—by Nathan on March 22, 2014—
This blog is actually a rewrite of a blog I thought I put out a few months ago. I thought I'd put out a blog about genres, but either I was mistaken or I accidentally deleted it. Either way, it doesn't matter now. Some blogs I put out are probably due for a rewrite anyway. So, this will be the new and improved version of that blog, seeing as how I've probably grown in knowledge and interest with certain genres. Like the last one did, I'll list genres and why I like them. While not all genres listed are necessarily Christian or even started by Christians, that is the fundamental base I'm working off of.
WORSHIP: Out of all the genres listed, this one is my least favorite. I don't mind singing to worship music in church or listening to it in the car, but praise and gospel music isn't my favorite. Understandably, God wants those of us who are Christian to praise Him, and we can do that through music, but I tend to favor other genres that do that. Worship has its place, and its cool to be able to acknowledge God as Creator and Savior. My problem with it is that it can be bogged-down by cookie-cutter lyrics borrowed from other songs and such (for example, I think the words "Amazing Grace" can be used a little too often). I like creativity and originality, and while worship may not do that as well as other genres, I still like it for what it brings to the table: They're love songs, but they're not cheesy. They picture God through a certain lens and see Him as a powerful Maker who loves all of us. Christian artists who utilize this kind of music would be Hillsong, Casting Crowns, David Crowder Band, and Chris Tomlin. All these guys put Jesus first in their music, and that's what makes worship powerful. If I had to pick a favorite song, it would be "Just Say Jesus" by 7eventh Time Down. Admittedly, while worship isn't my favorite, I'm a sucker for a nice-sounding worship song or ballad. "Just Say Jesus" is sung and written very well and brings a very positive message.
ROCK: I'm talking Relient K-esque music, not Skillet-esque. They come later. The Christian rock I'm talking about isn't as heavy as hard rock or metal. And I know some people like listing bands like Casting Crowns under Christian Rock, but I disagree. While rock can be used to worship, it offers a very different style lyrically. Worship is full of "hallelujahs" and "praise the Lords"; very God-as-God minded, whereas other styles can be God-as-Father/Friend minded. The music speaks of our relationship with God as very personal. And some bands don't always talk about God; maybe they sing about girls or something like that. But it's music with a fun, driven sound to it. Not too heavy, but not too light. Bands here include Relient K, The Wedding (hey, cuz! kinda...), Stellar Cart, and Hawk Nelson. Bands who like the guitars and drums, but not too much. Favorite song would be "Be My Escape" by Relient K. Sweet intro and awesome lyrics (Matthew Theissen is a genius with his song-writing, full of creativity), and another song with a neat message behind it.
HARD ROCK: Ah. Welcome to my world. Moving away from the KLOVE and Shine stations (though not completely removing ourselves) and into something different. Hard rock takes rock music and brings it to a different level. Harder guitars, harder drums, and maybe some lung-coughing thrown in for good measure. Hard rock, like rock, talks of God in a more personal relationship with us, oftentimes speaking to Him one-on-one. For me, openings and choruses matter. Get the guitars straight in there from the start and blow me away with something clever and heavy (like "Hero" by Skillet, "Perceptions" by Fades Away, "New Fire" by Sent By Ravens, and "Feed The Machine" by RED do). And with choruses, clever and well-sung win it over for me. Unique lyrics that tell a story or spread a message well or just sound cool are always a plus. This is the majority of the music I listen to; not too heavy, but not too light. These guys aren't afraid to bring the thunder (gosh, that sounds cheesy...). Bands in this genre include Skillet, RED, Thousand Foot Krutch, Pillar, and Disciple (all of whom I own and listen to regularly). Favorite song is easy: "Hero" by Skillet. I fell in love with this song as soon as I heard it. Brilliantly done introduction, and, even if the lyrics are a little on the bland side, it still hits the superhero geek in me.
METAL: In-your-face, all-out, head-banging raw instrumentals and vocals. That's metal. Christian bands have taken a genre oftentimes considered "Satanic" and branded it as their own. These guys somehow know how to scream their heads off, sound good, and not lose their voices completely in the process! Understandably, I know there are a lot of people who can't stand this stuff, but I like it. Metal can still be creative and powerful, and I really enjoy the guitars they put in here. Hard rock times ten. Like worship, metal can be subjected to artists who just want to be as hard as they possibly can be and ignore creativity in their lyrics and sound. "They can't understand us; why bother?" But some bands consider their content more carefully, and these are the bands I like. Bands who find a good sound that's different and run with it. Even in the heaviness, there can be hope, there can be a message. Prominent bands include Fit For a King, For Today, I the Breather, The Devil Wears Prada, and Demon Hunter. Favorite song would be "Hollow King (Sound of the End)" by Fit For a King. It has no opener, but makes up for it with a fifteen-second breakdown that's gold (which is a metal! Hey!) and powerful lyrics that may be a little dark, but are sung wonderfully anyway.
BALLAD: These are my worship songs. Again, church worship isn't as much my thing, but these songs find what I want. I know there are different definitions of ballad, but this kind of ballad I'm talking about is generally a softer song you find on rock/hard rock/metal albums. Even the heavy guys can get sweet on you once in a while. These achieve a different feeling than worship songs: These feel much more personal, like they're being sung to a friend and a father, like I said before. Nothing wrong with worship, I know, but I enjoy these more because they approach God on a different level, a level I feel I can relate to more easily. The lyrics are creative, and the instruments are diverse as well. I'll be honest: Worship songs can sometimes make me feel guilty, like I haven't been doing enough. But these ballads remind me that I don't need to do anything but love others and accept love. God accepts me as I am; He watches over me even in my trials. I don't have "ballad bands" I listen to; actually, some of the hard rock bands do a pretty good job at them. My favorite songs come from Skillet, Pillar, Thousand Foot Krutch, and Sent By Ravens. My favorite song would be "Already Home" by TFK. Wonderful, wonderful lyrics, written very cleverly, and with a great message: In the midst of our struggles, we can fall before God because He's "everything we need." Cool, cool song.
If you've read this blog before and are reading it again, you'll see that I haven't lost my passion for music and, maybe, that it's grown some. To me, music does three things: (1 It offers a connection to God, (2 It allows me to see other's people artistic talents, and (3 It allows me to enjoy myself, especially on long trips. Just being able to plug in my earbuds and forget everything else is nice. It's all my own, personal form of worship, and I think that's something very important to me.