that love. I hope you would agree that our loving relationship with God is of a fundamentally DIFFERENT nature than our loving relationship with our spouses. That’s the point. We don’t have anything against strong, sincere, passionate expressions of love for God. One need only turn to the Psalms to find many beautiful examples of this. But “sap” implies triteness and triviality, and we want to avoid that. We also want to avoid turning our relationship with God into something that closely resembles a kind of relationship from which it’s supposed to be very distinct—namely, a physically romantic earthly relationship.

      • @ Kyle Boreing
        How about a little word study. Love (in the verse you used) is the Greek word agapao. We derive the word agape from it. Here’s a quote from Strong’s Concordance. “Agapao is a sentiment based on judgment and adulation, which selects its object for a reason.” There isn’t too much description of what love is there, but we have the Bible for that. Here’s how the Bible describes love.

        “Love (agape) is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1 Cor. 13:4-8a

        1 Opinions provides an appendix to these verses. “Love is goosebumps, love is a warm embrace, love is a breathy voice, love–” Uh sorry. I just received a memo. It turns out that 1 Opinions is not considered to be part of the Scriptures. Sorry about that. :)

        To be serious, I believe that many in the church today, even in their relationships with their spouses, have accepted the world’s definition of love. It is a cheap, flawed imitation of the true Biblical love.

      • Consider that even when we limit the conversation to earthly relationships, we express love for different people in different ways. The love of a man for his wife is different from the love he has for his mother. The love I have for my father is different from the love I will have for my future husband. The love for a brother or sister is different yet again. So it shouldn’t be too difficult to see how our love for God falls into its own category.

  9. So, YGG. Did you think that the discussion would become this involved and charged when you posted it? :)

  10. On a separate note, I thought of another problematic issue with the lyrics to “Every Time I Breathe,” which is that the first line comes off rather self-centered. “I am sure all of heaven’s heard me cry/As I tell you all the reasons why/This life is just too hard.” My response is, “Really? You don’t think some of them were enjoying the beatific vision or conversing with the saints? They were all gathered around listening to your private little complaint to God? ALL of them?” Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but it still seems rather “me-centric.”

  11. Lydia

    The Bible expresses both our love for God and God’s love for us in many ways, but I think it’s worth noting that there is not a single place in which we can definitely say that the Bible expresses the relationship between an individual soul and God as a romantic relationship. Even the statement that the church is the Bride of Christ is about the church as a whole. That’s an important distinction. There are some who want to interpret the Song of Solomon as an allegory about the soul and God, but I think that’s just an incorrect interpretation.

    I think it would not be a stretch to conclude that the biblical writers, and perhaps the Holy Spirit, consider it to be potentially quite seriously misleading to invite people to think of their relationship with God in romantic terms. Both other, non-human metaphors–such as a longing for water–and other human relationship metaphors–such as a father–are more biblical. Jesus tells the disciples that they are his friends, and that was of course true quite literally.

    Part of the problem may be the impoverishment of our own culture’s perception of non-romantic relationships. Non-sexual friendship itself has been quite trivialized and devalued, and child-father relationships are not understood as vividly either. That, however, is no reason for moving to an unbiblical (and shallow) model according to which the only way to envisage a really close relationship with God is to analogize it to a romantic relationship. It would be better, if necessary, to write songs in which we express our need for God as a need for light or water. People at least ought to be able still to understand that.

  12. Nathan

    I’m just curious what your opinions are on this song:

    Thanks!

    • Most of the lyrics aren’t problematic, probably helped by the fact that there aren’t that many of them. Wickham is self-consciously echoing some passages in Psalms (“In your presence God I’m completely satisfied… For you I sing and dance…”) Really, the big problem is just the title phrase “divine romance.” It sort of shoe-horns its way in and undoes the rest of the song, in a way, because the other lyrics do a pretty good job of leaving romantic metaphors untouched and going instead for pure expressions of worship, plus a little theology, “Your innocent blood has washed my guilty life.” So, really, it could have been a good song if not for the central phrase. Then there’s the separate issue of Wickham’s vocal stylings, which are rather shall we say “expressive…”

      • Nathan

        Understood. (I really like Phil Wickham’s stuff.) Thanks for listening.

        Not to be disrespectful, but it seems like you resent CCM. And to be honest, much of what you said is subjective in nature.

        I love both genres, with a preference towards CCM. Nevertheless, there are some songs that cross a line into to being too ambiguous. “How He Loves” is an example of a song that I’m not quite sure is biblically sound.

      • I think I’ve heard some Wickham that wasn’t too bad as well.

        You definitely mistake me if you say that I “resent CCM” on some kind of broad scale. A couple months ago I started a new series called “Questions & Answers” where I basically said out the outset, “I’m going to talk about some of the best songs ever written, and they’re all going to be either secular or CCM.” (Perhaps it’s time for a new installment.) CCM at its best contains some of my fondest memories and favorite music. I’m just sorry that it’s come this far, and not in a good way. I like some younger writers such as Andrew Peterson and Audrey Assad, and there’s still a couple vets like Steven Curtis Chapman and Fernando Ortega out there continuing to make good music. There are also a few bands like NeedtoBreathe, DownHere and NewWorldSon whose music isn’t completely my cup of tea, but it’s interesting and I can recognize they have talent (Marc Martel of Downhere is a freak of nature). And I think Chris Tomlin writes some decent songs—simple, but accessible and really trying to work in solid biblical stuff. I also like some of Casting Crowns’ music. I loved Mark Schultz for a long time, but his last couple albums haven’t been up to par for me. Bebo Norman is pretty solid.

        So yeah, I don’t think it would be accurate to say that I “resent CCM,” but when I look at a lot of the really young artists who are coming up to take the place of the older ones, I’m concerned because they’re simply not as good. And I don’t like the formulaic wall-of-sound sound that’s coming in to replace real musicality.

        I’m not sure exactly which parts of what I said in the post and comments are what you would call “subjective,” but I do know I’ve said a lot of things that should be pretty simple to grasp. So maybe if you could point to the things you found subjective that would help me know where you’re coming from.

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