They’re a soft target, most worship songs. Partly because they tend to be lousy musical compositions, but also partly because they tend to be mushy and indistinguishable from love ballads bar the occasional “God” and “Jesus” thrown in. In short, they’re all-around lousy songs.
One day I was in a cruel mood. So I thought I would try taking a couple of these fluff-fests and seeing how they fared when set next to the genuine article: real, bona fide love songs.
Take, for example, Big Daddy Weave’s “Every Time I Breathe”:
Now compare it with Brad Paisley’s “She’s Everything”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCjXaEbrLdw?rel=0&w=560&h=315 Fact: I’d rather hear Brad Paisley sing this song about his wife than hear Big Daddy Weave sing that song about God. Not only is the romantic language far more comfortable and appropriate, but the writing actually holds my interest. A novel concept.
Let’s try again with something a little different, a song that’s not technically worship but has a “vertical” orientation and got played a lot on Christian radio:
Okay as far as it goes, but when one of your main hooks runs, “Hold me, come on, hold me. I need your love. Hold me. Come on now…,” and when, moreover, the song is addressed to God, this is an epic fail. It’s an epic fail anyway, but the God part makes the fail even more epic. Plus, if you seriously “question” your “ability to judge wrong from right,” you’ve got some issues. And if you’re not sure what race you are, you’ve got even bigger issues. (Yes, yes, I know that’s not what he meant, but I couldn’t resist.) The whole thing just comes off very trite. It fails to make me take it seriously or provoke any thought, even though presumably it’s supposed to.
So you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true.
I stand alone without beliefs.
The only truth I know is you.
Or even more explicit: “There but for the grace of you go I.” And yet this lyric is far more believable, profound, and thought-provoking than the Coleman song, which actually is referring to God.
That is all.