I really like music.
I like lots of different genres of music. Some get on my nerves, like the mess my oldest son likes to crank up in his room. I know, I know--just another sign I am getting old. My husband and I can belt out a song lyric for just about every situation. Songs take me back and make me happy and help me to transcend to messiness of the moment.
I like that.
When I started college, I was introduced to a new form of music--Christian Rock. I loved it. I had countless popular music songs in my mental library, both country and pop/rock, and am impressive knowledge of hymns, which was the only music my church knew, other than the occasional children's musical ("Germs, Germs, My invisible dog") and upbeat song chosen by the teenagers on those special 5th Sunday night singings (Pass It On, or Do You Really Care?). Christian Rock took it to a new level for me, and I especially liked the cheese factor present in some of those early works (i.e.--Carmen).
It took a few years for the whole 'praise music' thing to hit churches, but my then-new husband and I loved it. Not quite Christian Rock, but it did use choruses and guitars and drums in church. Kind of like being at youth camp. Lots of artists came on board, and tried to jump on the worship music bandwagon. That was all well and good, as it meant more music options for me, but over time they just began to all sound the same. And they began to get on my nerves. Kind of like fingernails on chalkboard.
Then, Veggie Tales replaced worship tapes in my car, and radio stations got better, and people started making better music that wasn't necessarily cookie cutter. I stopped working and stopped purchasing music, and still haven't embraced the whole music being downloaded onto something portable thing. I'm still too old school, I guess.
Anyway, I got the opportunity to review a new worship album produced by Vineyard Music, called My Foundation (Live), which was performed at a Cultivation Generation student conference. I halfway wondered if it would get on my nerves and end up as a cursory review, but it definitely wasn't. There were 13 songs on the album, and each one had its own 'sound' and feel to it. All were performed live (which sometimes gets on my nerves, regardless of who the artist is), but it didn't come across as a bad thing. Each song had a different style--Worthy made me think of Alison Krauss/Kathy Mattea; Walls Come Down was like Russ Taff/somebody from 1986/87 that I can't remember; and Enthroned on High reminded me of an early, contemplative Bonnie Raitt. My favorite song was God Don't Never Change, which incorporated a strong guitar sound and very early rap--and I mean that in a good way.
I think one of the reasons I liked this album so much is that the lyrics weren't all fluff. It wasn't a repetitive chorus of "Jesus, you are worthy. You are so worthy, Jesus. I love how Jesus is worthy". True, Jesus is worthy. I have no doubt about that. Sometimes I wonder if He wishes we felt He was worthy of better musical offerings, though...
These songs seemed to indicate an understanding that sometimes life is difficult. Sometimes it is VERY difficult, and platitudes don't really help, even if they are offered with the best of intentions. These songs help to bring a different layer of feel good lyrics, because as great as they are, sometimes a person needs more meat to their music than 'Word Up' or 'YMCA' or 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' can offer.