Bad Christian Music

Justin Taylor linked to a YouTube video of some really bad music from an Emergent Christian group. You can see and hear it here. Though I sympathize with the frustration one might have with this kind of a song, we need to remember that Emergents are far from having the market cornered on bad Christian music. See below for one of the all time low-lights.

36 Responses to Bad Christian Music

  1. Trent G. April 3, 2008 at 12:39 pm #

    Denny, thanks. I had worked the last twenty-some years trying to get that music video out of my head. I was visiting a friend’s church and their Sunday school teacher actually showed it to our class (I was about eight at the time). Somehow I came away thinking that Carman was just one of the bad guys (you know, black hat and all). Anyway, can I have your phone number, so when I can”t sleep tonight I can call you. Then maybe you can come over and shoot the demon of sleeplessness for me.

  2. Zach Nielsen April 3, 2008 at 12:45 pm #

    I want my 4:24 back.

  3. Barry April 3, 2008 at 1:04 pm #

    Denny,
    Don’t even pretend that you are not A2J.

    Barry

  4. Barry April 3, 2008 at 1:07 pm #

    OK, this may sound bad, but I prefer “Satan Bite the Dust” to the emergent song. Seriously.

    Barry

  5. Euphranor April 3, 2008 at 1:08 pm #

    That is just bad music. Nothing Christian about it.

  6. Mark Gibson April 3, 2008 at 1:28 pm #

    I remember going to a Carman concert with my youth group when I was in the seventh grade. The one song that I really remember was “Who’s In The House.”

  7. Paul April 3, 2008 at 1:31 pm #

    Ditto Euphranor. I like the spirit of the lyrics, but lyrically, it’s lacking. Harmonically, it’s severely lacking, and rhythmically, it’s milquetoast.

    The Sketches of Spain (google it) bridge was hilariously bad.

    The opening bass line is kinda thumpin’ though.

    Unfortunately, I think the Christian world is doomed to the fact that saving Phil Keaggy and precious few others, all Christian music written in America pretty much stinks.

  8. Mark Gibson April 3, 2008 at 1:37 pm #

    Link to Who’s In The House:

  9. Benjamin A April 3, 2008 at 2:03 pm #

    Ditto Paul.

    However, I personally don’t like southern gospel either. To each their own.

  10. David Rogers April 3, 2008 at 2:12 pm #

    The best version of “Satan Bite the Dust” is by the Swirling Eddies off of their Sacred Cows CD.

  11. JB April 3, 2008 at 2:35 pm #

    At least it is written in Papyrus font, the one thing upon which the Emergents seem to be unified.

  12. JNG April 3, 2008 at 3:30 pm #

    Why does all Christian music written in America pretty much stink? There is some great sounding Christian music out there and some great Biblically sound lyrics.

    That music posted by Denny was bad, I couldn’t make it all way through either link.

  13. Darius April 3, 2008 at 3:57 pm #

    I thought the latter one reminded me of some bad vampire movie by Robert Rodriguez…

  14. Steve April 3, 2008 at 7:24 pm #

    Well done.. loved the background melodies from Bonanza and the Wild Wild West…
    reminds me of when on a rip to the USA, I took my family on a detour to see Dodge City… promised much, delivered an old cow town..
    thanks for the laugh..
    I enjoyed it.
    Steve

  15. rach April 3, 2008 at 9:54 pm #

    serious question-for the emergent song is it the music/arrangement you don’t like or the words?

  16. rach April 3, 2008 at 9:56 pm #

    and how bout you barry clyde?

    i know i know nothing about music-but the emergent one is sort of catchy-don’t you think?

  17. jigawatt April 3, 2008 at 10:55 pm #

    That “Satan bite the dust” video reminded me of an old Degarmo and Key video called 666.

  18. Paul April 3, 2008 at 10:56 pm #

    rach —

    yes.

  19. Denny Burk April 3, 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    Jigawatt (in #19),

    That video was stinking awesome!

    Let’s see who can come up with the corniest video. Here’s another contender.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJQVlVHsFF8

    Much luf,
    Denny

  20. Paul April 3, 2008 at 11:19 pm #

    I was looking for the original video of Tom Jones’ If I Only Knew, at which point, I would win any corny/cheesy contest hands down, as not only does it features Tom Jones rapping, but the video is ridiculous and features a dog that walks himself.

    So, anyway, the live version, which still features Tom Jones rapping…

    The only problem is that Tom’s live band is a juggernaut of awesomenss…

  21. Denny Burk April 3, 2008 at 11:34 pm #

    Paul,

    Hillarious!

    Denny

  22. Bryan L April 4, 2008 at 8:57 am #

    JNG,
    Don’t get too worked up about it. Although I probably disagree with Paul on music tastes and I doubt he really likes the styles I’m into nor would even want to call most of it music, big deal.

    Paul obviously really loves music and it occupies a bigger part of his life than most people. It’s something he’s passionate about. He’d probably even refer to himself as a music snob. I imagine you are not or else you would have equally opinionated views about music, which it doesn’t sound like you do or you’d probably be going back and forth about different artists and musician. So don’t really let it get to you. It’s no big deal. Take into consideration the source and that music is Paul’s passion and livelihood. I’m not gonna argue with a chef about food. I think the same kind of applies here.

    He is right about one thing though, most of the CCM stuff is not very good and often panders to those who aren’t really music fans but just casual listeners who will listen to and buy whatever is given to them. It’s not different than most radio friendly rock (or radio friendly any kind of music).

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  23. ralph w April 4, 2008 at 9:04 am #

    my freind made this video.

  24. JNG April 4, 2008 at 10:10 am #

    Bryan you may not argue with a chef about food and how it is made, but you don’t need to be chef to know what tastes good, nor do I have to be a musician to know what sounds good TO ME. Saying music isn’t subjective is erroneous in my opinion.

  25. Darius April 4, 2008 at 10:15 am #

    JNG, you are right… to an extent. Apply that to modern art, where “originality” is god, so that artistic taste is put on the shelf. I can confidently say that people who like “Piss Christ” don’t just have a different taste in art, they are fools. Some taste isn’t subjective or relative.

  26. Bryan L April 4, 2008 at 10:34 am #

    Yeah JNG but if my daughter tried to argue with me that McDonalds hamburgers are the best hamburgers in the world I’d question how many different hamburger joints she’s been to, if she’s ever made hamburgers herself and what she thanks makes a good hamburger. Some opinions are just more subjective than others and that is more true the less informed and knowledgeable a person is about a topic.

    Some people just know more about certain things and their opinion carries more weight than others, even on more subjective things like art, movies, literature and music. It doesn’t mean their opinion is the only one that matters, it just means their opinion carries more weight in a land of non-experts.

    Just saying…

    Bryan

  27. Paul April 4, 2008 at 11:25 am #

    JNG,

    I’m sorry that I offended. If I’m not mistaken, there was another post of yours that got axed, and there was much to discuss there.

    But, anyway, I have to disagree, mostly, with your idea that the idea of an objective standard in the arts is erroneous, and frankly, I think it’s dangerous to our culture as a whole.

    Darius is right, Piss Christ is the end result of a culture who applies laissez faire values to its art. The artist tried explaining it away in a number of different ways, but at the end of the day, it’s a crucifix placed in a bottle of urine, it takes no talent and it shouldn’t be considered art by anyone. It’s an insult to the world of visual art.

    It’s already happened in the visual art world, it’s happening in the aural art world, and it’s just a matter of time until it happens to the printed word.

    All because art is subjective. Be careful what you wish for, JNG.

  28. JNG April 4, 2008 at 12:57 pm #

    I am a black and white person. I don’t like much art. Not my thing. Art to me is a great gun dog on point, a thunderous flush, and well crafted firearms making their mark. Doesn’t mean that art I don’t like is bad, just that it doesn’t do anything particularly for me. Musical taste is subjective in my opinion. Your opinion is that it is not. That is ok doesn’t mean either of us is right. It means we have varying opinions. Just like we do about music. I realize there has to be a starting place. We can’t compare off beat, horrendous sounding music with some of the greats, but musical taste is very much subjective. I like all different kinds of music from Christian, to country, to rock. However, I hear some songs that are “popular” and think how on earth is this song popular? I think man that just stinks, but obviously a lot of people like it. You can argue that it is because they aren’t educated and to a degree that could be true, but they obviously enjoy the sounds they are hearing or else they wouldn’t listen. Not everyone is going to be as passionate about music and art as you and that is OK too. Doesn’t mean they aren’t intelligent individuals just means they have different likes and dislikes.

    I understand what you are saying about the technical side of things. Obviously your taste as a musician is going to be more refined to a certain expectation. However, that does not mean that what you deem below your level of expectation is bad. It also does not mean that someone who likes it has bad taste. They might, but it is not certain. You see it gets back to opinions which are subjective.

    Bryan, lets not play that game. Obviously there is a basis from which to begin and a somewhat reasonable amount of experience is neccessary. We are all adults here (I think) and have some basis for our knowledge and or opinions. I think I covered the degree of education portion above with Paul.

  29. Darius April 4, 2008 at 3:12 pm #

    JNG, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Theodore Dalrymple, but here are a couple of his essays that discuss in depth why taste and opinions aren’t all merely subjective or relative.

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/13_3_oh_to_be.html

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/8_1_urbanities-trash.html

  30. Paul April 4, 2008 at 5:02 pm #

    Both of those articles have an English point of view, but in both, you could change the names and locations and they could easily be about America. Change the woman who murdered kids to the guy who killed the cop in Philly, and it’s all the same all over again.

    And yes, a decline in the arts dictates a decline in culture. And a willingness to let it decline by being so willing to call art a subjective thing is where it all starts. All of the sudden, artists no longer need to be schooled, and no longer need to learn their artform by listening to the greats and mimicing before finding their own voice. Originality now becomes virtually an impossibility unless one plays the shock value card, and voila: suddenly Marilyn Manson and people painting pictures of murderers suddenly get some traction.

    It’s no shock to me that Marilyn Manson never caught on in Europe, where art is appreciated, taught and instilled in the youth of that continent, from Spain to Russia and all points in between.

    But here, he was a beacon of passion, both for the kids that didn’t know any better and the parents that did nothing to stop just such an artist from coming to the fore in the first place.

    So, to say that art is subjective is to say that culture is subjective. And to say that is to really throw out any reasonable arguments for a more Christian worldview in America.

    Not saying that our views on art dictate our views on culture, but they do reflect them.

    In other words, if you make no attempt to engage in the “higher arts”, you have no business complaining when your culture crumbles around you.

    If you don’t like it, do something about it. But that something ain’t shrugging your shoulders. Not by a long shot.

  31. Paul April 4, 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    hmmm, all of my comments are getting moderated again.

    liberal posts do not equal spam posts, Denny 🙂

  32. Quixote April 4, 2008 at 9:14 pm #

    Paul said, “And yes, a decline in the arts dictates a decline in culture.”

    Hogwash. (How’s that for an educated, articulate rebuttal?)

    Perhaps a decline in the arts INDICATES a decline in culture, but when it comes to dictating, I’d wager that you’ve got it backwards. A decline in *culture* DICTATES a decline in the *arts*.

    As a side note, I think one point JNG was trying to make (among many that seem to go misunderstood), is that while we can recognize certain standards as prequisites for “art,” that doesn’t mean we (as individuals) have to LIKE said art.

    For example, I can readily admit the craft and skill of many fine poets, and not care enough about their particular poems to read them in my spare time. Sure, I can recognize merit based on established literary form, but darn it! I JUST DON’T LIKE THE POEM, PEOPLE!

    The same can be said for visual arts, musical arts, theatre, etc. etc. And THAT is what (I believe) JNG was trying to say about art being SUBJECTIVE.

    And as for all the snobs of any sort out there, get over yourselves. What is a SNOB.? Someone no one befriends, sweetheart!

  33. Paul April 4, 2008 at 10:18 pm #

    Quioxte,

    one of my favorite quotes, although I don’t know who said it is this…

    “Let me write a nation’s songs, and I don’t care who writes it’s laws.”

    It’s a very true quote, and it gets to the heart of what I am saying. Remember that the art that is memorable (even Piss Christ) is on the cutting edge and telling of things to come. That’s why I’m hardly shocked that Pollock’s art in the 40’s and 50’s led to “the journey is more important than the destination” mindset of the 60’s, or that Andy Warhol’s silkscreens in the late 60’s led to the pre-fab, plastic, corporate run 80’s and 90’s.

    So, when art sucks, we’re not that far off from the rest of the culture following suit.

    Insofar as having or not having to like fine art, sure, you’re right, that’s on you. But I will say that one of the major failings of the uh-mur-cun schools, both public and private is their unwillingness to educate their students about that art. In school (and I went to a fairly well rated school, mind you), I never had to read Moby Dick, Walden, anything by Hemmingway or Ayn Rand or any of the American classics. I was told that jazz was a dead artform, and I was told that composers like Messiaen and Stockhausen destroyed classical music and was laughed at when I asked about Frank Zappa.

    It’s that kind of ignorance and apathy towards the arts that leads to a blind subjectiveness to the arts that leads to a subjectiveness towards the whole of a culture.

    In other words, if you can understand the nooks and crannies of that poem that you hate, Quioxte, then fine, hate it all you want. But you know that technically, it’s a good poem. More power to you (and to us all).

    But when people blindly write off art and say it does nothing for them, then really, they’re writing off so much more, and that’s the scary part.

    I know that my daughter, as she comes of age, won’t like everything that I like. And she might just hate it simply because I like it. That’s part of being a kid. But I guarantee you that she’ll know and understand the arts, and therefore the culture that gave birth to that art far better than any of her friends. And it WILL be to her benefit.

    And knowing what makes a good song and what makes a bad song, I am pretty sure that she’ll hate the majority of CCM artists even more than I do.

  34. Jeremy Hobbs April 5, 2008 at 2:54 pm #

    I hope i’m not too late to the “worst music video” challenege. If you can sit through this whole video, congratulations, you aren’t human.

  35. Luke Britt April 8, 2008 at 9:15 am #

    So is Carmen’s view of the atonement Christus Victor?

  36. Darius April 9, 2008 at 11:50 am #

    I think it’s Christus Earp.

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