Bono Asks For More Authenticity in Christian Music
A 22-minute mini film featuring a conversation between Bono and Eugene Peterson on the topic of The Psalms was just released (and available to view below). Part of the conversation focused on the state of Christian music, and Bono criticized modern worship music for it's lack of authenticty (transcription below).
It is important to note that Under The Radar exists for this very purpose -- our entire mission is to promote well-crafted faith-based music with the intent that it fosters spiritual growth in people's lives. We are dedicated to discovering and applauding the honest and creative songwriters that are connecting with people on a human level. And if you're just discovering us, we hope you find this an oasis of meaningful music from the hands of Christian artists. We don't take offense to what Bono is saying, just because we've been featuring "gourmet music" for 7+ years. And we don't think Bono is unaware of folks that UTR plays who are writing brilliant worship, pop, folk, rock (etc) songs from a Christian worldview. We see his statements as more of an indictment of "the system" that is only willing to promote and feature cookie-cutter music. If the "industry" rewarded and elevated more honest, raw, thoughtful music, then we would get more of that from the songwriters. However, the system rewards cliche phrases and "happy" melodies, almost exclusively -- so that is what many songwriters chase after. Feel free to share your comments below.
BONO: ON CHRISTIAN MUSIC - EXCERPT FROM "THE PSALMS (FILM)"
I remember the psalms from the Church of Ireland as a child. I remember thinking "great words, shame about the tunes." Except for 'The Lord Is My Shepherd' which was a great tune and I really liked that - this is good, words and melodies. [The Psalms] have this rawness and brutal honesty - whether it's David or not, it doesn't matter. The pslamist is brutally honest about the explosive joy that he's feeling and the deep sorrow or confusion. It's that that sets the Psalms apart for me. I often think, "Gosh, why isn't church music more like that?"
I'm talking about dishonesty that I find a lot of in Christian art... a lot of dishonesty. I think it's a shame, because these are people who are vulnerable to God, in a good way - porous, open. I would love if this conversation would inspire people who are writing these beautiful voices and writing these beautiful gospel songs... write a song about their bad marriage. Write a song about how their pissed off at the government. Because that's what God wants from you - the truth. "The Way, the Truth..." And that truthfulness - "know the truth, the truth will set you free..." - it will blow things apart. Why I'm suspicious of Christians is because of this lack of realism, and I'd love to see more of that in art and in life and in music.