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Friday, September 19, 2008

RADIO SWEETHART: Giving major props to mainstream Christian rock

A new sensation has been crawling up from the musical underground. It's not a fresh concept and it already has a very devoted following, yet it's starting to creep its way into

the iPods of the mainstream listener. Its names vary from Christian rock to gospel to devotional music, but the message remains the same: givin' major props to the big guy


When did God become cool again? He's been straddling the line between hip and square ever since Norman Greenbaum released "Spirit in the Sky." But despite the common

stereotypes about Christian musicians, the music has thrived in recent years. Blame the surge on spiritual revival in a post-9/11 world or blame the vulgar music that blasts

through adolescents' stereos. Whatever you believe, the fact is that as long as religion thrives, so will the music that gives it life.

Christian rock began in the 1960s in response to the pro-Satan, drugs, and sex agenda of early rock music. In fact, in the early '70s, it was considered cool to rock out about

Jesus. Popularity diminished in the following years, with the biggest Christian sensation being Stryper in the '80s. But, thanks to the success of U2, mixing faith with music

proved to be very profitable. Acts like DC Talk, Jars of Clay and Audio Adrenaline laid the groundwork for the fame and overall acceptance of today's bands.

You may have heard of acts like Relient K, Hawk Nelson or the David Crowder Band, who are rising in popularity every day, but it's the CCM (Christian Contemporary Music)

counterculture that has many evangelicals scratching their heads and many young fans flocking to their shows. What's strange about these bands is that they mix genres

such as punk, hardcore and metal (music that used to be sole property of the big guy downstairs) to create something "worshipable," if there ever was such a word.

Walking into these shows, you feel the sense of attitude and anarchy that one would feel on the punk scene in late-'70s London. Everyone is dressed in their finest tight pants,

with their hair done up enough that it could spark a musical revolution on its own. The music gets started and it's a heavy whirlwind of orchestrated chaos and the fans love it.

You hear the faith-based lyrics, but it doesn't throw off the music. Ball State sophomore Nathan Wilson sees it like this: "If you play the music and play it well and people like it,

you're going to do well…despite your Christian message."

Every now and then the vocalist will take a minute to preach to the audience about his experiences through Christ and why he and those around him are better for it. This is

when you realize that this isn't for show; these guys really believe what they're saying. Despite their rough exterior, these musicians are Christians in the purest sense.

As Blessed Is He bassist, Ryan Dillon put it: "I just want to show that I appreciate his sacrifice and that I'm living my life for Him."

This musical movement is not all about Christianity; in fact, many fans who attend the shows are nonreligious. It's not necessarily about believing in something, but respecting

those that do and understanding their love. Case in point: One may not share Sir-Mix-A-Lot's love of a full rump, but it is easy to appreciate his adoration. Forget your

preferences, forget what you were taught and just go out and listen to good music for what it is: good music.

Christian Music News Source

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