Thursday, September 11, 2008

What makes 'Christian' music?

On Wednesday, George Strait won a Country Music Award nomination for best single for “I Saw God Today”. The songwriters were also nominated for song of the year. The poignant song about loss and faith spent two weeks at #1 on the country charts in May.

I happened to see Strait perform the song back in February, before the song was released on Strait’s album, Troubadour. (I didn’t tape it but someone else did).
I've been to church 
I've read the book 
I know he's here 
But I don't look 
Near as often as I should 
Yeah, I know I should 
His fingerprints are everywhere 
I just slowed down to stop and stare 
Opened my eyes and man I swear 
I saw God today.
Still this song — supposedly tied to the death of his daughter in 1986 — is far more explicitly religious than you’d hear in hip hop or (nowadays) even in pop.

So my question — how is this different than CCM? Is the music enough to make it not qualify than CCM? If you read the lyrics and didn’t have the music, would it seem consistent with some of the less salvation-oriented CCM songs.

Some argue that country music reflects the theology of rural white Southern Protestants. (See, for example, Redneck Liberation: Country Music As Theology).

Given this, other than the pedal steel, how is popular (country) music with vaguely Christian lyrics different from popular (pop) music with vaguely Christian lyrics?

No comments: