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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Friday, June 23, 2006

I Wanna Rock?

For as long as I can remember I have loved all kinds of music. Lately though, one type has started to irk me. It's a genre called Christian rock.

Christian rock.

Is it just me, or is that a bit of an oxymoron?

Let's break it down a bit. Rock music is usually categorized by something that moves you to move your head. A lot of people would also argue that rock music began as an avenue to get out frustrations. This is why rock has always been deemed so controversial, because it's a response to all that is unjust in the world. Today's music might not have the got the same soul, but it still makes the neighbors go nuts.

Then we have the "Christian" part of the equation. Christianity is often associated with purity, salvation and sacrifice. Unless your Ozzy Osbourne sacrificing a rabbit up on stage, rarely do the two worlds have a reason to meet. In fact, perhaps the only thing they have in common is that they are both vested in making music predicated on making a statement. Of course their messages are as opposite as declarative and exclamatory statements at a cocktail party full of diagrammed sentences.

But even more frustrating then the marrying of these two genres, is the Tom Foolery it presents. This is because on more than one occasion, I have been listening to a song, getting all into it, when I realize it is indeed a Christian rock tune.

Now rarely do these songs cross over to the mainstream, but it does happen from time to time. Some might even argue Creed, a very popular, mainstream alt rock band was the epitome of Christian rock. Then again, their lead singer did indeed, believe he WAS Jesus so Eddie Money can keep his walk on water, thank you very much.

At first when I hear Christian rock I think it is a torch song for the guy/girl they want to be with. But then when I realize the guy or girl they want to be with is Jesus, the man they believe who died for their sins, and just like that- the romantic vibe is totally shot. No offense to Jesus and all. I just can't swoon over the concept of someone being nailed to a cross. Forgive me father, for I have sinned.

There are bands, however, that have managed to have cross over hit regardless of their intention. Jars of Clay, for instance, is an excellent band that has had mainstream success, all the while really belonging to the Christian rock crowd. Then suddenly, one day, mainstream rock called out "Red Rover, Red Rover...We call Christian rock over!"

The first Jars of Clay song I remember really liking was a song called Flood. Unfortunately, even with a title like Flood, and choice lyrics like "But if I cant swim after forty days, and my mind is crushed by the thrashing waves, lift me up so high that I cannot fall...lift me up." I was still a little slow on the uptake.

Then came Love Song For A Savior. I know, I know the title should have spoken volumes, but still I didn't want to believe the truth. Not even after one of my first dates in college with this guy was when he took me to the local, non denominational religious center near campus and this song was playing. At this rate, God is going to have to hit me over the head with that white light.

I wonder sometimes if bands like Jars of Clay are as conflicted about playing Christian rock to stage diving, mainstream audiences as us mainstream audiences are about digging them. Admitting to liking Christian rock is just about as cool as outting your obsession with Barry Manilow. It might not be outwardly acceptable, but it's done all the time.

Even my favorite contestant on this year's American Idol, Chris Daughtry, seems to have been in a Christian rock band before whoring himself out in lame Ford commercials for AI. Don't get me wrong, I love Chris and all, but having any sort of religious affiliation on American Idol is about as accepted as outing yourself when you're in the military.

But one good thing has come out of this unlikely pairing. Finally, we have the answer to the all important king of vague questions, What would Jesus do?

Apparently, he would rock.



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