Christian music

Susan M - May 16, 2007

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.

Who else?

14 Comments »

  1. The Jets of course!

    Comment by Rusty — May 16, 2007 @ 8:53 am

  2. I like Stephanie Smith.

    Comment by Cheryl — May 16, 2007 @ 10:01 am

  3. My Dad rocks out to the band “Enoch Train”. Its a Blue Grassy, Jazz sort of take on the hymns and primary songs. If you just heard them out of the blue, you wouldn’t know they were hymns. Very good stuff. On my mission we would listen to it because we were aloud to listen to any variation on the hymns but it was later banned because it had a “rock beat”. And of course rock beats are bad because they are composed in the depths of hell – the same place they mass produce guitars.

    Also Susan,
    What do you mean Christian rock bands sucked so bad? You mean you don’t like Stryper?

    In a related story, I used to listen to this band Testament back in the early ’90s and tell my parents that it was a christian metal group. Nothing could be further from the truth….

    Comment by cj douglass — May 16, 2007 @ 10:23 am

  4. My parents wouldn’t let me listen to heavy metal, because that was the devil’s music. But they were clueless about punk rock, so Suicidal Tendencies was ok.

    Funny thing here: the singer for Suicidal Tendencies was raised LDS.

    Comment by Susan M — May 16, 2007 @ 10:42 am

  5. So was Alice Cooper.

    Wasn’t Jars of Clay a Christian Band, too? I remember liking them…

    Comment by Cheryl — May 16, 2007 @ 10:55 am

  6. Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband has had some nominal success and so has SheDaisy (I’m not sure if they have stayed close to the church or not. I’ve heard rumors… but you know how those can be.)

    Comment by Ryan — May 16, 2007 @ 12:30 pm

  7. Cheryl, Alice Cooper was raised a member of an offshoot church, not the LDS church. Pretty interesting.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Cooper
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ

    Comment by Ian M. Cook — May 16, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

  8. This article by President Benson as well as one I cannot seem to find but have heard quoted before helps explain why you woudln’t find that kind of stuff at an LDS Bookstore. Pres. Packer speaking at a BYU devotional in the 70s discussed how sacred themes should not be performed in a sacriligious manner.

    That’s a tough line to draw, so imagine no one really tries. It’s kind of like why LDS films aren’t very edgy (like Richard Dutcher explained).

    Comment by Bret — May 16, 2007 @ 1:33 pm

  9. People:

    In this area, as in all other things, Hank Hill, the propane and propane accessories salesman is the final arbiter of taste. In the episode where Bobby wants to join a Christian rock band, Hank says to the band leader:

    You’re not making Christianity better; you’re only making Rock’n'Roll worse.

    ‘Nuff said.

    Comment by Mark IV — May 16, 2007 @ 1:57 pm

  10. Susan:

    Suicidal Tendancies song “Send me your Money” was a favorite growing up. I guess one might say it’s religious.

    The Missionary who taught me the gospel is the lead singer in the band “Foolish Pete” a punk band in SLC. They are minor league only though…

    Comment by Matt W. — May 16, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

  11. Ian-
    Thanks. Count me in as another victim of urban Mormon rumor/folklore… :)

    Comment by Cheryl — May 16, 2007 @ 2:25 pm

  12. Cheryl, Jars of Clay is still a Christian band and still putting out extraordinarily great CD’s. I highly recommend them. My husband, who is cynical about most Christian music, loves them.

    Comment by Katie — May 16, 2007 @ 5:32 pm

  13. Ooh! I’m gonna have to check that out… Thanks!

    Comment by Cheryl — May 16, 2007 @ 5:43 pm

  14. I’ve been unimpressed with the majority of LDS Pop Cds I have heard as well as most of the LDS themed movies. I am still hoping they will improve… Years ago when I first joined the church, they were just beginning to publish LDS fiction novels. They were absolutely awful! Some people still criticize that genre but honestly they have improved LDS fiction a lot over the years.

    Comment by AJ — June 7, 2007 @ 12:14 pm

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