Soon to be a WTR mini-series!
#1 As an electric guitarist in a worship environment, I've been wondering about a phrase we string jockeys use: Cutting Through The Mix. It would seem counterproductive to do this when our job is to support the vocals. What is "cutting through the mix", and who decided it was important?
#2 When we pick songs for worship that we consider to be fresh and original, and fail to see the irony in thinking that sounding exactly like the recordings of those songs makes us in any way fresh and original too, isn't that also irony?
Feel free to rant if you want to. I'd like this series of posts to be a safe ranting zone. :)
I am an organist by trade (Master's in performance); but right now I'm laying down tracks for a CD (something I said I'd never do, multiple tracks) on a keyboard that has a really nice guitar sound.
But each thing has its place. There are three wonderful things to consider - the faithfulness of the dog, the works of a watch, the poems of Keats; no, four! A Bach fugue, in high gear on a kickin' pipe organ, played with gusto, abandon and wild love.
It seems like most people adopt one of three attitudes with regard to... a lot of stuff. Either they like "the classics" or they like what was popular when they were in high school or they like what is popular now. I suppose that second group is most in danger of becoming "dated," but there are drawbacks to all three approaches. This can apply to the music they like, the hairstyle they wear, lots of stuff. I suppose "classic" is an attempt to find something that doesn't really offend anybody, even if some people do consider it dated. Ya know, will "Pass it On" become a classic once everybody who was in high school in 1970 is gone?
My experience with the church has been that "whatever was popular ten years ago, that we hated then, but is now relatively okay in comparison with what is popular now" is maybe a fourth attitude, which in many cases can make one seem constantly dated.
It seems to me like the gap has grown wider since I was a kid - back then, you never heard a TV commercial or theme song that sounded like what was current in music - now, to some degree, you do. But that may just be me thinking that the music of 10 years ago is still "current"...
As for pop/secular music I fall mostly into the first and second categories.
But for worship music - I have always had the opinion that it is NEVER dated. A hymn from the 1600s can be as useful and up to date as a song from yesterday.
As to "Pass it on," that seemed limited to only one group back in 1970: the Church of Christ. No one else even heard of it.
It seems to me too that this gap has been widening (global widening) , likely as a continuation of the power of commercialization (old is bad, buy the new, be happy, hip and hot), putting intense pressure on adult leaders to patronize constant change as a cure for irrelevance. On the other hand, as Tevye said with that friendly growl in his voice... on the other hand, through the Internet, bean-grillin' cowpokes in Montana can and do listen to Rachmaninoff; and black-shirted skateboarders hear Wagnerian Hobbitmusik and Maori a capella chant courtesy of Howard Shore. This is bound to have an effect on the thing of "being current" -- they can only pretend to like bubble-gum poprock for so long, until they realize that their friends also are listening to music outside the Preferred Cultural Zone of 80's Rock.
What becomes a classic? Good case for theistic evolution! The truly unfit head to the shredder right away; the flash-in-the-pan warm-memory songs get another chance - a good arrangement grows them a set of wings under their arms, enabling them to survive a little longer. Does God give any of these songs a nudge, like "Amazing Grace", or "When I Survey", through inspired arrangements we sing today? Who knows?
Yes, today, I walk through the aisles of a store and hear music, and think - hey, that sounds like Christian music! And my wife, who has marvelous ears that can actually hear the words to a song, tells me it is some horrid thing about betrayal and incest that's popular at the moment.
"Pass It On" is a great song, worthy of wings. How about a remake in grunge?
Wrong on so many levels. ;-)
Cool on so many levels.
I bet he would have found a way to do feedback and divebombs on that thing ....