Though I’m not much of a singer, I have a deep appreciation for music. Over the past year there’s been a change in my music listening habits. Specifically in my ‘Christian’ music listening habits. (And, yes, I think it is silly some music is ‘Christian’ and other music isn’t. See Blimey Cow The Problem with Christian Bands.) The music that I’m talking about is modern worship music, defining worship music as being expressly created to exalt God. You know, the music that KLOVE might play. (Also see Blimey Cow How To Write a Worship Song [In 5 Minutes or Less] – you won’t regret it!)
I’m not the first Christian to voice a concern with modern worship music. Take Keith & Kristyn Getty for example, who work to bring theologically rich hymns back to the church. To my great joy I have discovered several bands, and individual artists, that intently focus on the purpose of their lyrics and not how many woah’s they can squeeze into the bridge of their hit single.
These recording artists, in my opinion, are doing modern worship music well:
Shai Linne & Timothy Brindle are both on the Lamp Mode record label. Lamp Mode’s mission statement is to highlight “the Character of God, while presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ and a biblical world view through hiphop culture.” What? Me listening to hiphop? Yes! It’s actually pretty amazing. Even if you don’t have a dope bone in your body (like me) I urge you to check out Shai and Timothy if for no other reason than their spot-on lyrics. Take one of Shai’s joints from his album The Attributes of God:
Let us consider the God who is there
Possessing a glory that’s not to be shared
God vs. anyone – not even fair
How could you dare to try to compare
The self-existent, self-sufficient
Faithful God whose word we can trust
Perfectly holy and perfectly just
His beauty, there’s no end to it
Transcendence is infinite
Knowledge and wisdom, intricate
Steadfast love is intimate
And that’s a hiphop number, y’all! Solid.
Another artist I’ve really come to appreciate is Lauren Chandler. Her EP The Narrow Place is almost like listening to someone’s devotionals; very melodic and gentle. One of her songs, Though You Slay Me, was directly taken from Job 15:13. The song is painfully honest, but a beautiful picture of what it looks like to trust the Lord amid difficult circumstances. Knowing Lauren’s testimony makes that song in particular, and every track on the EP, ever more sincere.
Citizens are an indie rock group and Ghost Ship is a roots-rock group that come from Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. While each of these bands have unique styles, both groups are a bit grungy-sounding. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any other worship band sound quite like these two. But, again, what makes Citizens and Ghost Ship truly worth listening to is their lyrics.
What about you? Are you disenchanted with modern worship music? What modern worship artists do you think are getting it right?