“Artistic Brilliance” Is Not What Christian Rock Fans Want

By Jeangagnon [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
By Jeangagnon [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
Christian radio personality Brant Hansen discussed Christian rock’s appeal in an article in the Washington Post.

For many people, contemporary Christian music (CCM), although pleasing to the ear, is over-produced, derivative and clichéd. However, people like the genre because they feel better after they tune in to it. In addition to radio, Christian live music shows frequently see the gathering of a large number of people. It is not surprising that many evangelical organizations invite prominent names in Christian rock, like Lecrae, a Grammy-Award winning rapper and Crowder, the folk-tronica star.

“Artistic Brilliance” Is Not What Christian Rock Fans Want[/tweetthis]

Critics have a lot to say against CCM. They allege that Christian music is not only unreal, it is vacuous, formulaic and has zero talent. In fact, an analyst of religious identity said that Christian music fails as it is insufficiently negative. The critic pointed out that the package is too sunny, with positive words like “joy” and “hope” frequently appearing in the lyrics. Life’s aspects of darkness, sorrow and pain hardly make an appearance. Similarly, words like hell and judgment are also much less prominent. To give an example, Christian artists rarely write a song concerning bad marriages or angst directed against the government.

Christian radio stations have only grown over the years. If one analyzes the radio listener data from Seattle, Atlanta and Dallas along with other American cities, these radio stations pull in a large number of listeners. No wonder they occupy multiple positions among the top five rankings. The numbers are there to prove it: CCM attracted 11 million listeners in 2008-which subsequently increased to 16.7 million by 2015.

There are a number of excellent reasons for the success of such music. Radio executives have cottoned on to the fact that people access music for particular moods and particular needs. This is the reason why many radio stations offer programs with names like “After Work Run” and the “Morning Acoustic Chill.” This particular genre is not concerned about high art. Christian radio stations understand that people tune in to CCM as they are uplifting and encouraging. Listeners are acutely aware of surviving in a judgmental world and they need a reminder of a God loving them and wanting them despite their many shortcomings. The listeners want encouragement, which CCM provides. If one analyzes, then it is apparent that judgment is unremarkable. Morality is in the air we breathe and it is present in every culture, religious and irreligious. A good CCM makes the listener feel better.


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