Yes, it’s another installment of Cerulean Sanctum’s “award that no one wants to win”—the More Cowbell Award!
This one deals with contemporary Christian music, so you know it’s going to be a doozy. I’m sure just about everyone reading this blog will agree that most modern Christian radio stations are deep wells filled with the music of mediocrity, but it was hard for me to believe what I was hearing on two of the stations in my local area (I listen for the one or two decent preachers they have on from time to time. None of the Christian music I like is ever played.) In the span of no more than fifteen minutes, I heard three instances of what wins my second award. Even I was caught off guard by this new CCM trend because I didn’t think it was possible to surpass a nadir.
And I still can’t scrub it out of my ears, so—
Our second More Cowbell Award goes to
Children’s Choirs in Adult Contemporary Christian Music
I don’t get it. What is the lure for adults singers to have children’s choirs backing them on what are essentially pop and rock tunes? One of the songs that sent me screaming into the night had the most inane backing, with little kids repeating ad nauseum, “I fall down and get back up.” If I were a kid singing that three hundred times over through the course of the song, I’d think I’d take a swing at the producer, or at least bite his ankle. Guessing the ages of the singers, it sounded to me that on that song not a single kid was past the concrete reasoning stage, leading me to believe that all of them were thinking, Grownups must be really clumsy.
Back in the Eighties and Nineties we had what I called “Sandi Patty (or is that “Sandi Patti” or “Sandy Patti” or…oh, never mind) Syndrome” where producers, especially on her albums, had to have four thousand cymbal crashes, a white pop choir, a black gospel choir, and a London Symphony Orchestra swell at song’s end, culminating in a sonic denouement I can best describe as “cataclysmic.” I developed a permanent tic after the Christian bookstore I worked for several years ago insisted on playing a loop of Patty/Patti’s album Morning Like This all day, every day for weeks. Now, some musical genius from the realms of 2005’s CCM is forcing real live human beings to endure the voices of cherubic children mouthing the words some Nashville-crossover songwriter thought would sound cute and/or serious coming out of the mouths of babes.
Give me a man or woman with a decent singing voice and a mastery of a guitar or piano, and just let them sing, fer cryin’ out loud! After all, it’s Christ-ianity, not Kitsch-ianity.
*For an in-depth explanation of the More Cowbell Award, please click here.