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Unread 12-07-2013, 02:58 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by lifesglorydead View Post
My church does a lot of Indelible Grace tunes, they're very good! I love that they're very easy to adapt and mess with/add dynamics to and whatnot. Lyrics are awesome, but sometimes I feel like it's almost too rich...like, some of those songs I wouldn't do unless we could spent 20 minutes afterward talking about the lyrics in depth. Haha.
Isn't that the whole point of putting theology in music? You remember songs better than just about anything, thus you get plenty of time to think about it.

I don't understand the aversion to depth that most modern music seems to have.

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Unread 12-07-2013, 03:18 PM   #32
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I don't understand the aversion to depth that most modern music seems to have.
Out of curiosity, how far back are you lumping "modern"? Because I recall some Vineyard songs from the '70s and '80s that weren't terribly deep either (e.g., "River of Life" and other such hits). They were awesome, but they were about the same level as current music.
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Unread 12-07-2013, 04:42 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by bobthecockroach View Post
Isn't that the whole point of putting theology in music? You remember songs better than just about anything, thus you get plenty of time to think about it.

I don't understand the aversion to depth that most modern music seems to have.
I wasn't saying, by any means, that depth is bad. The songs I was referring to are songs that I'd have no problem listening to on my own, but when you're playing to a diverse group of people (including people who may or may not have never been a church before that moment), then perhaps references to esoteric Old Testament Jewish practices, outdated language, etc. aren't always appropriate. They can be beautiful, deep, and point toward God, but perhaps not always appropriate. That's all I'm saying.
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Unread 12-07-2013, 06:22 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by lifesglorydead View Post
I wasn't saying, by any means, that depth is bad. The songs I was referring to are songs that I'd have no problem listening to on my own, but when you're playing to a diverse group of people (including people who may or may not have never been a church before that moment), then perhaps references to esoteric Old Testament Jewish practices, outdated language, etc. aren't always appropriate. They can be beautiful, deep, and point toward God, but perhaps not always appropriate. That's all I'm saying.
I do not agree with you. Simple as that. People have no problem ordering off the Starbucks menu. They shouldn't be offended by the occasional "religious" word. The corporate worship event is still primarily that: the body of Christ gathered together for worship. If a seeker doesn't always "get it" right away, that's okay. There are other songs they will understand completely. I see nothing inappropriate about that.
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Unread 12-08-2013, 03:14 PM   #35
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With regard to theological content of songs, I prefer sung worship to consist of songs that are theologically rich. There are other worship leaders in my church that prefer simpler, more "personal" lyrics. Finding the right balance (if indeed there should even be a balance ) is something that warrants discussion, and this could perhaps be split to another thread.

However, I personally find that the lyrical content is not the main cause for boredom or tiredness of worship music. It's the stereotypical instrumentation that is probably the biggest culprit here.

I don't tend to listen to modern worship music, as the instrumentation does bore me somewhat. If our church's policy was that we had to make our songs sound as close to the recordings as possible, I think I would be in a position where I was getting tired of leading worship. However, my team has the ability and flexibility to do songs in differing styles, so we do. It helps keep us as musicians interested and engaged, but more than that, the congregation responds positively too. If the musicians are genuinely interested in passionate about the music they are playing, it does impact how the congregation responds. Likewise if the musicians are bored and disinterested.

Regarding "uninteresting," repetitive chord progressions, these don't have to be a big contributor to boredom with the music. Lately I've been listening to a reasonable amount of funk and soul, and the chord progressions are often a lot simpler in that context (if they even progress at all). However, if you get the right groove and instrumentation going, it's still enjoyable, interesting music. Over the last year, I've been trying to incorporate some of these musical ideas into my playing at church, spending a bit more time playing clean triads with syncopated rhythms, and this has been very helpful for keeping the music fresh and interesting.

So in short, I don't listen to worship music for musical inspiration. I keep the styles I listen to broad, and incorporate those influences into what I play to help prevent getting tired of worship music.
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Unread 01-01-2014, 10:11 PM   #36
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Jevver listen to Lincoln Brewster, especially his older stuff? Man! What a guitarist. Look this up on YouTube: Lincoln Brewster jam CMS@Overlake 2007
It's real good :-)

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Unread 04-28-2014, 02:38 PM   #37
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I've too been frustrated by a lack of solid worship content in the past, but lately there's been some great stuff appearing. A selection:



The Sing Team (From Mars Hill) - Motown influenced worship with horns and everything. Spectacular. Standout track: "Oh! Great is Our God!"

Elevation Worship - Another take on the arena rock thing, but particularly high quality. Excellent songwriting, generally strong theology, and very strong muscianship. Standout tracks: "Unchanging God", "Exalted One".

Dustin Kensrue (Mars Hill Again) - Who doesn't want a worship album from the former lead singer of Thrice? Standout tracks: Too many to list, but I love "God is Good".

Citizens (Mars Hill) - Their full-length album is probably the best worship album of the last decade, in my opinion. Tremendous lyrics, wholly original production and sound, this album stands on it's own as a rock album. Really really stellar stuff. Standout tracks: "Made Alive", "I am Living in a Land of Dead"

All Sons and Daughters - Haven't heard too much from them, but some impressive indie roots sounding stuff.

Phil Wickham - In the U2 mold, but his last album "The Ascension" does it very well. Also doesn't hurt that he's a vocalist second to none. Standout tracks: "This is Amazing Grace", "Glory".

Rend Collective - woodsy, rootsy, singalong worship.

The Royal Royal - WOW. That's what I'm talking about. Sometime ghost collaborator with Hillsong, The Royal Royal is just what worship music has needed. A total kick in the pants, probably like not much you've heard before. Dancy, electro acoustic worship that really breaks the mold. Standout tracks: "Praise Him", "Heartbeats".
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Unread 10-08-2015, 03:19 PM   #38
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THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!

I was starting to think something was wrong with me. I've been leading worship for several years, and have been playing in church bands since I was a teenager in the 80s.

I'll admit it. I hate Christian radio.

At risk of sounding like an old guy yelling at clouds, Christian music has gone downhill ever since "Christian music" became "worship music." Go back and listen to Steve Taylor, old Petra, Rez, heck, even Michael W. Smith. They were writing great music with no intention of it ever being played in church. Now, it seems like everything on Christian radio is written in hopes of becoming the next big worship anthem. The result, as many have said on here, is boring, formulaic "music."

I will definitely check out the stuff listed above. I feel like I'm suffocating!
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Unread 10-08-2015, 03:20 PM   #39
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Unread 10-08-2015, 03:37 PM   #40
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That's the great thing about being a noob on this forum. They're ALL new threads to me!
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Unread 10-08-2015, 03:45 PM   #41
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Out of curiosity, how far back are you lumping "modern"?
It has more to do with the age of materials churches are drawing from than the actual date something was written I guess.

I'm sure there hasn't been a massive dumbing down of worship music in the last 20 years, but in the last 20 years, the average age of a song sung in church has gone from maybe a couple hundred years to a couple months.

I can't think of a single song we still sing in my church that we sung when I got there less than a decade ago. I can't think of a single song that we sung at the first church I can remember attending that was written while anyone in the church was alive. That's an exaggeration of course, but...

When you have to completely change your songs every year, it completely changes the dynamic of the music.
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Unread 10-08-2015, 07:51 PM   #42
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It has more to do with the age of materials churches are drawing from than the actual date something was written I guess.

I'm sure there hasn't been a massive dumbing down of worship music in the last 20 years, but in the last 20 years, the average age of a song sung in church has gone from maybe a couple hundred years to a couple months.

I can't think of a single song we still sing in my church that we sung when I got there less than a decade ago. I can't think of a single song that we sung at the first church I can remember attending that was written while anyone in the church was alive. That's an exaggeration of course, but...

When you have to completely change your songs every year, it completely changes the dynamic of the music.
This brings up an interesting point - our metric for "good" church music has been shifting to how "current" the music is, rather than how good it actually is.

The benefit of drawing upon centuries of hymns is that even if you just stick to the good ones, there's a large range to choose from, as it's generally the good ones that have endured. If you restrict yourself to music from within the last five years, the good songs haven't had the benefit of time to separate them out from the bad.
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Unread 10-08-2015, 07:58 PM   #43
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The benefit of drawing upon centuries of hymns is that even if you just stick to the good ones, there's a large range to choose from, as it's generally the good ones that have endured. If you restrict yourself to music from within the last five years, the good songs haven't had the benefit of time to separate them out from the bad.
There's a lot of truth there.
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Unread 10-08-2015, 09:41 PM   #44
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THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!

I was starting to think something was wrong with me. I've been leading worship for several years, and have been playing in church bands since I was a teenager in the 80s.

I'll admit it. I hate Christian radio.

At risk of sounding like an old guy yelling at clouds, Christian music has gone downhill ever since "Christian music" became "worship music." Go back and listen to Steve Taylor, old Petra, Rez, heck, even Michael W. Smith. They were writing great music with no intention of it ever being played in church. Now, it seems like everything on Christian radio is written in hopes of becoming the next big worship anthem. The result, as many have said on here, is boring, formulaic "music."

I will definitely check out the stuff listed above. I feel like I'm suffocating!
Back in the 90's I really liked Steve Taylor and Petra, but I don't know that they're really great examples of Christian artists transcending the music of their time. They sounded like the music of their time. Petra's sound changed every 5 years to match the times.

Current Christian music is doing the same thing. I don't listen to Christian radio myself. So I can't really comment on what it's like, but there's plenty of Christian music outside of Christian radio. By the very nature of radio, it's going to appeal to a broad audience. It's the vanilla of Christian music.

I won't defend Christian radio, but I don't think the problem is a lack of quality music by Christians. The bigger problem is that too many people just listen to K-Love.
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Unread 12-14-2015, 12:34 PM   #45
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Christian pop and worship music tends to lag 5-25 years behind what's popular in the rest of society. In our church we play more hymns than the norm (for theology/poetry) and often rework the tunes. We also constantly mess with rhythm; why can't a boring Hillsong tune with some interesting lyrics get reworked as ska? Or Johnny Cash? And why not put some drums and a cooler guitar riff into a Tomlin tune? We customize guitars, why not songs?
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