Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?

By Randall Stephens

"We Are the World," "Hands Across America," "Do They Know It's Christmas?" We remember the songs. We recall the big-haired celebrities with bolo ties passing the baton from one line to another. So much sincerity. So much feeling.

But, does anyone remember this forgettable Christian tune that followed the trend? What's going on here? That's what I kept thinking as I watched this three time in a row. (Don't know why. It draws me in, vortex-like. Forgive "the worst" bit embedded on the screen.)

As I grew up listening to Christian music I was very aware that most God rock bands were meant to sound like their secular counterparts. Think Phil Keaggy=Paul McCartney; 2nd Chapter of Acts = Queen. The question "Why should the Devil have all the good music?" answered itself.

I wish a new generation of scholars would take a hard look at evangelicalism, in particular its cultural manifestations. Material Christianity deserves a fresh new look. Is their a distinct aesthetic of evangelicalism? What is it? Puppet shows and Mimestry? Who are/were the chief taste-makers? Thomas Kincade and Russ Taff? Francis Schaeffer and Frank Peretti?


Anonymous said…
I also remember "Do Something Now" by the CCM artists. I'm sure it's on youtube.
Anonymous said…
Yeah, it "Do Something" Now by The Cause is on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IehAFd7N2Ok&feature=PlayList&p=19447F01FD87F4EC&playnext=1&index=68).

It definitely brings back a lot of memories of both that decade and the CCM world of that time. When the children's choir comes in at the end, I thought, "Ah yes, the eighties." :)
Chris Martin said…
Randall: In response to your call for scholars to re-examine material Christianity, Eileen Luhr's forthcoming book Witnessing Suburbia (which will be available in February) might fit the bill. Luhr's 2005 article in American Quarterly was an excellent examination of 1980s Christian heavy metal and its cultural/political implications. The book looks like it will offer a pretty thorough take on Christian popular music in general; see http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/10989.php for the press release.

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