Let me share my frustration here, which led me to write this blog.
Where, oh where, is all the good music? Frankly, I think not even the devil has the good music this time. I mean, a good deal of it seems to have disappeared.
Ok, I’m being a little too dramatic here because I’d have to say that there is some really great new music out there. But, I really am talking about the ‘worship’ stuff. And I’m referring specifically to music we can sing in church. Most worship music is too… fluffy. Lyrically and musically. The Psalms and the Bible is FAR LESS ‘safe’ than the present choice of worship music. And, having a chat to a friend of mine (A certain Warmington) the production on the music is also way to ‘safe’ and clean. I’d rather not publically slate some of the artists but in all honesty they’re just all too safe!
The only current guys who I support are David Crowder* Band and… well… that’s about it. I enjoy some of the great Christian music that’s coming through in the scene right now, guys like MuteMath or whatever are pushing some great creative boundaries. But we can’t sing this stuff in church – not so much because the music is too loud, but because the lyrics don’t fit in with what we could do for congregational worship.
Even bands like Future of Forestry and This Beautiful Republic and Starfield are calling themselves ‘worship’ and they are, of course, in a sense worship because all art made unto God is worship. And I really like their stuff. And I can feel that it is anointed. But it’s not corporate worship. Back in the 90’s guys like Matt Redman and Delirious were writing songs we could sing in church and play on the radio. These days, we’ve got songs that either you can play on the radio or sing in church. I find it all incredibly frustrating.
As far as Christian music (or music by Christians, or at least where you can feel that God is on the album) is concerned, most of it sounds the same, but if you dig deep enough you’ll find some real gems. I’ve already mentioned MuteMath, but also record companies like Northern Records (www.northernrecords.com) have some real interesting stuff. In my quest to find some new worship music, I did a little research to find out what’s happening with The Violet Burning (who have always been trying to do a different kind of worship music) and was glad to see that they’ve got a new album called “Drop-Dead.” Fans of The Cure, or New Order, or the whole 80’s New Wave thing will love it. I love it too, I think it’s great. But it aint worship music. At any rate, I saw that they were signed up with Northern Records and I’ve always been kinda happy with Northern Records. They were the only guys who had the guts to sign up Kevin Max and his Christian David Bouwie vibes. I’ve always secretely enjoyed his way of just not doing things the normal way (although, I was dissappointed when I saw him live here a few years ago.) I pushed on the N Player on the Northern Records website and was given quite an aural treat with some of the stuff they’re promoting. Well done guys. Now, please, get some new worship stuff developed. Maybe I’ll send you my demo (which means I better start writing songs, I guess.)
Man, it’s frustrating. I still love Delirious, but “Did you Feel the Mountains Tremble” is over 10 years old now. Who’s pushing the envelope? Where is worship music going? Where is the envelope anyway? Right now, it seems to me that it’s heading straight for the ‘safe, boring, samey, sausage-machine’ parking lot where I was hoping we’d have pulled out of long ago. I feel as if I’ve paid for my parking but the boom just won’t open so that I can move on. Sigh.
Oh well, I don’t want this to be a moaning blog so I’ll sign off now. If anyone can help me – got new worship music we can sing in church – PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I’m starving here.
God is moving worship on, and to be honest I think worship services in the future will be very different than it is now – the whole alt.worship thing is showing that to be true (where the church gets to participate more heavily through art, video, poetry, song etc.) I hope this really takes off in bigger churches like mine. But, we still need music, and we still need some creativity. Really, guys. We do. Record companies, PLEASE stop mass-producing CCM worship music! Argh! Yuck!
About Ryan Peter
Ryan Peter is a writer, journalist and ghostwriter from Johannesburg, South Africa. He writes fantasy, sci-fi, inspirational fiction, and on faith. Ryan is also part of the New Covenant Ministries International (NCMI) translocal team.