I was involved in an interesting discussion the other day. Apparently I have been missing out on the evolution of Christian Music. No longer is it a musical backwater. Several billions spent each year on every genre. There's everything from Bible thumping metal to Country without crying in my beer, my dog died and she's a two bit whore lyrics. Instead the lyrics bring the Lord's message to us through music more hip to the times. The tunes that were sure to put us to sleep before we warmed the pews on Sunday are dead in the water. Never to be resurrected. That is until some Einstein figures out how to market a "The Hymns we used to pass out to - 1956" CD with an original artist fronting the effort with witty and pithy words of how God made them do it.
Anyway, some fellow who killed his girlfriend or wife recently had just finished listening to some Christian Metal band when he decided to do the deed. Now that's interesting. I would like to think this guy was too close to the edge to begin with. Primed and loaded. What he listened to was not relevant.
The person I was discussing this with had a different idea. He wondered if the recent religious pop was but a sign Satan had indeed breached the Christian wall. He wondered what the tunes sounded like played backwards. He was sure too much Christian indoctrination had made this guy go homicidal. He wondered if the much redemption, resurrection, we are all sinners destined for the pit and other holier than thou messaging is really that healthy to the spiritual side of ourselves. He went on about how it seems the religiously endowed are precariously balanced on the tipping point between sanity and insanity and anything could push them over the edge.
I said, "Well Duh! The tipping point is there for all of us. Most of us are just lucky enough to miss finding it." If it ain't music, it's a dog that talks to us, aliens in our head or the color green." I went on, "That guy was working hard to go crazy anyway. His music just reinforced the urge. But he was crazy first and foremost."
We ended our conversation sure the other was clueless and went our way.
Later I checked into the Christian music phenomenon and noticed something odd. It appears the most growth in any religion has been in the Evangical side of Christianity. Babtists ( the dancing kind), Fundamentalists, Methodists, and of course those wacky anti Catholics, the Episcapalians are all hip to the new wave Jesus save me Alternative music. Noticed by their absence was the lack of any attempt to brighten up the music of Catholics. Are Catholics just too stuffy and rigid to embrace the new rage? Or is it just that the Pope has not decreed a decree allowing all good Catholics the right to listen to previously sinful beats.
Let's face it, some music is hedonistic and evokes thoughts that run counter to keeping everything in it's place and safe from self gratification. All no-nos to the boys in Rome. But just think how much ground the Pope would re-gain if he dumped the stale and dusty hymnals of old for a newer and hipper set of tunes to draw em back into the Lord's fold.
I think Catholics need to jump on board with some new twists on admittly some of the worst church music ever devised by Man. I even have some catchy band names to get em started.
~The Flagellating Monks - probably work best as a quartet. The lead singer can whip himself into a frenzy as he croons. A nod in the direction of the S&M crowd. Afterall, we's all God's chilluns.
~ Archie Bishop and the Pope Pushers - Focus on light pop with an emphasis on the show. Lyrics don't have to be audible, just sound inspiring and heartfelt. Typical audience - the Blue hair set.
~ Immaculate Conception - This trio will astound all who come to hear them. With no instruments or singing, music will just happen.
~ The Deaf Jesuits - The hook for this group is signing the lyrics. In order to appreciate them, you have to be able to sign along.
~ Hail Mary and the Mothers of God - Basic run of the mill light pop. Pre-teen messages. Emphasis on keeping your hands off yourself.
~ The Rhythm Methods - Acappela group for the mature Catholic. This group proves you don't need instruments to make music
~The Celibates - An edgier sound from this group proves a winner with the Pope and his crew. Probably won't catch on with the mainstream Catholic however. Rated PGB-15 ( Parental Guidance for Boys under15)
~The Nattering Nun - Sister Delmonica wails her gold record hits, "Don't touch yourself there" and "Stick your hand out, I want to Smack it". She keeps the faith, keeps the message simple, but most of all she keeps it clean and entertaining.
~Father Blues and the Soul Redemption - Blues band doing Jelly Roll Morton covers with only most of the lyrics changed. Hard hittin guitar riffs with a brass section of Dominican monks second to none.
~Jesus, Mary and Joseph - A trio who owe much of their style and delivery to the folk group from the 50s and 60s with almost the same name. Real hootennany delivery.
~Christ on a Crutch - A group whose goal is to reach the physically and mentally challenged. Their hit, "Your legs may be missing, but your heart belongs to God" will bring a tear to almost any eye.
~Confession - A techno remix group who will only admit who they ripped their latest tune off of from behind the closed curtain. Their niche tunes evoke deja vu all over again.