Each year I create a “top 10” list of that year’s albums and songs. The process (because it’d be too simple just to choose albums without using a scientific method) involves taking over a 100 albums and judging how catchy they are, how many songs are on the album, the music, how original the album is, the lyrical content (not necessarily the message, more so how a message is conveyed), things such as album artwork or sales (sorry Taylor Swift) aren’t taken into account. Each year there are albums that surprise me, both in a negative way and a positive way and each year it amazes me how many christian albums end up in the “Ehhh” or “Wow it took months and this is what they chose to release?” category. It’s not that these albums sneak in drug references or anything un-christian, the albums are obviously about God, but the way in which they are produced is done in a horrible way. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve listened to a secular band up against a christian band and thought “Wow the secular band sold drugs, sex, and fame, better than the christians sold Jesus!”. Why is this? Are drugs, sex, and fame really king? Is Jesus or the idea of a God just ignorant to begin with? Of course not! But then, why is the opposite being found in the artistry?
If you’ve ever had a discussion with me about music or entertainment, chances are when we got to the christian genre, I had some harsh things to say. My reasoning is: if you’re creating something to reflect the most creative Being to ever live, why not make something of substance? Whether it’s film, music, or literature, christians have a bad habit of producing subpar stuff. Movies that have horrible writing, music that is filled with words, yet says nothing, books that take 300 pages to convey a message that could be said and explained in a sentence. All of these things are frustrating, but how do we combat it? That is where I come to a crossroads. The three ways I’ve come to combat it are: Saying sarcastic things about the works, trying to create my own works, and lastly, just accepting it. The problem is, all three have drawbacks. I can say every sarcastic and negative thing I want about the christian entertainment culture, but at the end where does it get me? Sure it gets laughs, but chances are no one is going to take time to hear out the guy who’s just bashing their products. Creating my own is fun, until I look around at the obstacles. The three writers who shaped my style of writing the most are: Tim Skipper, John Reuben, and Aaron Weiss, all three are fantastic and embody what honest and passionate lyrics should be and I look at their works and think “if people that talented cannot overcome the obstacles, how can the random guy from Neeses, overcome em’?”. And just accepting it is all fine until one day, you realize you’re just lying to yourself and that’s a feeling that is hard to keep bearing. When I stand back and look at the solutions it’s kind of obvious that there is not just one simple solution and I think that’s the point.
I think at the end it’s not just looking at fixing the problem with just one tool to momentarily fix the problem, but rather, using multiple tools to correctly fix the problem. I think sharing opinions, when done right, can really help. I believe that doing our part to produce an alternative style can help. I believe that meeting artists half way can help as well. When it comes down to it the point isn’t the music or film, it’s about God and the Son He sent for us and we cannot make it all about the music, but at the same time though why would want to bring a cheap offering to Him?