Do you know how sometimes, something just feels downright weird? A bit wrong? To the extent that your stomach does somersaults just thinking about it. Like fingernails scratching down a blackboard, for example.
How about this. You’re eating dinner and your fork hits a filling – that’s just… argh! You’re chomping on chicken and you hit cartilage. You’ve got an itchy ear and you wiggle your finger that little bit too deep. You dive into a pool and water goes up your nose. You follow your retarded friend’s advice and you put your tongue on a battery.
Sweet baby jeebus all of those things feel weird. But without a single shadow of a doubt, they absolutely, positively, pale in comparison to the way I feel about Christian Rock Music.
Please note for the record that I said Christian Rock Music. I like plenty of music about God – I love Marvin Gaye’s Christian stuff on What’s Going On, I love The Impressions, Slow Train Coming is one my favourite Bob Dylan albums, loads of stuff. I’m talking squarely about your Hillsong crowd, the power ballad odes to the heavens, the ones that sound like they should be played in the end credits of a rubbish 80s Van Damme flick (ah, who am I kidding, there are no rubbish 80s Van Damme flicks).
I really just don’t get it. Christian music has such a powerful history. Gospel, for example, is pivotal. Pretty much all of modern music spawned from Gospel. Gospel birthed the blues, which birthed Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Rock and Roll, Funk, Disco. Then some genius started looping drum breaks and birthed Hip Hop; Disco fused with Funk and became House music, which subsequently splintered into a zillion different styles… Techno, Trance, Electronica. In effect, all modern music, to a certain extent, has traces of Christian music embedded in its DNA.
So why the sub-grunge cock rock? I just don’t get it. In every ‘hip’ church I’ve ever been to the youth revel in the fact they’re allowed to play Hillsong in Church. Having drums in church is like a revolution to these guys, and they take that momentum and use it to play… half arsed Rock music that sounds like Pearl Jam post-lobotomy?It’s not as if Christians have terrible taste in music. On any other day of the week you’ll find Christians listening to the exact same music as everyone else – so why do they tolerate this garbage? Is it habit? Loyalty? Works?
And why do Christians create these abominations? Go to any Church across Australia and worldwide and you’ll find a wealth of musical talent. I’m constantly amazed by the fact that almost everyone who attends any Church I’ve ever visited can play at least one instrument, and most have some sort of musical prodigy in their midst. So why aren’t these guys leading the charge – why does Christian music continue to mire itself in mediocrity?
I think it may just be the subject matter. Hillsong music, by its very nature, is evangelical, it’s used to convert hearts and minds. In that respect it’s only a couple of notches above a jingle used to sell, oh I don’t know… toothpaste? Whereas Gospel music, to an extent, was a response to slavery, Hillsong is all about eliciting belief in God and nothing more. And ask any musician, having to write a song specifically to sell some sort of product will only result in piss poor music.
I honestly don’t know what would enable me to enjoy this kind of Christian music. Maybe honesty? Hillsong’s music feels a bit off to me, it feels hollow and I can’t get anything from it. Maybe you have to believe in God, maybe I’m just missing something completely, but honestly at this stage I’d rather listen to fingernails on a chalkboard; I’d rather chew through cartilage than suffer through another Hillsong cock rock ode to the heavens.
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