The radio in my truck has six preset buttons, and since I don’t have a CD player, I push those buttons a lot.
Well, most of them.
The six presets on my truck radio are as follows:
- #1 – Local Christian radio
- #2 – ESPN radio
- #3 – “Adult Alternative” (Wide variety- Springsteen to Mumford; Black Crowes to Decemberists)
- #4 – Pop/Top 40
- #5 – 80s Music
- #6 – Local news/weather/etc
I spend 90% of my time on numbers two and three.
I never push #1. I just don’t like most Christian music.
There are a few bands and artists I like, but for the most part it all sounds the same to me. Generic, full of cliches, boring. Lots of talk about “opening doors” or “moving mountains.” Lots of songs where the message is “you can do it, girlfriend, because God loves you.” And I just don’t like it.
And I consider myself a very musically diverse person. My iPod has Jason Mraz, Jay-Z, James Taylor, and Jane’s Addiction. I grew up in a house that had albums- vinyl albums – by the Beatles, Willie Nelson, Jimi Hendrix, Kansas, Ray Charles and dozens more. I know music. I love music. But I don’t like most Christian music.
And I know what some of you are thinking- “But Jared, it’s about the message. The message is what’s important.” OK, but most of the time the message is packaged really terribly. I like to drink cream soda, but if you pour it out of a shoe we’ve got problems.
I agree that the message is important. In fact, Christian music has the most important message of all. So shouldn’t the style, creativity, and delivery of the message reflect how important it is? If it’s the most crucial message on the planet, shouldn’t it be delivered in the most powerful, moving, beautiful way possible?
Instead, what we get is a hundred bands that sound alike. A hundred pretty girls in their mid-twenties singing about blessings and being beautiful. A hundred songs with the same lyrics and same chords and same instruments and it bores me to tears.
So, I choose to listen to music that I like instead. Stuff that makes me sing loud and drum on my steering wheel. Songs with clever lines and weird melodies. Odd rhythms, unique voices.
Like I said, there are some Christian musicians I really like. And to prove that you can be both Christian and beautifully creative: