A Review or My Ramblings on the Current State of Christian Music
Posted August 17, 2007
Casting Crowns is an interesting band. They are probably the number one Christian band right now, and their music is killing the airwaves (come on, tell me the truth, you're getting tired, just slightly, of hearing 'Praise You In the Storm' aren't you?). With that said, the lead singer, Mark Hall, has said he doesn't really try to make great music, or art, but simply try to get a message across, and music is just a way he can get it out. I'll discuss this at the end of the review.
Putting all biases aside, I'll try to review this album. 'What If His People Prayed' was, what I had previously thought, what Casting Crowns really sounded like. A nice rocker with very convicting lyrics to the Church. When you hear the following song, 'If We Are the Body', you begin to think that maybe, just maybe, Casting Crowns has something they like singing about; the Church namely. The oft heard, 'Voice of Truth' and 'Who Am I' are great songs. Mark Hall's voice is extremely passionate, and where other artists would have made some of these songs, such as 'Who Am I' sound like a dainty, quaint, little humility ballad, Mark Hall's earnestness lifts them up to something really powerful. If not for his earnestness, Casting Crowns would have been forgotten by now, believe me.
Casting Crowns' heaviest rocker, 'American Dream' is very catchy and has a great message. After another convicting ballad, 'Here I Go Again', about how we waste our opportunities to share the love of Christ with the lost, the album closes out Casting Crown's stepping-on-your-toes part of the album. The rest is unabashed worship to God, starting with 'Praise You With the Dance' and ending with 'Your Love is Extravagant.' All of these are great worship songs, with 'Praise You With the Dance' and 'God of the Nations' coming out as my favorites.
Casting Crowns lyrics are some of, if not the best in modern Christian music. Not even Chris Tomlin's lyrics are as good, namely because they don't carry as much weight or earnestness as Mark Hall's. Musically though, Casting Crowns fits the bill as the average Christian adult-contemporary band. Is that bad? Not necessarily. They are definitely the best at it, with some great piano, excellent female backup vocalists, and occasionally, some nice rock guitar. But this brings up my opinion on Mark Hall's statements concerning his music.
While I do believe the message is vital, I think the great fault of the Christian music market is thinking that music is just a shiny gift wrap placed over a message. Looks nice, but in the end, is thrown away to get the message. I, personally, find this insulting to how God made music. God made it wonderful, beautiful, and awesome; something that was marvelous. To me, someone saying that I'll just use music as a way to get a message across is like saying I'll make a book, and it doesn't matter how good it's written, but it'll be a way to get the message across. Here's something to think over:
'And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.' - Colossians 3: 17 (NIV).
Now, if you're going to make music in Christ's name, wouldn't it be good to make it excellent, as best as you possibly can? Funny, but if you think that that verse doesn't connect with music, look at the verse right before it:
'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.'
My point is, music is something awesome that God has endowed us with. To say it is nothing more than something to get a message across is wasting it. If God made music, He will be glorified in someone seeking to create excellent music in His name. In summary, music is just as important as the lyrics; both will affect you in different ways, and both are just as powerful. God Himself loves music; eternally He listens to angels singing 'Holy is the Lord God Almighty' it says. I have a feeling the angels don't say 'these are good words, so now let's throw a nice piano riff, a few good chords, and a pretty sounding singer along with and we'll be set.' When you sing for Christ, you give Him your best.
Which is my point; should not Christians be the ones leading the world into new areas of musical excellence? I mean, we're not making music for man...but for God. Anyways, those are just my thoughts.
And by the way, Casting Crowns is a great band.
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