Monday, November 06, 2006

I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good!, and other songs of inspiration

Okay, so I've read and heard over the years about how badly music labeled as "Christian Rock" sucks. From "God Is Doing a Nu Thang!" (emphasis on the Thang) by DC Talk, to Stryper (and whatever songs they sang that people liked... I wasn't one of them), we've heard the vile criticisms. The latest great criticism came from South Park, the episode where Cartman decides to form a Christian band called "Faith Plus One". His secret? He takes songs from popular secular songs, and just switches some words of affection for more spiritual word (i.e. - Jesus for love).

However, rather than sit here and high-brow my way through yet another critique about how Christian rock is a business, and it's all bad copies of secular music (can you say Barlow Girls ala Evanescence?), and they're all in it for the money -- by the way, YES all of these criticisms are true -- I decided to highlight some songs that stood out in a time when Christian Rock was considered, well... just too gosh darn stinkin' controversial.

It is my opinion that the best era in Christian rock lasted from the mid' 1980's to the mid' 1990's. Back then, Christian rock music performers were on the fringe of both the secular world and the Christian music world. In other words, they were not widely listened to and were, for the most part, forced to seek distribution through independent labels. The result? The kind of freedom allowed to many indie artists to express themselves without the restraints usually placed on artists on major labels to fit the Jesus mold. The music was fresh and creative, and the lyrics had a depth and honesty that sometimes made the listener feel uncomfortable.

Over the next few blogs, I want to highlight some of the great songs, and their lyrics, that came out during that golden age of Christian rock.

The first song I picked was written by Steve Taylor, from his album "I Predict 1990". The song was later covered by rock duo Flemming and John, which was the first time I heard (their version is actually better, but props to Steve for birthing the song). The song was inspired by Flannery O'Connor. The original recording was done in London with a chamber orchestra.

Harder To Believe Than Not To

Nothing is colder than the winds of change
where the chill numbs the dreamer till a shadow remains
among the ruins lies your tortured soul
was it lost there
or did your will surrender control?

Shivering with doubts that were left unattended
so you toss away the cloak that you should have mended
don't you know by now why the chosen are few?
it's harder to believe than not to
harder to believe than not to

It was a confidence that got you by
when you know you believed it, but you didn't know why
no one imagines it will come to this
but it gets so hard when people don't want to listen

Shivering with doubts that you left unattended
so you toss away the cloak that you should have mended
don't you know by now why the chosen are few?
it's harder to believe than not to

Some stay paralyzed until they succomb
others do what they feel, but their senses are numb
some get trampled by the pious throng
still they limp along

Are you sturdy enough to move to the front?
is it nods of approval or the truth that you want?
and if they call it a crutch, then you walk with pride
your accusers have always been afraid to go outside

They shiver with doubts that were left unattended
then they toss away the cloak that they should have mended
you know by now why the chosen are few
it's harder to believe than not to...

I believe

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