Sunday, 27 May 2007

Oh No Bono Hymn not very good

Anglicans finally wring last ounce of poetry and beauty out of art:

Spreading from Ireland church services are using the songs of U2 as the basis of communion celebrations. Not content with polluting the air with dire christian rock, the happy clappys want to appropriate good tunes and mangle them too.
Sure religion has produced great art Bach, Tallis, van der weden, and much great architecture. But rarely does it sit well with rock and pop, because Coldplay aside they are generally not earnest, joyless and worthy forms (unlike young Christians).

Most Christian rock seems to be couched in bland evangelical language, it's all "fill me with your light" or "he is with us, let us praise him". Hardly "I was born in a crossfire hurricane" or " I met him on Monday and my heart stood still". What these arm waving literalist don't understand is that songs like" I still haven't found what I'm looking for"work on several levels and don't need some leaden foot bunch of junior accountants and Sunday school teachers to kick it to death just to win over some deluded alpha course members.

One of the joys of great religious art is the mix of the sublime and the profane, It's the hard iron nail in the all too human wrist mixed with the beauty of the human eye. It's the purity of a choristers top note coming from the body of a farting and xbox obsessed 12 year old.It's not about pub rock lumpenly played on tinny synths and fretless basses. Good religious art has a beauty and majesty that can lift even the heart of the unbeliever. It's not there to fill churches as the "U2charist" smacks of.

There was a piece in the paper about liberal types like me being racist about who is and isn't allowed to be a Christian in music. For example it's alright for black singers to sing about god because they are simple children, where as white people are meant to be rationalist and move on from these primitive beliefs. That's not may case at all, I'm happy for people to sing about their beliefs , but they should be any good at it. Bad art is bad art, singing about god doesn't redeem it. The only fear I have about so called "born again" Christian types is their obsession with proselyting, they are not content to live a life of Christian virtue and let that be an example to the others, no they have to with oleaginous piety tell people about it. Am I being unfair well half way through writing this piece a Jehovah's Witness rang my bell to "tell me about a passage they wanted to share with me" (if I was being coarse this could be quiet an offer!)
So you can sing about whatever you like just do it with some passion , joy, humour, style, wit and most of all talent. That way you won't offend man's ears and you may just win of God too.

ps. the acoustics in most Anglican Churches make rock bands sound rotten.


Coventry Blogger said...

And on an interview on Radio 4 the spokesperson said that Methodist hymns were boring (or something vaguely similar). Well, probably some are, but a seaside chapel with 'Those in peril on the sea' sung by the fisherman's choir will give the lie to that as a sweeping statement. Perhaps it's more like folk art than fine art, but it's still something crafted with passion.

BLTP said...

I just hated the simplistic nature of the whole exercise, and yes some hymns contain poetry and passion. The tunes work for singing collectively. The bloody Christians have been trying to appropriate rock and pop from the day one, they should stick with their own tunes or right some decent ones if they still can.