Music is apart of nearly everyone’s life. Be it listened to on the radio (constantly or infrequently), in the ears with IPods or other devices, in the background of our favorite TV shows and movies, in children’s toys, in schools, and in churches.
I have long wondered about the phenomena of pop music. Like so many things in our culture music rises and falls very quickly when it comes to tops on the charts. Less and less are there unmistakable melodies to hum and whistle that others would instantly catch on too. I admit, during high school and much of college I was very much into the pop music scene – buying CD’s, downloading music, and attending concerts. It was during college that I began to think that there was really nothing different other than lyrics, which even that was often beginning to sound the same.
I then thought I had learned a whole new genre of music that had a similar sound but (somewhat) better lyrics in pop-Christian music. That lasted a few years but I found myself with the same “blah” feeling.
Thankfully, I had the pleasure of having one college roommate all four years of college who constantly listened to classical music (with other things mixed in.) I wish I had listened and discussed music more when we lived together, but the impact on me did come later. After a couple of years of not really listening exclusively to that much music, I found myself fascinated and enjoying various classical and instrumental music. Much of what I listen to in my office now is this. (In a sign of my real obsession, I generally listen to sports radio while driving, or if my kids or with me whatever sing-along CD they choose.)
Today I came across a couple articles that reveal something that I suspect many knew but couldn’t place a finger on – “Pop music too loud and all sounds the same: official.” Great examination was taken and found that pop music is the same. And to be honest, this is not just in secular pop music but in Christian-pop music as well. While there are exceptions for sure, much of Christian-pop lacks the substance, style, uniqueness, and melodic harmony that is found in hymnody from throughout the centuries and contemporary hymn writers.
Perhaps it is a sign of our cultural blandness and lack of clear and substantial claims but the impact on the church certainly abounds. Singing 7-11 songs (7 words, 11 times), songs without style and doctrinal substance has already lead to a bland and generic Christianity, rather than being faithful prayers and teaching tools.
Thanks be to God for the faithful hymn writers and musicians within the Church and may they be encouraged to continue serving God’s people through writing and playing music. May it continue to bless the Church and serve God’s people in proclaiming the gifts of Christ and teaching the faith in truth and purity.