Monday, February 1, 2010

Confession of a music snob - Relient K

I'm not sure how it happened. I'll be honest about that much. One day, I was listening to the radio, the next, I shuddered if someone left the tuner awry. But it's true. Hello, my name is Jessica, and I am a musical snob.

My brother-in-law dubbed my taste "indie," but let's be even more honest, I'm a wimpy indie; I follow a few music blogs that would die laughing if my bar is where the bar is set. But isn't that just the way with, you know, pretty much everything in life? No matter how high-brow I might think I am, someone not very far from here is higher-brow and snickering in my general direction.

That said: my musical taste appears to be shrinking with age. It's not comfortable. I couldn't even describe to you the range I'm in at this moment, only that if it's top-forty, I probably HATE it. I was in the salon for ninety minutes (no lie) last weekend (for a two-inch trim and eyebrow waxing, ninety minutes), and in those ninety minutes, heard maybe two songs that didn't grate on me like a kitchen utensil. TWO. In NINETY MINUTES.

I'm in a bad way.

I tell you all of this so you can understand the bind I put myself in. You see, when I was growing up, our father put a prohibition down on secular music. We listened to our parents' old records and a lot of Christian music. There was even a station that, miraculously, reached us in the middle of nowhere. When, upon striking out on my own at some point, I began to listen once more to secular music, I found myself vowing that my Sundays would be dedicated to Christian music.

*Banging head on desk*

Do you know the state of the Christian music universe? It's there. It's not as though there isn't Christian music galore, musicians with a modicum of talent and heart for the Lord. I simply don't like most of it. You know who I like? Common Children. Yeah, they broke up in 2002. Sixpence None the Richer (I adore Matt Slocum). Jennifer Knapp. Secret & Whisper. Relient K (I'm a new convert). Phil Keaggy. Thousand Foot Krutch. Skillet. Old school MxPx.

My primary complaint is lack of creativity. So much Christian music is rote. I mean, seriously. How many times can I listen to "God of Wonders"? I own no fewer than four CDs with that particular track (City on a Hill, Caedmon's Call In the Company of Angels, Rebecca St. James Worship God, and GlassByrd Open Wide this Window). Sure, it's a great song... or it was. Now, though, I have to wonder, why is everyone else singing it rather than writing their own? (Nicole Nordeman went out on that branch and made a CD of original worship songs called Woven & Spun. I absolutely love it. It's heartfelt and honest and poignant and provocative, and I just love it.)

As I said, I'm a new convert to Relient K. I recieved the Mmhmm album for Christmas and have slowly been getting more and more into it. I enjoy the singer's voice (that's usually my draw, vocals), and the lyrics once in a while really tickle me. On the other hand, I'm also left with songs about his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend and how if said ex hadn't dumped said girlfriend, he wouldn't be the one reaping the benefits. I've taking to skipping these particular gems. However, the songs that question faith and our relationship with our Almighty God strike a chord within me.

(To my mother-in-law, this is not your cup of tea. However, if you can get through the first two and a half minutes, you'll be rewarded by my favorite part of the entire album. p.s. Please still love me after this.)

I guess that's what I want: I want to hear the resonance of something inside of myself that I can't create for myself. I'm not a musician. I'm not a lyricist; I'm barely a mediocre poet. But I am a worshiper, and I am a listener, and I can hear a whitewash from a mile away.

Please, artists, can't you tap that God-given creativity and push the envelope... just a little? Please? For me?

And to anyone out there reading this, I welcome recommendations. I can't guarantee that I'll love it, because, as I've admitted, my tastes are fairly limited these days, but, goodness, I always need fresh music. Always.


  1. Bellsys (the mom-in-law)February 1, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    "get through the first 2 1/2 minutes of the song..." ROFL! The song is only 4 minutes long! I can't understand the lyrics. (I will look them up.) The last part does thankfully slow down, at least I can understand it and there is a message there. You're right, head-banger music is not my style.

    I agree a lot of Christian songs are geared to the fast-paced church service with catchy tunes so folks can sing along without music. But I too strive for music that speaks to the heart of the believer, the soul of the lost, or glorifies God at the very least.

  2. I was gonna recommend Amy Grant. ha ha

  3. Oh, Dione. I outgrew Amy Grant somewhere around "Heart in Motion." I was twelve. I still have a soft spot in my heart for the earlier songs though. :-)

    JoAnn, I knew the Relient K song wouldn't exactly tickle you, but I also knew you'd click it. I KNEW you would. Did you at least heed my warning? *pleading*

  4. Yes, Jess, I heeded your warning :). Glad to know we have Phil Keaggy (He is phenomenal! I have seen him in person/concert twice), Jennifer Knapp and Thousand Foot Krutch in common. I am with you on the Amy Grant comment too.

    BTW, I hope you didn't get charged for 90 minutes of service -- sure they didn't do a dye job during that time?

  5. JoAnn, you like Thousand Foot Krutch? Really? That's not head-banger music? Because I think we'd consider that major head-banging music down here. They're one of our faves.

    I didn't get charged for 90 mins, no. Just the cut and waxing, but consider that during that 90 mins I didn't even have a shampoo, dry or style. Just the cut & wax. (My stylist was also taking care of a coloring for someone else at the same time, but still, for what I walked out with, it was a mighty long time to sit and listen to crappy radio music, though I did enjoy the time to decompress w/o the boys.

    I didn't honestly think you didn't heed my warning; I was just a little concerned. :-)