Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Andy Whitman : Twenty Great Christian Rock Albums

Andy Whitman lists 20 Great Christian Rock Albums in reaction to 10 great Christian rock songs. Really.
The particular confluence of the words "great," "Christian," and "rock songs" is a problematic one. "Christian" music, almost by definition, tends to be driven by an agenda. That's not only true of Christian music, of course. It's true of Michael Moore films, and Steve Earle albums, and George W. Bush photo ops on aircraft carriers...

It just happens to make for lousy art. Good art is full of tension, complexity, and ambiguity. It recognizes that the world is not black and white, that it is in fact very messy, and that even when one is addressing issues of objective truth, the message is muddled and compromised by the messengers.

Nevertheless, I have encountered not only songs, but entire albums made by Christians that I would consider great, at least partly because the messengers display something that is almost always in short supply: humility. Well, except for Bono...

Here's Andy's list with my comments.
1. Adam Again – Dig: Love Adam Again, and Dig is a good album, but Homeboys or 10 Songs by Adam Again would come ahead of Dig on my list.
2. Aradhna – Amrit Vani: no idea, someone else to check out.
3. T-Bone Burnett – Proof Through the Night: Love T-Bone but haven't heard this album, his Talking Animals is a classic.
4. Peter Case – The Man with the Blue, Postmodern, Fragmented, Neo-Traditionalist Guitar: Would have picked the self titled Peter Case to this album, tMwtBPFN-TG just doesn't have a song with as much joy as Old Blue Car.
5. Bruce Cockburn – Humans: not in my collection of BC albums, but hey.
6. Delirious – Mezzamorphosis: the most traditional Christian Album on the list, so I've never heard it. I guess I'll have to check it out.
7. Bob Dylan – Slow Train Coming: Amen!
8. Aretha Franklin – Amazing Grace: haven't heard it in years should give it another listen, but I doubt it would make my top 20
9. Mark Heard – Dry Bones Dance, real toss up with me between this on his Ideola: Tibal Opera project.
10. The Louvin Brothers – Satan is Real: no idea.
11. Julie Miller – Broken Things: what little Julie Miller I've heard I've quite enjoyed
12. Ed Raetzloff – It Took a Long Time to Get to You: new to me.
13. Resurrection Band – Awaiting Your Reply: A bit before my time, I'd pick innocent blood and Rez's greatest album.
14. Son Lux – At War With Walls and Mazes: OK so Andy has hear way more obscure Christian music than I have.
15. Mavis Staples Have a Little Faith
16. Sufjan Stevens – Come On, Feel the Illinoise: Again Amen!
17. Tonio K. – Life in the Foodchain: Good but the previous Album Romeo Unchained was better.
18. U2 – War: My personal U2 fave is Rattle and Hum
19. Vigilantes of Love – Killing Floor: I don't have that VoL album but yeah they're good.
20. Victoria Williams – Loose, someone I've been meaning to check out for years.

- Peace


Spawn of Elvis said...

If Victoria Williams gets to be categorized as 'rock', then I think Pedro the Lion needs to be on that list, too.

Dave King said...

You should go over to his blog and tell him that :) Or better yet post your own list.

- Peace

Anonymous said...

Thank you very, very much Andy...thank you for the kind remarks...It means much to me coming from such an astute writer as yourself. You've, as they say, "done your homework," as to what is valuable, salutary. Mark Heard and I worked hard at it.

Killing Floor was really the beginning of how i started to feel about how music could live and breathe a part from it's writer;
It was a world where broken-ness seemed the needed precursor to anything resembvling true faith and hope...
Of course that view has followed me/VOL through another 20 plus albums since that 1992 Killing Floor release.

It's been an adventure, to say the least...some of it sad...some of it broken..i'm glad grace has the last word.
-pax Christi,
bill mallonee (VOL)