Why the devil has all the best tunes.

The Holy Spirit was present, and involved in, the creation of the world.

So if Christian artists, including musicians, are inspired by the Spirit how come so little of it is innovative?

Is it the fault of the musicians and singers or the fault of the audience? I think it is the latter, Christian audiences are a conservative lot.

Take the case of U2 in the ’70s and ’80s, a band with 3 out of the 4 members Christians. Their success would have been a lot less if there had been a Christian rock scene in Ireland at that time. The Christian music scene tends to be Protestant in any case, and the Christian members of U2 are Catholic.

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U2 got noticed because they were doing something different. The punk rock scene they came out of guitarists used mainly chords, U2 guitarist The Edge was using single notes. They innovated. Later, on their way to becoming  a stadium filling act, a style based on playing in time with echo was developed. U2 continued to blaze a trail.

But with no Christian music scene in Ireland, U2 had no alternative but to go to the same route as everyone else. Had they been British or American things could have been a lot different. The Christian music scene has never been about innovation, it has always been safe. Christians by and large like their music to remind them of things that they listen to in the real world, if it’s different it is a no go area.

But the conservatism of the audience is not the only factor. A lot of Christian musicians see their music as evangelistic. So if you like, for example, heavy metal music and want to evangelise in the heavy metal music scene you have to play safe and not go outside the constraints of that genre. Other bands may innovate, Christian music as an evangelistic tool will always be two years behind.

We need to get away from the idea that to be a Christian musician you have to play either worship or evangelistic music. Why can’t you just be musicians?

Which is why the music commonly heard in services and on Christian services is always derivative. This is not to say that the quality of the music is not good — some of it is excellent, but the cutting edge is not here.

So it looks like Christians who wish to be innovative have got to go outside the Christian ghetto to do it.

One thought on “Why the devil has all the best tunes.

  1. Love the post! I just like positive music..period. I think once you put a label on it you are limiting your audience which should be the opposite of what we as Christians are trying to do.

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