I’ll chime in on the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) that Jeff Tucker comments on. I am an evangelical unlike Jeff. I am also far less sophisticated musically, (if I have any Renaissance polyphony in my large music collection I wouldn’t know it). But I have always loathed CCM.
In an attempt to reach out to fellow evangelicals that like this sort of thing I bought an Amy Grant CD some years ago. I knew her stuff was well liked and it had one song I had heard someone do that sounded reasonable. The music on the CD was done by Steven Curtis Chapman, another big name in CCM. I pride myself on my ability to enjoy the good in a wide variety of music and always try to come to something new with an open mind. But this stuff was like… Old carnival music. Except not that good.
I’ve tried to figure out why CCM is so vapid musically. Here is my working theory: This is tradition-less music. Jeff talks about how just about any genre is preferable to CCM. I agree and I think the reason is that all these genres have some kind of roots. What are the musical roots of CCM? Black gospel? No way. Rock? Not really, (except for the estimable King’s X, have any of these people listened to Led Zeppelin? The Beatles? Or even Elvis?) Jazz? Ha! Hymns? Nope. Country, old or new? Not a hint that I’ve heard. Classical? Of course not.
As my jazz piano teacher Pops Porter used to say, real music is made because it has to be made. The musician is driven to make the music by a necessity, whether external or internal. I don’t think CCM was made because anyone had to make it. They just thought “Everyone else has their pop crap, why can’t Christians have some pop crap too?”
I joke sometimes that in an attempt to have ‘Christian” versions of everything in our culture one of these days someone is going to hawk “Christian” porn. There are already “Christian” romance novels, “Christian” violent video games, etc. How long can it take?10:21 am on July 19, 2006 Email Stephen W. Carson