The day is warm. Sunlight sifts over us as we travel between classes, almost-goodbyes with friends, treks downtown for coffee, quests for sunlight, library days, and midnight diner visits for cinnamon milkshakes. We hold all of these things close as the semester draws to a close. Soon we can drive with our windows down amidst the sun and wind of the highway. Soon we’ll stuff our highlighted textbooks and dirty laundry into a car, and drive to wherever we call home. Music tends to be a big part of that trek, scanning the radio dial, loading songs onto your phone, burning a CD or two. The music on these trips has evolved for me throughout the last couple of years. Let me explain…
I listened to a lot more Christian music a few years ago. In fact, most of the music I listened to was Christian music. My musical tastes shifted towards the end of high school and as college began, as I discovered new artists and new ways of blending the notation of music and lyrics. I stopped listening to Christian music almost entirely. It wasn’t that it was bad, but my tastes had changed. Some of the stuff on the radio seemed too perky for me. Christian radio is great. I’m not knocking it. It’s a privilege to live in a country where Christians are allowed to have their own radio stations. Don’t take that for granted, but I have also found music made by Christians which doesn’t get a lot of air time, and which fits the evolution of my musical taste. These artists range from independent artists to artists with record labels, but they all have Christ in common:
You may have heard of him, actually. What I really appreciate about this guy is that he does his own thing. People play his songs all over the place. He’s been played on Christian stations and non-Christian stations, but not a whole lot, just enough to take notice. His music blends pop, rap, and sounds like a group of old friends getting together to discuss old times and the currency of life happening tomorrow. There are times when his music makes you want to laugh in celebration, but sometimes the words slow and you want to ache for the dysfunctionality of life. His story of coming to Christ is pretty interesting too.
She actually did get air-time several years ago, but since then she’s switched to the freedom of independent projects. Her recent album, “Inheritance” echoes with the mystery of ancient hymns and current devotion. My roommate and I have had her on replay all semester.
My heart. Andrew Belle’s style has the sense of a gorgeous and lengthy slow dance after some event, a wedding, a funeral perhaps. You’re never really sure. He grapples with his faith and the weight of relationships in his lyrics. You have to untangle the confession and conviction, but it’s there.
Playlists on Spotify:
People spend time compiling playlists of random Christian music. Look them up. My two favorites are, “The Hipster Hymnal” and “Not Your Mother’s Christian Music”.
He had one or two hit songs in the 90’s, but since then he’s exited the radio scene. If you like hipster folk music, you’d probably like Andrew Peterson. Each of his songs is a crafted story.
Youth group kids of the 2000’s, remember Switchfoot? Jon Foreman, their lead singer, does a bunch of solo projects now. If you want to listen to something with depth check out his collection of albums called, “The Wonderlands”. His lyrics carry the ideas of our own brokenness, the more tragic parts of life, and the wild moments of redemption.
Something I’ve been learning is that if you like a type of music now…it was probably done before. Check out some of the Christian music from the 90’s or early 2000’s. Bebo Norman, Rich Mullins, and Bethany Dillon are a few names.