Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Christian Contemporary Music

When I was a teenager, I used to listen mainly to Christian Contemporary Music (CCM). That wasn't forced on me - it was my decision. The reason was that I found myself being too easily influenced by some of the lyrics in secular pop music, which I was only just beginning to get into when I gave up listening to it.

If I was now advising someone like I was then, I'd given them a copy of Desiring God by John Piper, a load of Matt Redman CDs and some U2. But I didn't really know about U2 and the cutting edge (pun intentional) of worship music at the time was Martin Smith and songs like "These are the days of Elijah" and "Do you feel the mountains tremble?" And while those songs have some merit (Days of Elijah has a great chorus), the verses are too, well, untrue, for me to get on well with them. So CCM it was, and even then I was pretty picky.

As a result of this, I got to know a lot of CCM before I knew much secular pop. Now that I listen to quite a bit more pop music, one thing has really struck me. An awful lot of the award-winning CCM artists, people I thought were really musically inventive and so on, ripped their best tunes off secular pop music. I don't think DC Talk or the Tribe did, but a lot of others certainly did.

Now, let's view this through the lens of the US Culture Wars. In the US, or so I understand, there are a significant number of people who only listen to Christian music, even to the point of rejecting secular pop. However, many of their heroes in the CCM scene are lifting their tunes from secular pop, which means that they themselves are listening to quite a lot of it. Hmmmmm....

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