As promised, here’s my stab at a playlist of legitimately great Christian rock songs, in response to the one Daniel Radosh posted on the NY Times blog. The criteria I used were:
1. The song had to be something that could honestly be called Christian Rock. Clearly, tons of “secular” music references Jesus, and huge amounts of it deal with Christian themes, sometimes very explicitly. But we wouldn’t call those songs Christian Rock (that’s a playlist for another day). At the same time, by Christian Rock I don’t necessarily mean CCM (Christian Contemporary Music), which is what you hear on the radio mostly. Instead, these songs all come from outspokenly Christian artists, who, even if they wouldn’t be comfortable with the term “Christian Rock”, wouldn’t be surprised by it either. I know I’m stretching things with Pedro and Sufjan (and Elvis!) but I couldn’t resist.
2. I took seriously the word “rock”. I love gospel, but there’s none here. Same goes for country and worship music.
3. They had to be songs I hadn’t already included on a Mockingbird playlist. Or songs on Radosh’s mix.
4. Finally, each song had to be something I’d listen to/recommend regardless of lyrical content (that is, unless the lyrics were bad).
1. I’m Coming Home – Tommy James
2. I’ve Got Confidence – Elvis Presley
3. (He’s Got) The Whole World In His Hands – Dion
4. To Guard And To Guide You – Lift To Experience
5. Of Minor Prophets And Their Prostitute Wives – Pedro The Lion
6. A New Law – Derek Webb
7. Dead Man (Carry Me) – Jars Of Clay
8. All I Need Is Everything – Over The Rhine
9. Less Than Love – The Normals
10. Jesus Loves You, Brian Wilson – The Lost Dogs
11. Life On Other Planets – Vigilantes Of Love
12. Jesus Gonna Build Me A Home – John Davis
13. I Believe In You – Bob Dylan
14. Jesus Never Leaves Me – Duvall
15. The Transfiguration – Sufjan Stevens
16. Ten Thousand Angels – Caedmon’s Call
To listen/borrow, click here.
Looking at the list, I realize a lot of it comes from artists who’ve had dramatic mid-career conversions (Tommy James, Dion, John Davis, Dylan, Duvall). Interesting. I also realize there’s a Waterdeep-sized hole, which hopefully Sean can help us out with.
So… What did I miss? What should I have missed?