Friday, October 16, 2015

What is Christian Contemporary Music?

Don't ask me. Shocked you with that answer, didn't I. Despite the fact that I have been involved with Christian Music in some fashion for 40 years, I have no problem with admitting that I don't have a clue, and the truth is, neither does anyone else.

As a person who rates and makes criticism on the Christian Music Industry, let me tell you that of the three most useless descriptions on iTunes, two of them belong to Christian Music. They are CCM and Christian/Gospel. They appear so frequently that they give absolutely no clue as to how an artist or band will sound. Unless you're in the know, you wont. The other useless label is that of Singer/Songwriter. You would think that the title would scream folk music, you know the ubiquitous "Girl with Guitar" (Think early Amy Grant), but the title really could be placed on anyone. If Michael Sweet, lead singer of Stryper, writes his own songs, isn't he a singer/songwriter as well? Bands tend to get excluded from the label, however. (Now if we had Girl with Guitar and Glockenspiel, that changes everything).

Seriously though, the name now is applied to everything except Rock, Metal and Rap, and that is a shame. There are so many descriptive terms than CCM. And Christian/Gospel? Is it Urban Gospel?, Southern Gospel?, Just somebody who happens to be Christian and plays music? I think the 40th Anniversary of Christian Contemporary Music is the right time to retire the label. Instead of "Moving Beyond Genre" we should be moving towards them. Embrace labels such as Folk, Folk Rock, Dance, EDM, Industrial, Alternative, Rap, Hip Hop, Heavy Metal and many many more. We can finally ditch silly categories such as Pop/Contemporary at the Dove Awards. Maybe then we can get on to tackling the serious problems that plague the industry, like the recurring purges and witch hunts that happen every time someone gets caught in a "major sin". Newsflash, we all sin. We are to "Restore such a one in a spirit of meekness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted." We are not supposed to remove all trace of them from shelves and pretend they never existed, which is putting it mildly.

And while I'm at it, maybe we can retire the old "We're not a Christian Band, we're a band whose members happen to be Christians" argument. The past 40 years have showed the industry that people are happy enough to have "clean" music. They don't need to have Jesus name uttered every other line. So bands like U2, Evanescence and others could be very happy with their Christian Audiences. We've been blessed by the Music, why can't the industry recognize them properly?

That's my rant for today. I'll try not to have one a day. I've got a lot to do otherwise. Picking winners for my sweepstakes, getting the 4th Quarter Out. Starting Judging, and commenting on the recently completed Dove Awards. But still, it needed to be said. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.