Christian Music leaves me…dumbfounded

I’m a critical person. By nature I suppose, maybe it’s why Human Resources was so intriguing to me in College. Feedback + People = Super fun. I get into trouble with it here though in my blog because we don’t like to think critically about things that have “Christian” labels. Well here I go again because I’ve got another case of the reds!

Last year, By the Tree released a “Best of” project. Initially, I was surprised because the By the Tree that is on the radio now is not the By the Tree I fell in love with back with Invade My Soul. So, with the band’s line-up changes and different creative direction for sound I was curious how they could compile a “Best of” CD and what would be found on it? The name said it all: Beautiful One – The Best of By the Tree. For those of you who may not know, the song Beautiful One (title track to said “Best of” CD) is not even a song written by the band! If memory serves me correctly it’s a Tim Hughes song. A Tim Hughes song that By the Tree covered after Jeremy Camp already covered it from Tim Hughes! I only thought I was disgusted by this and then I noticed another Best of CD released just a few weeks ago.

May 27, Tree63 releases Blessed Be Your Name – The Hits. Blessed Be Your Name might be a bit more familiar to you because back in 2005 there was a CD released called Blessed Be Your Name: The Songs of Matt Redman. You might also be familiar a couple other of Matt’s songs, namely All Over the World and Nothing But the Blood. Tree63 is actually counting on it because they are also found here on Tree63‘s lists of “hits.”

Please, sincerely I implore you, find me another genre of music or band that could get away with this! I don’t know if it’s truly offensive or just plain lazy? Or if even it’s the bands fault? Although if it was the dastardly record label’s thought, who stole the band’s cahones? Since when do we congratulate, life up, exult and encourage Cover Bands by giving them Best of CDs?!?! YES all these songs are good songs but for crying out loud Tree63 didn’t you even get the memo that Matt Redman already named a Best of CD Blessed Be Your Name?!?! WE DID!

I’m officially getting rid of all bands with the word “Tree” in them from my iTunes library and any further purchases, playing, reviewing, suggesting on Last.FM, etc. and will google the record labels with whom promotes these 2 to see who else not to support.


12 Responses to “Christian Music leaves me…dumbfounded”

  1. June 4, 2008 at 7:01 am

    CRAP!…i was gonna name my bane 63 trees…grr…

    ha ha.;..im with you dude…that is insane…it should be called “our best cover songs”

  2. June 4, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Totally. It’s insane. As Charlie Peacock said recently, the catalogue of “Christian song” will continue to be devalued over time because so much of the music is disposable. What will happen is what you’ve already noticed — the songs that ARE popular will be driven to the ground as one artist (or record company) after another sucks the cash cow dry. More covers, more “best of” and inane compilations, less innovation, less attention to the craft of songwriting and the development and nurturing of new talent.

  3. June 4, 2008 at 8:08 am

    I agree, it’s ugly….

  4. June 4, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I see the same thing happening in the “secular” marketplace with things like sampling…

  5. June 4, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Dude – this is all because the “Christian” record labels are simply sub-labels of mainstream secular labels. Ergo, all they care about is sales. Worship music is really trendy and has been a big seller for the past 5 years or so, which is why we’ve seen so many “Christian” artists release “worship” albums (i.e. albums full of songs other people wrote that have already been re-recorded a hundred times). We’re just kidding ourselves if we think the Christian music industry is any different, in business practice, than the secular music market. That’s why the best artists won’t sign with “Christian” labels anymore – they’re no different on the business side of things and they control their artists’ creative decisions like Nazis.

    Hoenstly, it makes me SICK to see artists that aren’t called to be worship leaders, releasing “worship” albums. Hey – what a coincidence! Worship CD sales are up and suddenyl you feel “the call” to put out a worship album! I’m talking to you Michael W. Smith, Rebecca St. JAmes, Avalon, Phillips, Craig & Dean, Amy Grant, Kutless etc. etc. etc.

    Fun note – MusiChristian.com is selling Miley Cyrus’ new album!

  6. June 5, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Remember when we saw By The Tree with you guys at that youth group back when we lived in BR? They floored me. Their creativity, stage presence, and cohesion was outstanding. I went right out and bought “Invade My Soul” and have loved it ever since. Sadly, as you mentioned, their music hasn’t improved with each release. I didn’t know they already had a “best of,” and a cover “best of” at that. Bummer. Oh well, I guess I can still crank “Walk” and “Reveal.”

  7. June 5, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Yeah Matt, I think I bought the CD there! Incredible night!
    The real creative cool guy left the band shortly thereafter and they got more and more CCM with each release. A few good tracks here and there but pretty much a waste.
    I think it’s funny that their “Best of” showcases alot of the earlier stuff. It’s definitely some of their “best.” And it’s also written by them. At least “them” at the time.

    And yeah Jeff, see that’s why I don’t know if I should be more mad at the band or the label?!?!

  8. 8 snowjunkie
    June 5, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Dude, isn’t that the whole point of worship songs? Aren’t they supposed to be ‘covered’? Can’t these artists make them their own? Don’t we do that every Sunday?

    We can’t determine their intentions, or reasons for releasing these albums. If you don’t like ’em, don’t buy ’em.

    I think folk these days are making too much of comparison between worship music and ‘secular’ music. Surely, worship leaders/writers can become more creative, but they have to stay at a level that the congregation can grab a hold of. That’s a difficult task.

    Just my incoherent 2 cents.

  9. June 5, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    There’s a line for me that was crossed with these 2.
    Sure they’re worship tunes that we cover every Sunday in churches across the country. We want access to them. To me though, a “Best of” CD should be just that: the Best of Said Band. If the best of a band is cover tunes then that band has no business making a “Best of” record.

    I actually liked Jeremy Camp’s cover of Beautiful One and heard it before Tim Hughes. Good exposure! Good cover. I don’t appreciate having 3 and 4 versions of the same song out at the same time with no real distinction between the versions. It’s redundant and not creative. And I would love Christian artists to be leading creatively not lagging behind.

    That was a side rant 🙂 Again, a cover of a tune, not so terrible. Covering tunes and then naming your “Best of” CD after a cover = terrible.
    To me.

  10. June 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Barely 10 years in the industry and not a lot of original hits?! How can you justify albums like that. Record labels are to blame for this!

    BUT, covers are somewhat subjective depending on the listeners.

    btw, what’s up with all these “if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it”? it’s one person’s opinion so if you don’t like it, don’t read it 🙂

  11. June 6, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I had to stop listening to “Christian” music. It’s so inbred and lazy. And they hate bands like Pedro The Lion for writing something real, that’s not all happy-clappy.

  12. June 12, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Dude, I’m so glad that someone else applied the “inbred” label Christian music. If you think about it, it’s true. There’s just something incestuous about musicians that only listen to P&W music all the time. It’s a copy of a copy of a copy… If you limit the gene pool, bad things are bound to happen.

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