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Christian rock

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Christian rock

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Christian rock is a form of rock music played by bands where the musicians are openly Christian. The extent to which their lyrics are explicitly Christian varies between bands.

In the 1970s, Larry Norman was a popular Christian rock musician who challenged a view held by some conservative Christians (predominantly fundamentalists) that rock music was anti-Christian. One of his songs, "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?", summarized his attitude and his quest to pioneer Christian rock music.

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"Christian rock" band definitions

There are multiple definitions of what qualifies as a "Christian Rock" band. Christian rock bands that explicitly state their beliefs and use Christian imagery in their lyrics tend to be considered a part of the contemporary Christian music (CCM) industry and play for a predominantly Christian market. Other bands perform music influenced by their faith but see their audience as the general public. They may generally avoid specific mention of God or Jesus. Such bands are sometimes rejected by the CCM rock scene and may specifically reject the CCM label. Possibly the very first documented appearance of a Christian Rock band is Mind Garage in 1967, whose Electric Liturgy, finally recorded on RCA in 1970, gives them credibility as a cornerstone in the creation of the Christian Rock genre. Some bands such as U2, Letterkills, Anberlin, Project 86, Lifehouse, 12 Stones, Creed, King's X, Thrice, Evanescence, Kevin Max, Mute Math, Flyleaf, Coldplay, Blessid Union of Souls, One Step Back and MxPx do not claim to be "Christian bands", but include members who openly profess to be Christians and feature Christian thought, imagery, scripture or other influences in their music. There is a tendency among some Christian rock music fans to label rock music bands as Christian where their lyrics are seen as consistent with the fans' understanding of Christian belief, but this is generally not accepted by the contemporary Christian music industry. Related subgenres are Christian alternative rock, Christian metal, Christian industrial and Christian punk.

Critiques of Christian rock

Some critics of Christian rock complain that Christian music trends are clichéd derivative of rock music and pop music in that they copy these styles and trends without creating original sounds of their own. [1] The critics' stereotype of Christian rock is a censored or plagiarised version of whatever is popular on the radio [1]. Others respond that all music is in some way derived from previous works, as the concepts inspired by work, and not the work itself is within the public domain. Another common response is that Christian music is the only major genre to be grouped by its content rather than its style- for example, on the online music store iTunes, Christian performers as diverse as worship artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, hip-hop groups such as Grits, pop-rockers such as Superchick and hardcore groups such as Project 86 are all grouped under the 'Inspirational' section of the store, despite the diversity of their sounds. Many of those critiques are also levied against indie music.

Another critique of Christian Rock is that some critics also feel that in reaching out to the main stream listeners, Christian Rock waters down the Christian message and content into amorphous love songs. Amy Grant, for example, received criticism for her song, "Baby, Baby" because it [2] was not clear whether she was singing to God or to a good looking man in the music video. Richard Rossi was criticized for performing his gospel rock in bars and secular nightclubs. Steve Camp, Christian music critic, complains that Christian music has become "yodels of a Christ-less, watered-down, pabulum-based, positive alternative, aura-fluff, cream of wheat, mush-kind-of-syrupy, God-as-my-girlfriend kind of thing." [3]. Others respond that expressions of unconditional love reminiscent of romantic love are consistent with God's agape love and the tradition of the biblical book, Song of Solomon.

Some critics feel bands market themselves to the Christian audience because the market is easier to enter. The competition in the Christian market is not as fierce, so they can gain huge success quickly. Some bands are accused of using the CCM industry to springboard into the "mainstream" as they prove to the record labels they can sell albums. Often times these accused bands will quickly reject the Christian label they once embraced, causing controversy.

Evangelical Goals of Christian Rock

Christian Rock can be used to attract both non-Christian and Christian listeners. Some rock bands try to incorporate this type of viewpoint and try to be evangelical by drawing in non-Christian listeners to their under-the-surface Christian lyrics. Among these bands include Switchfoot and Relient K. Many critics claim that these bands are only doing so in order to build fans, fame, and fortune. However, the true aims vary among different artists.

Other Christian artists such as Chris Tomlin and Kutless sing more explicit worship songs, incorporating lyrics that directly worship the Lord. Many of these songs are played at more contemporary churches and used to lead congregations in worship. These artists receive less criticism, however they also receive less praise from non-Christian listeners.

Christian rock festivals

There are many Christian rock festivals held worldwide every year, including the Cornerstone Festival, Ichthus, Spirit West Coast, Purple Door, Parachute and Shout Fest. They range from single day events to four day festivals that provide camping and other activities. Christian rock can also be heard at other Christian festivals that are not exclusive to rock, such as the Creation Festival.

Christian rock radio programs

Total Axxess
Weekend 22

Magazines and Websites

HM Magazine
Firestream.net
Godcore.com Christian rock band database
CCM Magazine
Suite101.com's Christian Rock
Christian Music News

  1. ^ Criticism of "spiritless and lifeless" Christian music.
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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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