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Why is Christian Rock so terrible?

Raisor
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6/3/2015 8:23:17 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Every time I hear a Christian rock song I start wondering who made the decree that songs must be generic, unchallenging, and just generally awful.

Clearly the genre is not my go-to when I'm looking for something to listen to, but I've spent a good deal of time driving through the rural south and midwest listening to local christian rock radio stations and I have - never - been pleasantly surprised by an enjoyable christian rock song. Instead I hear the same lyrical phrases repeated in the chorus, the same boring guitar riffs. So the question I have is- why does the genre seem unable to put out music that has appeal outside a community with ideological reasons for supporting the genre?

I think part of the cause is that the dominant demographic that Christian rock caters to comes from a culture where orthodoxy is valued and semiotics are a way of signaling orthodoxy. Turns of phrase and figurative language are repeated as a way of communicating that the speaker is merely perpetuating the beliefs that listener ought to already hold.

The result of this is that most songs attempt to inspire and elevate merely by aping mundane expressions of abstract theological concepts (e.g. merely repeating variations of "my lord, my god" " you are my king" "I am saved" in the chorus) rather than crafting novel ways to communicate religious experience.

I also think that Christian rock also tends to treat musical content as an unimportant requirement that acts as a backdrop to the fact that the song is Christian. That is, what is important is that the song is Christian in nature, music goes in songs so there's some music included.

Finally, I'd like to include some songs I personally find to be much more profound and do a better job of challenging the audience to engage Christianity than any "christian rock" song I've heard.

Randy Described Eternity - Built to Spill

Actually plays on a trope in evangelical proselytizing, but is combined with innovative instrumentals and lyrical intonation that push the song beyond the generic descriptions of the wages of sin.

Casimir Pulaski Day - Sufjan Stevens

Vivid description of the tragedy of life underscores the challenges of living and embracing Christian faith in a world full of pain. The challenge of faith is made visceral and real through story telling rather than overt preaching.

Tha Crossroads - Bones Thugs N Harmony

An example of how different musical traditions are worth exploring. As an aside, I tend to enjoy Gospel music much much more than Christian rock.

White Cedar - The Mountain Goats

Very conventional themes of resurrection, confidence through faith, expressed using well worn religious imagery. Restrained and subdued instrumentals give the song emotional weight and a sense of integrity that makes the lyrics sincere and meaningful rather than bland and generic.
RuvDraba
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6/3/2015 8:53:37 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/3/2015 8:23:17 PM, Raisor wrote:
Every time I hear a Christian rock song I start wondering who made the decree that songs must be generic, unchallenging, and just generally awful.

It's odd, Raisor, because Christianity has produced some extraordinary traditional, classical and choral music.

I've linked three famous examples. We can't call these generic or unchallenging.

And Christian opera still works. Linked too is Ken Medema giving a musical account of the tale of Moses:

So theoretically, Christian rock ought to work for the same reason prog rock does: texture, colour and melodrama.

Yet Christian rock seems to lack all three. I often find it sounds disingenuous, graceless -- and passionless either way.

Perhaps it's more a marketing device more than a musical conversation. Or perhaps it's not passion lacking, but compassion and insight.

Thank you for linking your examples. I liked them better musically -- especially the first two. But still, I think the best Christian music ever written is much like the best Christian thought -- now two to four centuries old.
Vox_Veritas
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6/3/2015 9:02:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Surprisingly, I agree with you. Christian Music is largely the same, and Christian song writers need to be more original.
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Raisor
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6/3/2015 10:07:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/3/2015 8:53:37 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 6/3/2015 8:23:17 PM, Raisor wrote:
Every time I hear a Christian rock song I start wondering who made the decree that songs must be generic, unchallenging, and just generally awful.

It's odd, Raisor, because Christianity has produced some extraordinary traditional, classical and choral music.




I've linked three famous examples. We can't call these generic or unchallenging.

And Christian opera still works. Linked too is Ken Medema giving a musical account of the tale of Moses:


So theoretically, Christian rock ought to work for the same reason prog rock does: texture, colour and melodrama.

Yet Christian rock seems to lack all three. I often find it sounds disingenuous, graceless -- and passionless either way.

Perhaps it's more a marketing device more than a musical conversation. Or perhaps it's not passion lacking, but compassion and insight.

Thank you for linking your examples. I liked them better musically -- especially the first two. But still, I think the best Christian music ever written is much like the best Christian thought -- now two to four centuries old.

Yeah I agree that there has been a lot of great music and art to come out of the Christian tradition. That's why I always wonder about why the popular christian music is so bad. There's no lack of material to work with.

I think part of the issue might also just be that pop music in general tends to be a part of an echo chamber, but even if I don't like a lot of what is on a top 40 station in a given hour there will be several songs that are at least catchy or fun. Christian rock is just a drag.
PetersSmith
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6/3/2015 11:54:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/3/2015 8:23:17 PM, Raisor wrote:

The only Christian Rock song I like is Spirit in the Sky, does that count?
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bulproof
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6/4/2015 12:08:05 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Could it be that they are just as divinely inspired as the authors of the bible stories?
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
Geogeer
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6/4/2015 10:42:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/3/2015 11:54:14 PM, PetersSmith wrote:
At 6/3/2015 8:23:17 PM, Raisor wrote:

The only Christian Rock song I like is Spirit in the Sky, does that count?

No, and it is a theological abomination....

As to the OP, I think it is because Christian rock is a capitulation to the culture rather than being culturally formative.

God is a powerful topic to deal with. He is power, He is humility, He is a straining of the soul. Rock is a few bars repeated endlessly with little lyrics, doesn't seem to be a good mesh.
Geogeer
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6/4/2015 1:27:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/3/2015 11:46:58 PM, Accipiter wrote:
Christian rock is as much fun as going to church.

That's funny, I enjoy going to Church. I never listen to Christian rock.
Serato
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6/4/2015 1:51:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/4/2015 12:08:05 AM, bulproof wrote:
Could it be that they are just as divinely inspired as the authors of the bible stories?

Or maybe Christian rock sucks because they've not done what other musicians are required to do, such as closing escrow to their soul to the devil. Sign over your soul, and in return for its virtual currency one gains satanic inspiration.
Accipiter
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6/4/2015 6:21:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/4/2015 1:51:36 PM, Serato wrote:
At 6/4/2015 12:08:05 AM, bulproof wrote:
Could it be that they are just as divinely inspired as the authors of the bible stories?

Or maybe Christian rock sucks because they've not done what other musicians are required to do, such as closing escrow to their soul to the devil. Sign over your soul, and in return for its virtual currency one gains satanic inspiration.

I can't believe someone can be this dumb and still work a computer.
Skepsikyma
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6/4/2015 7:10:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/3/2015 8:23:17 PM, Raisor wrote:
Every time I hear a Christian rock song I start wondering who made the decree that songs must be generic, unchallenging, and just generally awful.

Yeah, I agree. I think that the same phenomenon is undertaking country music as well; the repetition of tropes to what someone imagines is a 'catchy' tune in a way that reinforces already held beliefs and builds a sense of belonging to a group. I think that Christian rock artists are best when they perform about relatable experiences of life instead of theology itself. Focusing any genre exclusively on one subculture is a sure recipe for bland, uninspiring music.

I also think that there is an incredibly ugly and deleterious trend amongst some very conservative families to limit their children's to those things which they consider 'Christian', as if it's a brand which can be stamped onto certain products. This music is definitely popular among that sheltered subculture, and the insularity of their approach, in my opinion, cripples both spirituality and intellect. Hence the downright anemic musical quality; it's not meant to inspire reflection and contemplation of the divine, as, for example, Mozart's Requiem, is. It's designed to foster conformity and monotony.
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Fly
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6/4/2015 9:58:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/3/2015 8:23:17 PM, Raisor wrote:
Every time I hear a Christian rock song I start wondering who made the decree that songs must be generic, unchallenging, and just generally awful.

Clearly the genre is not my go-to when I'm looking for something to listen to, but I've spent a good deal of time driving through the rural south and midwest listening to local christian rock radio stations and I have - never - been pleasantly surprised by an enjoyable christian rock song. Instead I hear the same lyrical phrases repeated in the chorus, the same boring guitar riffs. So the question I have is- why does the genre seem unable to put out music that has appeal outside a community with ideological reasons for supporting the genre?

I think part of the cause is that the dominant demographic that Christian rock caters to comes from a culture where orthodoxy is valued and semiotics are a way of signaling orthodoxy. Turns of phrase and figurative language are repeated as a way of communicating that the speaker is merely perpetuating the beliefs that listener ought to already hold.

The result of this is that most songs attempt to inspire and elevate merely by aping mundane expressions of abstract theological concepts (e.g. merely repeating variations of "my lord, my god" " you are my king" "I am saved" in the chorus) rather than crafting novel ways to communicate religious experience.

I also think that Christian rock also tends to treat musical content as an unimportant requirement that acts as a backdrop to the fact that the song is Christian. That is, what is important is that the song is Christian in nature, music goes in songs so there's some music included.

Finally, I'd like to include some songs I personally find to be much more profound and do a better job of challenging the audience to engage Christianity than any "christian rock" song I've heard.

Randy Described Eternity - Built to Spill

Actually plays on a trope in evangelical proselytizing, but is combined with innovative instrumentals and lyrical intonation that push the song beyond the generic descriptions of the wages of sin.



Casimir Pulaski Day - Sufjan Stevens

Vivid description of the tragedy of life underscores the challenges of living and embracing Christian faith in a world full of pain. The challenge of faith is made visceral and real through story telling rather than overt preaching.



Tha Crossroads - Bones Thugs N Harmony

An example of how different musical traditions are worth exploring. As an aside, I tend to enjoy Gospel music much much more than Christian rock.



White Cedar - The Mountain Goats

Very conventional themes of resurrection, confidence through faith, expressed using well worn religious imagery. Restrained and subdued instrumentals give the song emotional weight and a sense of integrity that makes the lyrics sincere and meaningful rather than bland and generic.



Hmm... I'll have to check out those links sometime.

I have also thought about the subject of Christian rock. I agree with much of what has been said here. Much of the music is really derivative. They are basically attempting to co-opt the rock genre for devout, insular Christians-- that hardly inspires true artistic passion and creative genius.

There are some quality secular rock groups with Christian members, such as U2, Black Sabbath (give "After Forever" a listen), and King's X.

I have also noticed that many great musicians are willing to sacrifice a lot for the sake of their music. Christian rockers usually seem to put God and family before their music, and it shows. I have personally known musicians who felt as though their devotion to their instrument and their "rebellious" musical tastes were interfering with their relationship with God. Christian rockers also tend not to put out that many albums because of other life priorities-- something that always annoyed me when I was a Christian just getting into a quality band.

Of course, their are always exceptions to the generalizations. There are a few Christian bands I got into back in the day that I still find worth listening to today:

Iona (Peter Gabriel/Enya/Braveheart soundtrack sounding)
Monk (now defunct, sadly, and very hard to find)
Grammatrain (only 2 albums-- the family thing again)
The 77's

A few crossed over from Christian labels to mainstream: P.O.D., Skillet, Sixpence None the Richer...

Also, Neal Morse (former member of Spock's Beard) seems pretty visionary and talented.
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POPOO5560
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6/5/2015 3:20:01 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/5/2015 3:03:39 AM, JJ50 wrote:
ALL rock music is horrible!

Negative!
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DanneJeRusse
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6/5/2015 3:05:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/3/2015 8:23:17 PM, Raisor wrote:
Every time I hear a Christian rock song I start wondering who made the decree that songs must be generic, unchallenging, and just generally awful.


I can't really comment on Christian Rock because I don't listen to it, but the soundtrack to "O' Brother Where Are Thou" is excellent, great tunes on there in the folk/bluegrass styles.
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Illegalcombatant
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6/5/2015 11:27:40 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Hey it's catchy.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
Serato
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6/7/2015 5:56:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/4/2015 6:21:45 PM, Accipiter wrote:
At 6/4/2015 1:51:36 PM, Serato wrote:
At 6/4/2015 12:08:05 AM, bulproof wrote:
Could it be that they are just as divinely inspired as the authors of the bible stories?

Or maybe Christian rock sucks because they've not done what other musicians are required to do, such as closing escrow to their soul to the devil. Sign over your soul, and in return for its virtual currency one gains satanic inspiration.


I can't believe someone can be this dumb and still work a computer.

It's not entirely your fault, so don't feel too rotten about it. There's an entire gamut of things happening here that you're not aware of. And for those that are, if only they knew as I, endless are wells of ethereal energies, and free for the taking no doubt. But if you do, if you choose to soak your soul in one of these tubs, be warned now..the vampires will come for you. Yes they will. They will suck you back to being once again boorish.
Accipiter
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6/7/2015 6:51:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/7/2015 5:56:57 PM, Serato wrote:
At 6/4/2015 6:21:45 PM, Accipiter wrote:
At 6/4/2015 1:51:36 PM, Serato wrote:
At 6/4/2015 12:08:05 AM, bulproof wrote:
Could it be that they are just as divinely inspired as the authors of the bible stories?

Or maybe Christian rock sucks because they've not done what other musicians are required to do, such as closing escrow to their soul to the devil. Sign over your soul, and in return for its virtual currency one gains satanic inspiration.


I can't believe someone can be this dumb and still work a computer.

It's not entirely your fault, so don't feel too rotten about it. There's an entire gamut of things happening here that you're not aware of. And for those that are, if only they knew as I, endless are wells of ethereal energies, and free for the taking no doubt. But if you do, if you choose to soak your soul in one of these tubs, be warned now..the vampires will come for you. Yes they will. They will suck you back to being once again boorish.

There must be things happening here that you're not aware of as well because I am pretty sure you don't know why you are even here in the first place. You are here because of science or do you think god builds computers (and everything else in our lives)? No, god doesn't build computers we build them with science.
Serato
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6/7/2015 7:03:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/7/2015 6:51:09 PM, Accipiter wrote:
At 6/7/2015 5:56:57 PM, Serato wrote:
At 6/4/2015 6:21:45 PM, Accipiter wrote:
At 6/4/2015 1:51:36 PM, Serato wrote:
At 6/4/2015 12:08:05 AM, bulproof wrote:
Could it be that they are just as divinely inspired as the authors of the bible stories?

Or maybe Christian rock sucks because they've not done what other musicians are required to do, such as closing escrow to their soul to the devil. Sign over your soul, and in return for its virtual currency one gains satanic inspiration.


I can't believe someone can be this dumb and still work a computer.

It's not entirely your fault, so don't feel too rotten about it. There's an entire gamut of things happening here that you're not aware of. And for those that are, if only they knew as I, endless are wells of ethereal energies, and free for the taking no doubt. But if you do, if you choose to soak your soul in one of these tubs, be warned now..the vampires will come for you. Yes they will. They will suck you back to being once again boorish.

There must be things happening here that you're not aware of as well because I am pretty sure you don't know why you are even here in the first place. You are here because of science or do you think god builds computers (and everything else in our lives)? No, god doesn't build computers we build them with science.

Christian rock I suppose is no better a rabble of potbellied egos than any of the other degenerate rock bands polluting the circus of sideshow talents. Obviously the Christians would be more gallant and in need of no prescription-grade enthusiasm, but everyone sucks at everything until they take the plunge. It only takes a minute to turn that medley of crap inside your head into something more aesthetic. And bringing Jesus in like a bar of soap ain't scrubbing nobody to what I'm talking about. But you don't need to get hot either." There's all kinds of places out there, so let's just tidy this to the corner and say you've no idea what's what. We build computers to irresistibly mimic the mind, and minds inside minds, one mind are we on many levels, and for this reason alone shall quantum computing fail to expose the biggest mind of all.
Saint_of_Me
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6/8/2015 12:25:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Hmm..maybe you're just not listening to the right Christian Rock bands?

Ever check out any of their heavy metal groups?

First, let me say: I am not really a big fan. But as a musician in a metal band--uh..our stuff is a BIT darker than the Christian metal stuff, LOL--I do feel compelled to keep up with what is going on with our counterparts.

I think you would find some of this stuff "challenging."

For old school, did you ever get into Stryper?

These guys aren't too bad, either: We actually played a god with them last year at a MetalFest in Santa Fe.....They are called "August Turns Red."

https://www.youtube.com...

There is also a band called Skillet that I sorta like. And Demon Killer is OK.

Oh...also check out "As I Lay Dying." All pretty hard-charging metal bands with some tasty lyrics.
Science Flies Us to the Moon. Religion Flies us Into Skyscrapers.
Fly
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6/8/2015 3:17:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/8/2015 12:25:24 PM, Saint_of_Me wrote:
Hmm..maybe you're just not listening to the right Christian Rock bands?

Ever check out any of their heavy metal groups?

First, let me say: I am not really a big fan. But as a musician in a metal band--uh..our stuff is a BIT darker than the Christian metal stuff, LOL--I do feel compelled to keep up with what is going on with our counterparts.

I think you would find some of this stuff "challenging."

For old school, did you ever get into Stryper?

These guys aren't too bad, either: We actually played a god with them last year at a MetalFest in Santa Fe.....They are called "August Turns Red."

https://www.youtube.com...


There is also a band called Skillet that I sorta like. And Demon Killer is OK.

Oh...also check out "As I Lay Dying." All pretty hard-charging metal bands with some tasty lyrics.

How does one differentiate a good grindcore group from a not so good one? Where do the mediocre ones tend to fall short?
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Saint_of_Me
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6/8/2015 3:22:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/8/2015 3:17:55 PM, Fly wrote:
At 6/8/2015 12:25:24 PM, Saint_of_Me wrote:
Hmm..maybe you're just not listening to the right Christian Rock bands?

Ever check out any of their heavy metal groups?

First, let me say: I am not really a big fan. But as a musician in a metal band--uh..our stuff is a BIT darker than the Christian metal stuff, LOL--I do feel compelled to keep up with what is going on with our counterparts.

I think you would find some of this stuff "challenging."

For old school, did you ever get into Stryper?

These guys aren't too bad, either: We actually played a god with them last year at a MetalFest in Santa Fe.....They are called "August Turns Red."

https://www.youtube.com...


There is also a band called Skillet that I sorta like. And Demon Killer is OK.

Oh...also check out "As I Lay Dying." All pretty hard-charging metal bands with some tasty lyrics.

How does one differentiate a good grindcore group from a not so good one? Where do the mediocre ones tend to fall short?

I go with four main things:

Song content/lyrics.

Arrangement

Skill of the individual musicians with their instruments

Stage presence/Persona. In other words: that intangible ability to simply entertain and captivate your audience. To leave the stage with them wanting more.
Science Flies Us to the Moon. Religion Flies us Into Skyscrapers.
Fly
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6/8/2015 3:59:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/8/2015 3:22:34 PM, Saint_of_Me wrote:
At 6/8/2015 3:17:55 PM, Fly wrote:
At 6/8/2015 12:25:24 PM, Saint_of_Me wrote:
Hmm..maybe you're just not listening to the right Christian Rock bands?

Ever check out any of their heavy metal groups?

First, let me say: I am not really a big fan. But as a musician in a metal band--uh..our stuff is a BIT darker than the Christian metal stuff, LOL--I do feel compelled to keep up with what is going on with our counterparts.

I think you would find some of this stuff "challenging."

For old school, did you ever get into Stryper?

These guys aren't too bad, either: We actually played a god with them last year at a MetalFest in Santa Fe.....They are called "August Turns Red."

https://www.youtube.com...


There is also a band called Skillet that I sorta like. And Demon Killer is OK.

Oh...also check out "As I Lay Dying." All pretty hard-charging metal bands with some tasty lyrics.

How does one differentiate a good grindcore group from a not so good one? Where do the mediocre ones tend to fall short?

I go with four main things:

Song content/lyrics.

Arrangement

Skill of the individual musicians with their instruments

Stage presence/Persona. In other words: that intangible ability to simply entertain and captivate your audience. To leave the stage with them wanting more.

I see. Previously, it seemed that as long as they are fast as lightning and darker than dark, that was all that was needed.

To add to my previous list of good Christian rock: Stavesacre (sort of Tool meets Pearl Jam) and Common Children.
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SarcasticMethod
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6/8/2015 4:07:37 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I think that, in general, a worldview that supports the following of strict rules in order to be rewarded by a sovereign leader (Christianity) can never be truly compatible with a music genre that is closely associated with rebelliousness and freedom (rock).

The end.
TN05
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6/8/2015 6:08:40 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/3/2015 8:23:17 PM, Raisor wrote:
Every time I hear a Christian rock song I start wondering who made the decree that songs must be generic, unchallenging, and just generally awful.

I'm actually a big fan of a lot of Christian rock (bands like Casting Crowns, MercyMe, and Third Day are among my favorites) and I always wonder where this attitude comes from. Listening to radio is a terrible way to hear great music. Singles are rarely the best stuff from a band, especially in Christian music. I can understand not liking it, but to me it's not anywhere near as bad as mainstream pop music.

Clearly the genre is not my go-to when I'm looking for something to listen to, but I've spent a good deal of time driving through the rural south and midwest listening to local christian rock radio stations and I have - never - been pleasantly surprised by an enjoyable christian rock song. Instead I hear the same lyrical phrases repeated in the chorus, the same boring guitar riffs. So the question I have is- why does the genre seem unable to put out music that has appeal outside a community with ideological reasons for supporting the genre?

Well, it depends. There have been successful Christian crossover songs - almost all of them come from the 1990s and early 2000s, though (in my opinion the best time of Christian music). In my opinion, as a fan of the genre, Christian music has become far less focused on issues since that time and much more focused on corporate worship. It's not hard to sell a song with a Christian theme - it's been done before. It's nearly impossible to get mainstream radio to play a song that is worship, though.

I think part of the cause is that the dominant demographic that Christian rock caters to comes from a culture where orthodoxy is valued and semiotics are a way of signaling orthodoxy. Turns of phrase and figurative language are repeated as a way of communicating that the speaker is merely perpetuating the beliefs that listener ought to already hold.

The result of this is that most songs attempt to inspire and elevate merely by aping mundane expressions of abstract theological concepts (e.g. merely repeating variations of "my lord, my god" " you are my king" "I am saved" in the chorus) rather than crafting novel ways to communicate religious experience.

I also think that Christian rock also tends to treat musical content as an unimportant requirement that acts as a backdrop to the fact that the song is Christian. That is, what is important is that the song is Christian in nature, music goes in songs so there's some music included.

I think you are conflating what Christian radio plays with 'Christian rock'. Christian radio is generally split into two camps: contemporary Christian (music with a general Christian theme) and contemporary worship (music specifically designed for corporate worship in a church). Contemporary worship is not designed to be challenging - it's worship. By nature these songs have to be fairly simple musically and lyrically, so it can be learned by the church. As someone who plays in a worship band at my church, I can say from experience that the lack of musical complexity in a lot of songs is necessary. The emphasis should not be on the band, but on God. That's not to say worship music cannot be complex or unorthodox, but you don't have nearly as much flexibility. In that context, it's a good thing.

Yes, both tend to be safe. Keep in mind, though, that this is also because Christian music in general is ecumenical - it has to appeal to all Christians, in theory at least. To give an example, Matt Maher (a Contemporary worship singer) is Catholic, but you won't find his songs talking about mass, prayers to mary and the saints, etc. You won't find a whole lot of complex theological concepts because these would prevent radio play - a song clearly expressing Calvinism, for instance, would be anathema to someone like me, who really does not like Calvinism, and would cause me to not buy the song and to flip the station.

The most challenging Christian songs will come from bands like Switchfoot, who are all Christians, write many songs with Christian themes, and receive play on Christian radio, but also have a large secular following. Ironically, this separation makes it easier to explore these themes because they aren't forced to be ecumenical. DC Talk is a rare example of a band that, at its peak, was addressing and challenging.

Finally, I'd like to include some songs I personally find to be much more profound and do a better job of challenging the audience to engage Christianity than any "christian rock" song I've heard.

Randy Described Eternity - Built to Spill

Actually plays on a trope in evangelical proselytizing, but is combined with innovative instrumentals and lyrical intonation that push the song beyond the generic descriptions of the wages of sin.



Casimir Pulaski Day - Sufjan Stevens

Vivid description of the tragedy of life underscores the challenges of living and embracing Christian faith in a world full of pain. The challenge of faith is made visceral and real through story telling rather than overt preaching.



Tha Crossroads - Bones Thugs N Harmony

An example of how different musical traditions are worth exploring. As an aside, I tend to enjoy Gospel music much much more than Christian rock.



White Cedar - The Mountain Goats

Very conventional themes of resurrection, confidence through faith, expressed using well worn religious imagery. Restrained and subdued instrumentals give the song emotional weight and a sense of integrity that makes the lyrics sincere and meaningful rather than bland and generic.