Why I Hate Praise Music
I really dislike praise music. The more I hear it, the more it bothers me. It's so hard to worship today than I did in my early years as a Christian. Two events this past week, truly brought this to light. I'll share both. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not judging praise music and I'm over 40 so I've been around. I just hate praise music.
I HATE PRAISE MUSIC
My wife and I were at church last Sunday (Palm Sunday) and we walk in during the opening praise. We have a praise band, which I have no problem with. I'm not a big choir person, believe it or not. We walk in and worship is going on. We have drums, keyboard, piano, two guitars, bass, backup singers and a lead singer.
What was different about this morning was the lead singer was acting as a lead singer. He was upfront, doing a few moves, singing like he was on American Idols, you know, giving his own take on the song and had the back up singers going. This wasn't worship, it was a concert. I'm not against concerts, just don't make me sing along with it and pretend its worship. My church has an abundance of great singers and I love to hear them sing, but during worship, I want to be a part of the experience. I don't want to be forced to be a spectator because I can't sing like the guy up front.
Worship leaders, let me give you a hint. Please lead worship. Lead in a way that makes me want to sing and not watch the show.
PRAISE MUSIC IS FOR LAZY COMPOSERS
This bothers me every time I sing. Music needs to rhyme. It's a governing truth of Engligh song and poetry, songs have to rhyme. Let me tell you why. From the beginning of time, music and poetry had patterns that helped people remember the verses. "The Psalms don't rhyme!" Yes, that what I hear. Even in the original Hebrew they didn't rhyme, but they had patterns called parallelisms. The first line makes a statement and the second line supports that statement or run parallel with that statement. There is a pattern.
Think about your favorite song, you'll see that it rhymes. Rhyming does two things for us, it helps us remember the song. We are not stringing random lines together, but the second line you remember because the last word rhymes with the last word of the first line, or in most cases the second and fourth line rhymes. Also, rhyming brings closure to a verse. It an element that brings completion to the verse. When it doesn't, the verse is just left hanging there uncompleted.
Maybe it's just me but praise songs today feel like a bunch of Christian cliches strung together by a melody. Composers, please show us that you've truly mediated on a song you wrote by taking the extra step and rhyme.
Whatever Happened to Hymns?
I was watching the movie Junebug. In the middle of the movie the family was at a church gathering and the pastor of the church coases a spiritually conflicted George to sing "Softly and Tenderly."
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He's waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!
Granted this is a secular movie, but at the same time, I wondered, what happened to hymns. Let's not forget, hymns are songs. They rhyme, they have melody, they make indirect statements of my heart. Why have we given up on them? Evangelism. Carefully written words like Amazing Grace, no longer appeals to the non-believers.
Also, why do we need to need to change the melodys of hymns too. Does Amazing Grace need a jazz arrangement to be relevant? When I Survey the Wonderous Cross really need to be a rock ballad? Can we take a step back and visit the past for a day. We're missing so many gems that I still believe are relevant today.