This past week I made the decision to take over the high school worship band at my church. I haven’t been in charge of leading worship for nearly four years, so I’ve been spending my free time trying to reacquaint myself with the latest worship trends. After spending hours sorting through worship bands on MySpace and iTunes, I can say I’m amazed at how little is out there. There are 1,000s of bands and 10,000s of songs, but they’re all the same.
I remember hearing a song on Christian radio a year ago which literally sounded like a bunch of worship song clichés strong together. Just imagine how many songs include the following lines.
- We worship you
- We lift our hands
- We give you glory
- You are holy
- I fall to my knees
- You are worthy of praise
Some of it is just bizarre to me. In a span of two years, Matt Redman, David Crowder, and Hillsong all released a song with a title like, “You Never Let Go.” I guess it could be random chance, but it strikes me as naïve to think such. Chris Tomlin has penned two songs which have the line “Great is your faithfulness” in the verses.
- 1 : the interbreeding of closely related individuals especially to preserve and fix desirable characters of and to eliminate unfavorable characters from a stock
- 2 : confinement to a narrow range or a local or limited field of choice
Of course, I’ve sat down to write worship songs before, and mine weren’t any better. I threw in all the clichés. I’d been listening to and playing “worship music.” Everything influencing me was “worship music.” Therefore, the result was a weak, uninspired version of what I’d been listening.
I wonder how many dudes out there writing worship songs are so focused on “worship music” that when they go to write songs they simply regurgitated the clichés they keep hearing. New worship leaders are only inspired by other worship leaders.
This has been going on long enough that “worship music” has become a distinct musical style. When I hear a worship song (or a generic “Christian” song) on the radio, I instantly know it’s a Christian song. This isn’t because I’m brilliant. It’s because “Christian” and “worship” music have become so inbreed that they have their own unique yet generic sound. It’s unique in the sense that you know what you’re listening to, but it’s completely generic in the sense that it sounds like every other worship song.
- Wouldn’t it be nice if the music worshipping God wasn’t made up of primarily inbreed music?
- Wouldn’t it be nice if we stopped thinking that relevant music is music which copies 20 year old U2 albums?
- Wouldn’t it be nice if we stopped trying to be relevant by copying (which natural makes you irrelevant), but instead put our effort into being original and authentic?