When I was a kid a group of gospel singers came and performed at my Lutheran church. It wasn’t during communion, but in the evening, if I remember right. My parents bought an album from them which I listened to over and over. My favorite song on it was “Oh Happy Day.” I wish I had a recording of that now.
When I was in junior high my family stopped attending church. We moved away from the congregation we’d always attended, and at the same time the pastor retired. Rather than make a long drive to the old church with a new pastor, we tried out some congregations closer to us, but my parents never found one they liked. After that, the only spiritual experiences I had involved music. Specifically, my favorite band in the world, U2.
There was their song “Tomorrow,” about the second coming. And of course, “With a Shout (Jerusalem),” which says, “I wanna go to the foot of Mount Zion, to the foot of he who made me see.” Among numerous others—I could go on like this for days.
There were other rock bands with Christian tones, too. Like the Waterboys, with a song called “December:”
December fell deep in the bleak
Mid-winter time when Jesus Christ
Howled a baby saviour’s howl
Primal truth as pure as ice
And though we crucified him on a cross
And dragged his name from payer to curse
He was able to go anywhere
He was almost one of us!
But you know, back then being labelled a Christian band was almost a curse. Christian rock had a horrible connotation to it. Mainly because all the Christian rock bands sucked so bad. But also probably because being Christian just wasn’t cool.
It’s not that way anymore. There’s actually a lot of hard rock Christian bands that are good. If you heard them, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish them from a lot of other bands around, anyway. My kids were really into one a few years back called Thousand Foot Krutch. They sounded like any other nu metal band, except their songs were all very positive. They weren’t in-your-face with their Christianity, either. I wouldn’t have known they were a Christian band if my kids hadn’t told me. (If you read their lyrics you’d know, though.)
I get the feeling it’s not the same case with Mormon music. I’ve never actually heard any of the Mormon pop groups. Is there anyone who is good? I’m talking artists you’d buy from an LDS bookstore.
And what about LDS artists who aren’t necessarily making religious-themed music, but are good? Rhapsidiom posted awhile back on two LDS artists, Brooke White and Jacob Luttrell. They’re worth checking out. And then there’s Low, one of my favorite bands on the planet.
The Osmonds, believe it or not, have a rad song called “Crazy Horses,” from their psychedelic phase.