6 Examples of Christian Music That Doesn’t Suck

Why are there so many lists compiling the ‘worst Christian songs’? It’s simple. ‘Christian Rock’ is overwhelmingly awful music. There’s no real reason why this should be the case, though. We have countless beautiful paintings, sculptures, and architecture directly inspired by religion. Why should music be any different?

As an atheist, and as a music junkie, I compiled this list to document the existence of Christian music that doesn’t suck – for the benefit of those who may think such a thing is impossible.

6. White Fence

White Fence channel 60′s brit-psych, with cascading layers of sound. The effect is as often blissful as it is challenging. This band would probably not appreciate being labeled ‘Christian Music’. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a stretch. Their self-titled debut didn’t suggest ‘religion’ to me. They ended that album on this glorious note.

But then something happened. I saw the next LP at a record store, and I noticed some stickers professing some great ‘faith’ exploration. I thought to myself, ‘uh oh… they drank the kool-aid.’ Then I  knew I had to buy it. I was rewarded with a dazzling faith-scape. Perhaps not really ‘Christian’ in nature, but decidedly more than just ‘Spiritual’. This was faith-based rock and roll, channeling the Kinks, LSD, and religion.

White Fence

Growing Faith

www.youtube.com/embed/h2lUtMNnWkY?

White Fence

Sticky Fruitman Has Faith

www.youtube.com/embed/1HhnWawrobA?

I still haven’t digested the three (!) albums they’ve released since then (in a single year). I listened on the way to Fort Jackson, SC – but my daughter Zoe decided to dance and ‘sing’ along. No chance of deciphering the lyrics. Maybe they’re off the faith thing now.

5. Daniel Johnston

Obviously, Christianity has taken a serious toll on the delicate mental health of underground singer / songwriter, Daniel Johnston. His parents clearly meant well, and were perhaps shocked when he referenced them in his songs as great oppressors. His obsession with the Devil was undoubtedly nourished by his parents’ religious fanaticism. Religious mania unfortunately pushed him beyond the edge. 2005′s ‘The Devil and Daniel Johnston’ is one of the best rockumentaries of all time, and one of my favorite movies, period.

www.youtube.com/embed/2qtFPOxDMs4?

Daniel Johnston

I Had Lost My Mind

www.youtube.com/embed/sKIRN7c4G7Y?

I had lost my mind.

I lost my head for a while was off my rocker outta line, outta wack.

See I had this tiny crack in my head 

That slowly split open and my brain snoozed out, 

Lyin’ on the sidewalk and I didn’t even know it.

I had lost my mind.

Why, i was sitting in the basement when I first realized it was gone.

Got I my car rushed right over to the lost and found.

I said “pardon me but I seem to have lost my mind.”

She said “Well can you identify it please?”

I said “Why sure its a cute little bugger

About yea big a little warped from the rain”

She said “Well then sir this must be your brain”

I said “Thank you ma’am I’m always losin’ that dang thing.”

Daniel Johnston

Devil Town

www.youtube.com/embed/RlQh8fnCmCM?

It really brings me down.

4. Vernon Wray

Like his brother and rock and roll pioneer, Link, Vernon Wray chiseled his own path. It was mostly forgotten until a few crate diggers unearthed his early 70′s material.

Vernon Wray -

God Is Color Blind

www.youtube.com/embed/D-ZRKy0q5ak?

Fellow atheist and Rock Beyond Belief festival performer, Jeffrey Lewis, lamented that he too was looking for this record. We had been discussing our mutual love of obscure vinyl records and he bluntly asked me what modern music I was into. I stumbled, and delivered a half-assed assessment. I segued into this album by saying, “I always keep my ear to the ground for something crazy or inspiring coming out of the Christian sphere.” I think he feels the same way. I forgot to send him copies of the impy threes, but I hope he tracked down the LP!

3. Spacemen 3

Girls, Jesus, and heroin.

Those are the three subjects that nearly every Spacemen 3 song revolved around. A similar lyrical trifecta can be extrapolated from underground heroes Brian Jonestown Massacre, and to a lesser extent, the Velvet Underground.

Spacemen 3 -

Walkin’ With Jesus

www.youtube.com/embed/NRuoXqpL6ZM?

Amazing lyrics are amazing:

I walked with jesus and he would say 

Oh you poor child you ain’t coming with me, no way 

He found heaven on earth, he’s gonna burn for your sins 

But I think I’ll be good company down there with all of my friends 

Spacemen 3

Ode to Street Hassle

www.youtube.com/embed/qSrLlhLJ-eA?

“I’ve been some far out places, I’ve read the writing on the wall. Today I walked with Jesus, and together, we walked tall.”

Lyrics like that coupled with druggie space rock are irresistible to me. It’s a goddamn shame that they split up over disagreements stemming from the release of a cover of the Troggs 1965 hit ‘Anyway That You Want Me’.

2. Half-Handed Cloud

John Ringhofer’s solo project, Half-Handed Cloud, takes its name from an Old Testament verse. John is another example of a person who couldn’t possibly do anything else but make music. He lives in a Church rent-free in exchange for cleaning up the place.

John’s DIY approach oscillates between lofi bedroom chamber pop, and rapid-fire grandiose layering akin to a righteous Electric Light Orchestra song. Parts of Brian Wilson’s ‘Smile’ are screaming through in a one-man, four-part harmony. The real magic is in his lyrics, though. There is an unmistakably honest and genuine character at play. On this song from 2006′s Halos and Lassos, he’s downright jealous of non-believers!

Half-Handed Cloud -

Tongues That Possess The Earth Instead

www.youtube.com/embed/vSGqny1qfXc?

Many of his songs are extremely short like that. While every Half-Handed Cloud song is ‘catchy’, some of the songs are dangerously catchy. I’m serious.

Half-Handed Cloud -

He’s Not The Swindler, We Are

www.youtube.com/embed/8GhAOSWw_T4?

The only thing holding back this Sufjan Stevens acolyte from breaking through to a bigger audience is, well… the dumbed-down nature of modern music itself. The radio-rock audience has been sold repackaged and uninspired swill for so long that when a challenger appears, it sounds ‘too weird’.

1. Lift To Experience

Lift To Experience released ‘The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads’ in 2001, a 2xLP that would end up being their only album. You can tell that lead singer, Josh T. Pearson is absolutely convinced he is about to be raptured… any second. It’s a hard way to live, and it engenders a sense of urgency not displayed by other contemporary ‘indie rockers’.

The album received moderate critical acclaim, fetching a 7.8 / 10 on the hipster-bible known as Pitchfork.

The first single, “These Are the Days,” is easily the strongest track on The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads: somehow catchy, bluesy and full of wrath. It’s constructed around jangly loops of guitar, and for the first time, Pearson’s loose and hyperbolic lyricism functions as an asset instead of a liability. So, as to preempt any comparisons to Europe’s “The Final Countdown” (even though Pearson does, at one point, actually start counting down to apocalypse), the band takes a jab at “all you haircut bands doing headstands thinking you’ll turn the world upside down.” Why, you ask? “Because we’re simply the best band in the whole damn land… and Texas is the reason.”

Lift To Experience -

These Are The Days

www.youtube.com/embed/vX2Xzl6bylc?

Despite the high-praise for that song, Pitchfork’s review of the Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads summarized the album as a whole in a less forgiving, but entirely appropriate way.

In the end (of the album, not the world), the parade of self-references, such as the above and, “Just a stupid ranch hand in a Texas rock band trying to understand God’s master plan” grows cumbersome. And unfortunately, “angels with crippled wings” and “God’s terrible swift sword” do not lighten the load. The music is supple, and often absolutely inspiring; however, the lyrics, frequent spoken-word passages, and hymns are often deadening. Lift to Experience simply sprawl like prairies, and maybe like Texas: there’s simply too much of it. There’s no question that The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads is built solid. But the second coming? Not quite yet.

That’s a pretty accurate way to describe Josh T. Pearson’s recent solo-work as well. Personally, I find it breathtaking, but I may be an idiot trying to appreciate a recording of a discarded plastic bag fluttering in the wind a la American Beauty’s art-school in-joke supporting role. See for yourself as Josh literally wanders the streets of Paris singing “Sweethart I Aint Your Christ | Thou Art Loosed | A Take Away Show”.

Disclaimer

To be considered for this list, the band had to be relatively obscure. That leaves out tracks like Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit In The Sky, or Edwin Hawkins Singers’ ‘Oh Happy Day’, which otherwise would definitely fit on this list. They were omitted because it is assumed that you already knew them.

More recent bands like Creed, P.O.D., and MxPx were excluded because their music is terrible. It’s a continuation of the typical goal of converting kids to Christianity by creating bland ‘sounds like what the kids like’ uninspired drivel. It’s not real music. These types are not artists, they are safe boy-bands for the Walmart consumer. Feel free to leave your suggestions, but don’t include shit like this. Similarly, don’t bother with so-called Christian alt-rockers like DC Talk, Third Day, Skillet, etc. Those are the wannabes that simply didn’t quite cross-over. Equally useless and uninspired. On the other hand, do feel free to include songs like Spirit in the Sky – I’m sure I missed a few.

I know I left out critically acclaimed David Bazan / Pedro the Lion. That was simply because I’m unfamiliar. I’m hoping that a reader can leave a link to a good tune to start with. I know he’s an atheist now, but I’d like to hear the ‘Jesus stuff’.

What Christian bands / songs give you goosebumps?

Print Friendly
About Justin Griffith
  • Kilian Hekhuis

    More recent bands like Creed, P.O.D., and MxPx were excluded because their music is terrible. It’s a continuation of the typical goal of converting kids to Christianity by creating bland ‘sounds like what the kids like’ uninspired drivel. It’s not real music. These types are not artists, they are safe boy-bands for the Walmart consumer.

    I’ve been thinking for the past five minutes how to respond in a nifty way to this rather crude and uninformed opinion, but I come up blank. Let’s just say that I find it a bit pretentious to try to define what is good music and what isn’t.

    • Justin Griffith

      Google ‘worst band in the world’.

      edit: Also, the whole article is pretentious. Did you see the way I gushed over these bands? Just call me a ‘hipster’. I think that’s what you meant :)

  • davidhart

    You forgot about 16 Horsepower, and Woven Hand, the later band with the same front man, David Eugene Edwards. Seriously compelling hillbilly/goth/rock stuff from the actual son of a preacherman from Denver, Colorado. Very big in Belgium and the Netherlands for some reason I can’t quite fathom, but it does mean that when they do a European tour, they seldom even bother to visit the UK, which is disappointing for those of us who live here.

    • davidhart

      I should be more specific re goosebumps, come to think of it. I’ll dig up a couple of good links once I get home from work.

      • http://www.facebook.com/william.perrin.52 William Perrin

        “Not One Stone” always gets me. http://youtu.be/F2D98Y1p3eU

        Also, I call dibs on “Blessed Persistence” as my post-apocalyptic Walking-the-Earth theme music. http://youtu.be/kvhKRIvJ7Z0

        So yeah, +1 for David Eugene Edwards. Across two bands and twenty years, the man has released maybe five songs that are merely good. Everything else is gold.

      • davidhart

        Yeah, those are good ones, William. But I’ve got to put in a word for 16HP’s ‘Splinters’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJiTdSqJ3gw … probably my big hit if I had to pick one.

        Also their sparse, banjo-led cover of ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ is cool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_vdlo2X2ug

        And as for Woven Hand, I vote for ‘Sparrow Falls’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uA4KsDdQ7g

        Doomy bells and all…

        the desolate and insistent ‘Tin Finger’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ihJ6-FrOec

        and lastly, ‘Winter Shaker’, which gets points for having a hurdy-gurdy too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hl9AMQgUL8&feature=related

        There you go, Justin. That’s more than you were wanting, I expect, but as William Perrin would agree, he’s done very little that isn’t worth sharing.

      • Justin Griffith

        I can’t wait to digest all of these. Thanks for compiling! I’m in a hotel for the next few weeks and the wifi is less than stellar. I’ll definitely listen to these (and everyone else’s suggestions). Thanks!

  • jasmyn

    Justin! Sufjan Stevens! We had a looong discussion about him. You suggested Half Handed cloud (why won’t my phone capitalize the c). I think you also noticed my Daniel Johnston tat that night, but that may have been a different time.

  • jasmyn

    And now I feel dumb. I just listened and glanced at the headings (I’m still in bed). You did mention Sufjan Stevens. Sorry! . He just didn’t get his own section. Sorry!

    • Justin Griffith

      Sufjan would have gotten his own section if more songs were explicitly Christian. Some songs are about cities, road trips, regrets, cancer, love, etc. Casimi Pulaski Day (might be misspelled) is one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard – good tune! And TBH, I’m not a huge SS fan. Got burned out on it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christine.hadley.31 christinehadley

    “Good” and “bad” as labels ought to be up to the individual listener, personally, in both religious and non-religious themed music. For instance, on the link on facebook Claudette said U2 sucks. I happen to like U2. Everyone has their own personal taste, likes and dislikes. Don’t go telling me what is and is not good.

    • Justin Griffith

      Don’t tell me not to tell you things! You’re not the boss of me!!! :)

      It’s all obviously a matter of taste. I’m into underground music, though I’ve got no problem with underground musicians who make it big (R.E.M., Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Flaming Lips, etc…) The distinction I usually make with modern radio-rock is this: If a band wants to be famous as their primary goal, the music likely suffers because it’s uninspired and similar to whatever else is on the radio. Conversely, there are artists that are so overtaken by their passion and music that fame is far from their goal – some even specifically shun it (tragically, in my opinion). How many Pearl Jam clones came out? How many autotuned rappers all sound the same and rap about the same subjects? It’s because the dollar is driving the radio playlist, not originality, talent, or ‘good music’. There are amazing underground rappers, and rockers that blow peoples minds at every $5 gig they play. Occasionally they break on through, and they deserve it – but it’s rare. Turn the radio off. That’s the thing that’s been telling you what is and is not good, and they suck at it. The internet has some amazing alternative avenues. There are entire genres out there that just couldn’t be heard on the radio, ‘android jazz’, ‘glofi’, ‘jazz-step’, ‘synth-punk’ etc. Your favorite song is out there, somewhere!

      I’m not a U2 fan, but I respect Bono’s socially aware persona. I even liked the weird video for ‘Lemon’ off Zooroopa (or however you spell it). I don’t hate U2, by any stretch – it’s just not my thing. I’ll take U2 over Creed any day!

      • http://www.facebook.com/christine.hadley.31 christinehadley

        See, I can agree with that, lol. The music I like, I like cause it appeals to me on a personal level, be it good lyrics or a catchy tune. There are some songs I like, but could not care less about the band/artist themselves. I have a nice little collection of no-one-knows-who-we-are music. Long Story Short, a Canadian band whom I am friends with the lead; inPassing who are labeled Christian, I suppose; one of my friend’s brothers who is definitely Christian, but not all his songs smack of jebus talk. I don’t really listen to the radio, or watch a lot of tv for that matter. You can ask me what the top 40 are, and I won’t have a clue until I google it lol.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jasonpbachand sc_a7897c05478ecf7a213c29daadc7b2bc

    You simply can’t beat Neal Morse for transcendent Christian music. It’s virtuoso, symphonic, and celestial. I’m not any kind of a believer but his work never fails to give me goosebumps just for the sheer breathtaking power of it all.

    Here’s “The Door,” part one of his “Sola Scriptura” CD, a musical celebration of the life of Martin Luther – performed live.

    • davidhart

      He’s definitely channeling Rick Wakeman in some of those keyboard runs.

      Speaking of which, Rick Wakeman is someone whose non-sectarian* music with Yes I would highly recommend, but whose work as a Christian solo artist I would generally advise you to give a miss.

      (*I say non-sectarian because Yes were not explicitly religious exactly, but they were exceedingly about the mysticism and the woo)

    • Kilian Hekhuis

      This would list as pure progrock, I guess? Quite enjoyable.

      • Kilian Hekhuis

        Damn, that name should’ve rung a bell! Spock’s Beard. Of course… Seen them play aeons ago.

  • Ronald

    So glad David Eugene Edwards already got mentioned, both projects mentioned above are incredible.

    As far as Pedro in full christian mode, check out “It’s Hard to Find a Friend” – the entire album (mostly) revolves around the difficulty of reconciling his christian faith with the complete lack of evidence (or presence) of god. It’s an incredibly sad album, and, disputably, his best. Certainly my favorite of his.

    Based on the Spacemen 3 inclusion (in that I wouldn’t necessarily think of them as christian music but they certainly employ christian imagery) I would say that The Mountain Goats album “The Life of the World to Come” would qualify here. Each song on the album is named after and thematically based on verses from the Bible. Has a couple of my favorite MG tracks on it: Thankfully I had just parked my car the first time I ever listened to Matthew 25:21 as I was sobbing by the end of the song.

    • Ronald

      Oh, I forgot to mention the first three Starflyer 59 albums on Touch and Go (the silver, gold, and red albums). Really good shoegaze.

      • Ronald

        HA! “Touch and Go” – I meant “Tooth and Nail”. Sadly, that’s not the first time I’ve written one and meant the other.

      • Justin Griffith

        Tooth & Nail’s back catalog has a lot of weird stuff buried in it. They were all over the place for a while.

        Touch and Go, on the other hand were pretty consistent ‘indie music giants’. I used to get so much merch from them when I worked at a record store. Still have a lot of posters on the wall. They would call my store and ask how many copies of such and such record we sold that week… we learned that if we just lied and said that we sold a few (unfortunately, that location was not a mecca for indie / underground), they would send lots and lots of posters! Good stuff.

  • plutosdad

    When I was a christian i was in a band called Global Wave System, industrial before everyone added guitars to industrial, when it was more noise. people compared us to Skinny Puppy which kind of drove us crazy but there could be worse bands to compare us to.

    I was just listening a few weeks ago and the music was pretty good I thought, esp the stuff the other guy wrote (whose name was actually Christian ) but the lyrics are awful guilt ridden drivel that makes me amazed at how evil religion is and how we could think that way. Obviously since it was industrial there were no happy nice songs. you should be able to find some, I know someone put some on youtube as ads for something he is selling, I haven’t taken the time to fill out the long takedown notice yet.

    • Justin Griffith

      Guilt-ridden christian lyrics? Sounds very Catholic. I could see it working. Industrial is not really my thing, though I do own a Big Black record or two (and a Pigface comp). Blair Scott at American Atheists is a huge fan of industrial, you should send him a copy, or me a link and I’ll pass it along.

  • Steve Caldwell

    I would also include the Indigo Girls as a Christian rock example. Many of their songs include Biblical references … the song “Strange Fire” is a good example of this:

    The song uses an obscure reference to Leviticus 10:1-3 to ask who is authentically speaking for God as you can see from the lyrics:

    i come to you with strange fire, i make an offering of love, the incense of my soil is burned by the fire in my blood. i come with a softer answer to the questions that lie in your path. i want to harbor you from the anger, find a refuge from the wrath.

    this is a message of love. love that moves from the inside out, love that never grows tired. i come to you with strange fire.

    mercenaries of the shrine, who are you to speak for god? with haughty eyes and lying tongues and hands that shed innocent blood. who delivered you the power to interpret calvary? you gamble away our freedom to gain your own authority.

    find another state of mind. grab hold. strange fire burns with the motion of love.

    when you learn to love yourself, you will dissolve all the stones that are cast, you will learn to burn the icing sky and to melt the waxen mask. yes, to have the gift of true release, this is a peace that will take you higher. i come to you with my offering., i bring you strange fire.

    this is a message of love. love that moves from the inside out, love that never grows tired. i come to you with strange fire.

  • Metal Head

    I’m a fan of Heavy Metal and especially the sub-genre Metalcore. One of the most poplular bands of that sub-genre and my personal favourite is a band called As I Lay Dying. They say that they are christians in a band but not a christian band (lol) ….anyhow…that girl in the t-shirt ad is stunning.

  • nomennescio

    Hey, you left out J.S. Bach.

    • nomennescio

      And W. A. Mozart and a whole shitload of other kickass composers.

    • http://howlandbolton.com richardelguru

      Almost all religious music before the Romantics (who really, rather, on the whole preferred Nature) is great. Pretty much the whole chant repertoire, SS Godric, Ambrose and Hildegard, through Perotin, Dufay, Machaut, Josquin down (the high point of Western Music occurring 2/3rds of the way through the Credo of Josquin’s Missa l’Homme Armé, it has to be down) to Handel, Bach, Haydn and Mozart; of course not forgetting the wonderful work of Anon.

  • F

    King’s X, esp. Gretchen Goes to Nebraska.

    • http://www.davidrutt.me.uk rutty

      King’s X were/are a great band :)

    • Justin Griffith

      I had no idea King’s X were Christian (or wrote largely Christian songs on their earlier albums).

      Saw this on Wiki:

      In 1998, Pinnick came out during an interview for Regeneration Quarterly. Diamante Music Group cancelled distribution of King’s X material in Christian retail stores following this information becoming public knowledge. In recent years, Pinnick has revealed that he now identifies as agnostic, in contrast to his Contemporary Christian music past.

      Didn’t even know he was gay! Apart from that, his story seems somewhat similar to David Bazan. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.davidrutt.me.uk rutty

    You into Jazz? Wynton Marsalis certainly channels God in his music. I saw part of his magnificent long-form opus In This House On This Day on the BBC Proms one year and fell in love with his music. One of the most moving pieces of music I’ve ever heard. Glorious.

    I play in a brass band and inevitably end up playing quite a lot of Salvationist music. I don’t agree with the religious aspects obviously, but some of this music is really beautiful.

    I’m an old metal head too and can remember Stryper. Too shit to be on this list, right?

    • Metal Head

      I STILL get goosbumps when I hear ALWAYS THERE FOR YOU

  • steve84

    I prefer the Bright Eyes version of “Devil Town”:

  • http://LinkWray.com Greg Laxton

    Vernon Wray’s Wasted has been reissued by Sebastian Speaks.

    Take a listen to Link Wray’s FIRE AND BRIMSTONE for another tune that doesn’t suck! : )

  • Happiestsadist, opener of the Crack of Doom

    Nick Cave!

  • left0ver1under

    There has only ever been one group that I could stand who had a lot of christian themes in their songs: Blood, Sweat and Tears. I liked the band’s musicianship and Clayton-Thomas’s voice, but not some of the lyrics.

    Musicianship is the only redeeming quality of such music. If it doesn’t have it, I’m definitely not interested.

  • tripencrypt

    I’m glad 16 horsepower has been mentioned. I picked their CD Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes as one of my free discs from BMG back in 1996. I still enjoy it to this day.

    Nobody Special was a punkish band led by Pat Nobody

    Finger Pointer

    Dave Perkins (one half of the Beaufort Twins with Steve Taylor)

    His whole album The Innocence is on youtube and it also got 4.5 stars at allmusic.com

    Dave Perkins – Make Me Feel

    Steve Taylor, who in his own right, is awesome. The album I predict 1990 is fantastic

    Steve Taylor – Jim Morrison’s Grave

    Dave and Steve and several other guys got together and formed a band, Chagall Guevara, that only did one album.

    Chagall Guevara – If It All Comes True

    Adam Again

    Adam Again – Occam’s Razor

    DA (or Daniel Amos) and The Swirling Eddies, both fronted by Terry Taylor

    DA – Return of The Beat Menace

    DA – The Unattainable Earth

    Swirling Eddies – Outdoor Elvis

    DA – Big, Warm, Sweet Interior Glowing

    Swirling Eddies – The Big Guns

    Speaking of Terry Taylor, he did a concept album called A Briefing for the Ascent as an homage to his dying grandmother.

    Terry Taylor – A Briefing For The Ascent

    The Seventy Sevens, their album Sticks and Stones is still one of my favorites.

    Seventy Sevens – Nowhere Else

    The Choir

    The Choir – Sad Face

    The Choir – Circle Slide

  • Tim Lehnerer

    I’m a big big fan of Tonio K.; he started out as a super-bitter New Wave social commentator (imagine if Tom Lehrer and the Cars were the same band) but eventually converted and wrote songs like “Hey John” (about the book of Revelation) and “Too Cool to be a Christian” (about social pressure not to convert). I much prefer his earlier work, but even after his conversion he was pretty damned good.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yhso3Fdcw0k (my favorite Tonio K track–”True Confessions”)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tId29Yit28g (“Hey John”, which is almost a Hal Lindsay book you can slow-dance to)

  • loreo

    Nina Simone? “Sinnerman” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6_BWNzThJY

    Johnny Cash? “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IStlBOX9F4o

    There’s uh-mazing gospel, blues, country, all kinds of folk music out there that is Christian in message but oh-so-much better in execution.

  • loreo

    I think we can conclude that being a Christian does nothing to prevent great artistry, but trying to proselytize to whatever you think the “cool kids” are certainly does.

  • Skip White

    Mumford & Sons have a somewhat religious feel to some, if not most of their songs, though they’re not preachy. Murder By Death also has religious themes in a lot of their work, though more from a literary perspective.

    • davidhart

      I just got the new Mumford and Sons record, and it definitely has a goddy tint to some of the lyrics, although, doing a bit of googling to see where they actually stand turned up an interview where the lead singer says “I don’t even call myself a Christian. Spirituality is the word we engage with more. We’re fans of faith, not religion.”

      So, there you go – a bit goddy, but also a bit coy about it.

      http://www.electric-banana.co.uk/news/music-news/mumford-and-sons-deny-new-album-babel-is-religious/ if you want to read the full thing.

      Needless to say, if Mumford and Sons are to be bracketed as Christian Rock after all, then I would wholeheartedly file them under the ‘doesn’t suck’ category. But, given my enthusiasm for 16 Horsepower / Woven Hand (see above), it was perhaps inevitable that I should be enamoured of another banjo-heavy, power-folk type outfit:-)

      • Justin Griffith

        A lot of the recommendations you made reminded me of (entirely secular) Crooked Fingers. I still love the cover-EP ‘Reservoir Songs’.

        Crooked Fingers – When You Were Mine (Prince cover – way better than the original)

  • Braavos

    Switchfoot and Anberlin are two bands composed of Christians that just make damn good rock.

    • Justin Griffith

      I think Switchfoot sounds like any other generic alt-rock ‘the kids like this shit’… but I only heard a few tracks. Not familiar with Anberlin. Also, people like what they like, so don’t be offended. Rock out to your faves!

  • http://facebook.com/lolatbird Jose

    There’s two bands id like to put forward.

    The first is Underoath…although i doubt that you guys

    would enjoy the sound..and The Almost.

    iv’e listened to those band for years i love them very

    much but i am a fan of the metalcore so it might be

    over your guys’ heads, but both bands are christian and both bands are awesome! i believe Underoath has won a Gospel music award but i have yet to verify.

  • Charles Sullivan

    This must be a white people thing.

    • Justin Griffith

      lolwut

  • A Hermit (that’s “A” with a “plus”)

    Two artists I really admire, both for their musicianship and, frankly, for their honest, questioning kind of liberal Christianity:

    Bruce Cockburn (possibly my all time favourite guitarist):

    All the diamonds in this world

    That mean anything to me

    Are conjured up by wind and sunlight

    Sparkling on the sea

    And “Over the Rhine”

  • A Hermit (that’s “A” with a “plus”)

    Oops, didn’t mean to embed that video…I was going for a link…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBJL5rVHBuQ

  • http://lordsetar.wordpress.com Setár, genderqueer Elf-Sheriff of Atheism+

    More recent bands like Creed, P.O.D., and MxPx were excluded because their music is terrible. It’s a continuation of the typical goal of converting kids to Christianity by creating bland ‘sounds like what the kids like’ uninspired drivel. It’s not real music. These types are not artists, they are safe boy-bands for the Walmart consumer.

    Funny thing is, I think that the Canadian band Nickelback sounds (for the most part) like a bad ripoff of Creed.

    But, yeah. You can add Chevelle to that list; my roommate plays them all the time, and they’re just horrible. Eugh. When I hear that crap coming up from my floorboards, I counter it with NIN or White Zombie.

    • Justin Griffith

      Didn’t know Chevelle were on par. Thanks for the head’s up (already hated them too). Totally agreed about Nickelback… Did you see the story about them violating their own copyright? Holy shit, they can’t even hire a guy to rip off somebody else! They ripped off themselves!

  • sherylyoung

    Where’s Phil Keaggy? I knew him in the 60′s when he was in the Glass Harp,before he became a crazy Christian. I was there when he was briefly into “The Children of God”. He’s still a hell of a guitarist and I truly enjoy his riffs.

  • hotshoe

    Two artists I really admire, both for their musicianship and, frankly, for their honest, questioning kind of liberal Christianity:

    Bruce Cockburn (possibly my all time favourite guitarist):

    Glad you mentioned Bruce Cockburn. He wrote my favorite “christmas” song:

    Like a stone on the surface of a still river

    Driving the ripples on forever

    Redemption rips through the surface of time

    In the cry of a tiny babe

    There are others who know about this miracle birth

    The humblest of people catch a glimpse of their worth

    For it isn’t to the palace that the Christ child comes

    But to shepherds and street people, hookers and bums

    And the message is clear if you’ve got [you have] ears to hear

    That forgiveness is given for your guilt and your fear

    It’s a Christmas gift [that] you don’t have to buy

    There’s a future shining in a baby’s eyes

    It’s subversive. Which I like, and which I think christianity was supposed to be, before it was taken over by the popes and the money and the empire …

  • http://www.miakatempire.com Matthew Lee Ellis

    You forgot Danielson Family!!! Starflyer 59, Joy Electric, Damien Jurado, Suffering and the Hideous Theives, and if you want to go way back, Poor Old Lu and The Prayer Chain. These were/are some of the greater examples of art obscurely made by Christians. If ya don’t believe me watch what Steve Albini has to say about Danielson on their documentary film “A Danielson Family Movie”. The film also has a neat scene where the two great weirdos brother Danielson and Daniel Johnston are talking together before a show. Also Poor Old Lu were instrumental in the conversion of Jeremy Enigk. Who was also good friends with Damien Jurado. Please give them all a spin. They are the tip of the iceberg but a good tip to start with. Oh one more mention. Blenderhead’s. 1994 “prime candidate for burnout” is one of the best punk albums I’ve ever listened to. Peace.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X

%d bloggers like this: