Why does Christian Pop Music Suck?

A discussion about Christian pop music accidentally started up over in the games forum in a thread about educational games with this post

Then I said this:

Then, Jason said this:

I think that Christian Pop generally sucks. A lot of people out there obviously disagree with that of course.

But I really don’t think that the reason that Christian Pop sucks is becase of an ulterior motive of evangelism or something.

I think you’re misunderestimating the Christian Pop star. I believe that these people are Christians and they are musicians, and they just put the two together and it’s all very organic, just like your non-Christian rock musicians.

If this “ulterior motive” reasoning was correct, then why do so many people consider political music, folk music, protest music, and other types of speechy music so good?

It would have to be a priori bad since it has an “ulterior motive.”

My guess is that you guys don’t like evangelizing and missionaries and so you immediately hit on that as the reason that Christian Pop is bad.

Come on…fess up.

Oh, that’s simple.

Christian Band X (named for a secular-enough-sounding bible passage reference of course) writing all their songs about God is just like if Elvis Costello were to write all of his songs about Allison.

Jars of Clay didn’t suck to much - or at least they had a semi hit single with Flood.

Don’t get me wrong, I worship Satan like the rest of you guys, but Jars of Clay isn’t to terrible. All other Christian music I’ve ever heard has sucked though.

My reasons for thinking Christian Pop sucks are the following:

In music, style = substance to some extent.

Rock/pop music was created so that its style would match its substance, sex, drugs, going crazy, being a teenager, having angst, and generally being pissed off or whacked out.

Christian music is supposed to be about either worshipping God, expositing about God, or talking about being a Christian. The substance of this music does not match well with the style of rock and pop.

That’s why most people in church still sing hymns.


I have no idea what music buffs think and I have no idea what the heck people are talking about when they write about music (I read an article about Beethoven’s 9th today on Slate and I can’t tell you even a single idea from the article…it was all gibberish to me) but I can tell you that I believe that style=substance to some extent in music.

So don’t bother using a bunch of music speak to befuddle me. It won’t work because I won’t have a frigging clue what you’re saying.

Use English please.

I’ve liked a few tunes with Christian messages. But by and large, most Christian pop musicians get into the business as evangelists first (sometimes groomed by their respective churches) and musicians second. Kinda like how pop twits like Avril Lavigne enter the industry as marketable tarts with a prefab attitude first and musical ability second.

However, in the case of most prefab pop acts, they’re backed by big music’s best and brightest hook manufacturers, the same of which cannot be said for most Christian music acts.

On the other hand, while I don’t usually like most gospel, there’s no denying that many of those cats have some serious musical ability. In that case, yes, I do find the message a bit irritating, but it seems honest enough and backed by enough musical talent that I occasionally find myself enjoying it. I’ve never been able to really say the same for Christian pop, rap, or nu-metal.

On the other hand, most people don’t think gospel music sucks. Or at least they’re not usually willing to blithely dismiss it as categorically insipid. Maybe you’re just not listening to the right christian pop music. If you relied on nothing but what gets played on top 40 radio, regular pop music would probably seem irredeemably awful too. In case you think this is leading up to a suggestion of some good christian pop, it’s not.

I wrote my message at the exact same time that Erickson wrote his.

Pedro the Lion is pretty good. As is Low, but they are Mormons.

And Low is from Duluth! YEAH!

Doug’s explanation is much better than mine.

Um, Jason, gospel has the same “ulterior” message as Christian pop - find the Lord, get saved, et al.

As for popular music, there’s another ulterior motive: getting you to buy large numbers of albums featuring some barely-clad Lolita or a moon-faced sequence of femmie lads.

If you’re going to argue a hatred for Christian pop on the grounds that it suffers from all of the evils pop music in general suffers from, that’s fine. But singling out Christian music for simply having an “ulterior” motive seems a bit disingenuous: might as well just agree with Spoofy and say that the specific motive - the Christian message in conjunction with pop’s lowbrow musical appeal - is what irritates you.

I think part of the reason Christian music “sucks” is that it has a smaller talent pool to draw from. So the publishers have to dig down a little deeper, closer to the bottom of the barrel.

Well, you have to be careful what you think of as the full set of Christian music. The only CCM I’d heard was pretty “top 40” oriented, and while there are some folks I liked (Jars of Clay is decent, Phil Keagy is an incredible guitar player, etc.) I didn’t like most CCM any more than I like most secular top 40.

But my son has started listening to a vaiety of CCM that is in the punk/alternative, etc. area and there are some surprising sounds there. A good amount of it is aimed at teens, and thus it has a lot of the same “feel” of rebellion, frustration, peer problems, etc. that traditional rock does - the proposed solutions are different, but it doesn’t have the “happy happy” feel.

Personally I’ve enjoyed some Christian music quite a bit… Petra, Whiteheart and DC Talk to name a few. I was in a Christian band myself about 15 years ago. Made an album too. But, of course, it sucked! :)

And there are those ‘mainstream’ christian acts, that hit Billboards top 10: Amy Grant, Stryper, Jars of Clay and, uh, well I guess that’s it.

I think Sixpence None the Richer may be a Christian band too. And they’re not too bad.


Well they say they’re Christian.

Then again, this guy doesn’t think they are, but he doesn’t think an CCM is, so therefore, he includes POD in that category of music that thinks its christian but because of <insert chapter:verse> its not.

Some of Creed’s lyrics are supposedly of an Xian bent as well.
IMO Xian music has improved since I was a kid. Back then, it was hard to find any to begin with. Or at least, there wasn’t as much selection, especially Xian rock. There was plenty of gospel.

Seems a lot easier to find nowadays. More distribution channels, more potential sales, better profits, more money, attracting better bands. And also more publishers looking for talent, giving us a better selection.

Sixpence is a wierd case. They had a good amount of crossover success and now they’re apparently trying to totally convert to normal secular pop.

As the lead singer puts it though, everybody stigmatizes them as a Christian band and it really makes them mad. I read this on ChristianityToday.com somewhere.

Anyway, I’m sure they’ll end up in the same circle of heck as all the other crossover people with Amy Grant et al. :wink:

Michael W. Smith, Russ Taff, and Mylon LeFever and Brokenheart were concerts I attended and listened to on occasion because of the group I ran with. I was a kinder, gentler (and more gullible) soul then and was much more forgiving. Today, I have never heard a Christian artist that sings about the issues I am concerned about and so I have no interest in them. This is probably related to what others have mentioned regarding the topics they limit themselves to.

I should admit that I’m sure there’s got to be a few examples of people who are manufactured into Christian pop stars specifically to serve an evangelism purpose. I just don’t think this is the normal scenario.

I think Jason and others are saying that this is the rule rather than the exception which I just don’t buy.

Also, as Cathcart says, “Most of everything sucks.”