||A primer on Contemporary Christian Music
|"Christian" music has been around as long as
Christianity itself. The book of Psalms, in fact, was written not just as prose or
poetry, but as a songbook for the Jewish people. Paul and the other apostles often
passed the time in prison by singing, a fact that is noted throughout the book of
|In I Corinthians 15:33 the Bible teaches, "Do not
be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'" Jesus himself said that
those who follow him were to be in the world, but not of the world. And yet how much
time do we spend listening to the radio, enduring sexual innuendos, bad language, and
sometimes even threats of violence because 'it's got a good beat'?
preaching. 'Contemporary' Christian music is a fantastic alternative to the
traditional pop, R & B, hip hop and even heavy metal music. You can now find
groups in just about every musical style that write excellent music with positive lyrics
we can enjoy without worrying about what the artist is 'really' saying.
|So now the big question: where to begin? Unless you are one
of the lucky ones who live within the vicinity of a Contemporary
Christian radio station, chances are you probably haven't heard much Contemporary
Christian music. How will you find something you're sure to like?
Steven Curtis Chapman
Jars of Clay (click on picture to see at full size)
One way to get started is by purchasing a compilation
CD. The WOW series (WOW
1998, and WOW
1999) feature the most popular CCM artists for each respective year and are some of
the most wide-ranging compilation CDs in Contemporary Christian music--running the gamut
from pop to rock to gospel and R&B. Some other CDs you might want to take
a look at include the Touched
by an Angel Soundtrack, the Prince
of Egypt Nashville and Prince
of Egypt Inspirational CDs, (all three of which feature Contemporary Christian artists
alongside pop, gospel and R & B greats) and My
Utmost for His Highest, a collection of inspirational Contemporary Christian music
from some of the most popular CCM artists.
However, if you're musical tastes aren't all that wide-ranging, a compilation CD may
not be right for you. Here's a short list of Christian artist and the 'pop' artists
they might be compared to:
-- Abbakethwa: This group is a little tough to describe. The
closest description I could give is South African R & B gospel. Addicting music,
though. Anyone who likes Boyz II Men must check these guys out.
-- Jesus Freak: Although this group has been around for sometime, I
still think that this is their best album. By far, it is their most popular--even
had a Top 40 single (Just Between You and Me). A must for anyone who likes a harder
edged rock/pop sound.
Day: More hard-edged CCM rock--a little stronger than dcTalk.
Anyone who likes the current rock sound should take a listen to these guys.
Curtis Chapman -- Heaven in the Real World: The reigning king of CCM
music. Has more albums than I care to get into here, but Heaven in the Real World is
by far his best. I played my tape until it died, and by then I had the songs
memorized. His music has a similar feel to Kenny Loggins--very much 'adult
of Clay -- Jars of Clay: The middle ground between dcTalk/Audio
Adrenaline and Steven Curtis Chapman. The songs have a more folksy/rock feel with a
lot of really good acoustic guitar. Comparison? I can't think of any;
this group's sound is pretty unique.
Velasquez -- Jaci Velasquez: The LeAnn Rimes of CCM music.
Teenager with a huge voice (has a featured song on the Touched by an Angel Soundtrack CD).
Wide Message Tribe -- Revived: The only way to describe this band from
Manchester is Christian House Music. Great lyrics plus an amazing groove--and I
don't even like house music! I have a friend who DJ's a lot of Christian parties.
Guess what he's getting next Christmas? *g*