Wednesday, July 05, 2006

But can you dance to it?

Let me say right away, that I love music. I listen as often as I can, and I really only have one volume setting: loud! I prefer driving music with a message. But that's at home.

At church... Well that's bit different. The songs I enjoy there are more mellow. Not that these are my favorite kinds of songs, but they are the best of what I have to choose from. My choices are somewhat slim.

That isn't a reflection on the worship leaders in my church; they have the same limited selection I do. The reality is that the music typically produced for radio has thick melodies and sickly sweet sentimentality for lyrics.

There are exceptions of course. On the side of the fast-paced, "Days of Elijah" has a nice hook, it has energy, and it calls us to both look forward and see the future in the present; a nice inaugurated eschatology. There is a slow tune called "In Christ alone" which has a very nice tone of forensic justification.

I find a lot of worship music is the love song type of ballad. Which is fine if you're a woman or a really sensitive, in touch with your inner child male. But for those of us who prefer a more "barbarian way" of doing things, these songs don't do all that they could.

I want to stress that the problem isn't ballads as such. I like ballads. What I don't like are ballads that could have been written fort top 40 radio in both music style AND lyric. If I can change a worship tune to a top 40 ballad by changing 'Lord" to "girl" or something, then there is a problem. Ballads like "How Deep the Father's Love For Us" use biblical themes.

That's what we need more of. I used to defend contemporary music on the basis of precedent. Luther took bar tunes, songs relevant to the people he was trying to reach, and injected them with theologically significant themes and lyrics. We only do the first part of that now.

Time for a correction.

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