Covering the best and worst of the music world.
The 1980’s and 90’s were an era where Christian music flourished in various pop music genres, from metal to country and rock to hip-hop, yet it was also a time of some of the kitschiest Christian music ever created. Christian artists were trying to create music that was “safe for the whole family” and in the process made some of the blandest, uninspired and theologically shallow music ever. Additionally, some musicians were trying too hard to be hip and cool but failing miserably (i.e. Carman). While the level of kitsch in the Christian music world has toned down a bit, there are still a good number of CCM artists who produce music that is lacking in depth and quality. However, some of the responsibility for a vanilla Christian music lies with CCM record companies, who encourage a certain type of watered-down sound so that the artists’ songs will be guaranteed airplay on Christian radio. What musicians, record companies and Christian radio fail to realize is that the gospel is a dangerous message and the bible is not safe for the whole family. This is why Jesus warns about the familial cost in following him in Matthew 10:34-37 and Luke 12:51-53, where families are torn apart because of the gospel. The Indian man who wrote I Have Decided to Follow Jesus had a keen understanding of the dangerous act of following Jesus because his family abandoned him when he became a Christian. When Christian musicians create music that is tame, overly cheerful and inoffensive, the radical message of the gospel loses its power. Let’s continue the conversation, do you agree with the choices below? What other songs would you add?
Newsboys – The Breakfast Song
Best known for its theologically deep statement, “They don’t serve breakfast in hell.” Also one of the worst examples of commercialization in Christian music.
Audio Adrenaline – Big House
A band trying too hard to be cool and telling everyone that heaven is where you get to pig out and play football all day. What?!?!? I do not remember that picture of heaven in the bible.
Rick Cua – Young Boy, Young Girl
Encouraging teenagers to “wait until marriage” with the lyric, “Young boy, young girl. True lovers respect each other. Well, it ain’t easy, but please believe me, there’s all the time in the world.” I highly doubt this moved any teenager to wait for their spouse. Thank goodness the gospel is greater than this sad attempt at moralism.
Amy Grant – El Shaddai
Amy Grant sang this song. Enough said.
Michael W. Smith – Place In This World
Unfortunately, this song crossed over to adult contemporary radio and pretty much says nothing. No Jesus, no gospel, only a lost wandering soul looking for his “place in this world.”
Sandy Patty – Love in Any Language
Her biggest hit and full of syrupy schlock, plus the sign language is a nice touch. She did say love in any language.
Sandy Patty – How Majestic
Another Sandy Patty hit that is super cheesy.
Carman – Satan Bite the Dust
Carman’s spoken word song is plain horrible and could it be the music video is worse than the movie Troll 2? Worst line: “Cause I represent a whole new breed of Christian of today and I’m authorized and deputized to blow you clean away.” Someone did not read Jude 1:8-10.
Rich Mullins – Awesome God
Contains one of the oddest lyrics in Christian music history, “When he rolls up his sleeves he ain’t just putting on the ritz.” Ritz? Really? You could not think of a better word that rhymes with “fists”?
Carman – Who’s in the House
Carman’s foray into hip-hop, which created a controversy because he called Jesus, J.C. Also, a middle-aged white man rapping is never a good thing. Quite possibly the worst example of musical gentrification.