Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Top 25 God Songs

What's on YOUR Ipod?  If you are evangelical, chances are what you listen to in the ear buds or from your local Christian radio station or what you hear at church include a healthy smattering of the CCLI top 25.

I know that my folks never encounter this in church on Sunday morning but I also know a healthy segment of the faithful Lutherans in the pews have this kind of music running through their eyes the rest of the time.  Perhaps it is no different where you live.

October 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012). Report Period 1011 - United States
RankSong TitleAuthor/sCCLI#
1How Great Is Our GodTomlin, Chris\Reeves, Jesse\Cash, Ed4348399
2Mighty To SaveFielding, Ben\Morgan, Reuben4591782
3Our GodRedman, Matt\Tomlin, Chris\Myrin, Jonas\Reeves, Jesse5677416
4Blessed Be Your NameRedman, Beth\Redman, Matt3798438
5Here I Am To WorshipHughes, Tim3266032
6Revelation SongRiddle, Jennie Lee4447960
7Everlasting GodBrown, Brenton\Riley, Ken4556538
8Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)Tomlin, Chris\Giglio, Louie\Newton, John4768151
9Jesus MessiahTomlin, Chris\Carson, Daniel\Reeves, Jesse\Cash, Ed5183443
10In Christ AloneTownend, Stuart\Getty, Keith3350395
11Your Grace Is EnoughMaher, Matt4477026
12ForeverTomlin, Chris3148428
13Open The Eyes Of My HeartBaloche, Paul2298355
14Forever ReignMorgan, Reuben\Ingram, Jason5639997
15How He LovesMcMillan, John Mark5032549
16You Are My King (Amazing Love)Foote, Billy2456623
17Holy Is The LordTomlin, Chris\Giglio, Louie4158039
18From The Inside OutHouston, Joel4705176
19Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)Baloche, Paul\Brown, Brenton4662491
20Shout To The LordZschech, Darlene1406918
21Come Now Is The Time To WorshipDoerksen, Brian2430948
22The StandHouston, Joel4705248
23HosannaFraser, Brooke4785835
24Lord I Lift Your Name On HighFounds, Rick117947
25Glory To God ForeverFee, Steve\Beeching, Vicky5384338

If you are like me, you probably only recognize a handful but that does not mean Lutherans, Roman Catholics and others are not using these either at home or in the car or at church.  In the Internet Monk discussion of the three new break out hits to make the list, a certain Miguel in the comments made this observation:

Reasons these songs are popular:
1. They’re simple. Their chords usually only change on downbeats, and you can teach it to your church band quickly.
2. They’re written by celebrities. I’ve heard far better songs written by the unheard of.
3. They’re recorded with top notch production. Trust me, if it was up to the way YOUR church sounded doing these songs on Sunday to make them sell, they’d be going nowhere fast.
4. They get exorbitant amounts of radio play on the three big Christian radio stations. People have been brainwashed into expecting to sing their radio pop favorites on Sunday morning.
5. The musicians are usually the other extreme from ugly. (My wife has a crush on Joel, not sure if it’s the accent or the hair, but she got irate when I suggested one of his songs for Sunday).
6. They are marketed like nobodies business. The machine behind these releases could rig nearly ANY song up to the CCLI top 25, and IMO, these songs prove this.
7. They are demographically targeted at youth. See “the Merchants of Cool” documentary: Cut and paste from the MTV playbook.
8. But most importantly, they don’t require deep thinking or doctrinal commitment/understanding to sing.

I think his eight points are pretty fair.  Church music is big business.  Whether you are Hillsong or Hilldale (that is the church next door).  It is no longer a hand maiden to the Word.  It is a cash cow for the producers, an earthly measure of success for the musicians, and a feel good medicine for the listeners... That cannot be denied.  I am glad that people are listening to this instead of the vulgar stuff that glorifies all sorts of evil (secular music) but I am not sure that this music is all the friendly to the cause of the Gospel.  Music has become a personal expression of taste and less a medium of confession and truth.  The sound of it is much more important that what it says.  It is beat driven instead of Word driven (remove the percussion and you cut the heart out of this music).

I do not think it is fair to write it all off and smugly open our hymnals as if this other stuff did not exist but neither do I believe that this Christian pop rock has a place in the liturgy.  We need new music, new hymns, new songs for Sunday morning -- this just ain't it!  And, sadly, the reality it that for too many (especially the younger end) this is the ONLY thing they hear.... 


Anonymous said...

Kids don't love these songs. Middle aged women like them and wannabe cool youth directors. My teen son rolls his eyes and sings these songs with the same attitude that he sings Justin Bieber. He sings the songs from the LSB with the proper spirit, however.

Anonymous said...

I agree that a lot of the praise worship songs don't have a lot of doctrinal depth to them but # 10 on the list "In Christ Alone" is an amazing song!:
"In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,firm through the fiercest drought and storm.What heights of love, what depths of peace,when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:Till on that cross as Jesus died,The wrath of God was satisfied -For every sin on Him was laid;Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:Then bursting forth in glorious Day Up from the grave he rose again! And as He stands in victory Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,For I am His and He is mine -Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand."