Reader's Poll: What's the Deal With Christian Music?

So you are disgusted, angry, and outright righteously pissed that your beloved 103.7 is gone with the wind, replaced by 24 hours of Christian music. Gone are your usual playlists full of Wilco, Soundgarden, Sheryl Crow and Death Cab For Cutie, not to mention your favorite DJs and personalities.

This week 103.7 FM changed over to Christian alternative format Air 1 Radio, playing cuts from Flyleaf, Thousand Foot Krutch, Switchfoot, and former DC Talk member TobyMac. The station is commercial-free and funded by pledge drives and carried on 105 stations nationwide and heard by more than two million listeners weekly.

What happens to displaced 103.7 FM fans now?

You may not have the luxury of a smartphone with online radio apps, or maybe your car doesn't have auxiliary inputs for said smartphone, and you hate/loathe every other terrestrial radio station in Houston.

The notion of the same classic rock on two stations, 107.5 The Eagle and 93.7 The Arrow, is confounding, and 94.5 The Buzz plays music you would rather forget from the '90s. You don't like rap or hip-hop, country bores you, pop is detestable, and you don't speak or enjoy Spanish language music.

Don't even start when it comes to talk radio; old, fat guys talking about sports or politics. No thanks.

Keeping track of your vitriol on our blogs has been fun and eye-opening. We've never talked much on Rocks Off about Christian music, save for maybe a few pieces on Stryper, gospel, a nostalgia piece on DC Talk or a Creed review. Ahem.

In my opinion, Christian music has always been for folks who want to stay sheltered and for parents trying to hide the dirty ol' world from their kids. How you could keep magical things like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones from your kids because of perceived evil hurts my soul, not to mention being way behind the times. But as they say (gratingly), "different strokes for different folks."

But now Christian music and your hatred for it is all the rage. In two hours you guys loaded our Facebook wall with more than 40 messages. Jesus Christ, indeed.

But what's so bad about it? Our own Cory Garcia admits that some of it sucks:

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It's like any other style of music: some of it's good, some of it's bad. I liked MxPx a lot growing up and it made a nice counterpoint to the other pop punk stuff I listened to at the time. Flyleaf is pretty good, misguided lyrics at times aside.

Brett Walker wasn't so nice and agreeable:

Christian music is an affront to all that is holy and good in this world. It is so terrible and void of artistic merit that it can't even be enjoyed ironically. The fact that not once has God seen fit to smite a Christian band like he seems to do with good rock musicians is proof of his lack of omniscience or benevolence.

Tim Smith, a frequent commenter, conceded that as sugary as the Christian pop on Air 1 Radio is, it's not as bad as some modern country:

I don't think it hold a candle to the heart-string-tuggin', puppy-dog-eyed power of a lot of new country, but that's a good thing. It means I can tolerate one or two songs before feeling an overpowering need to throw a chair through a window.

Even devout Christians like Jake Rawls don't care for Christian music, which makes us wonder if even God hates Christian music -- or maybe it's his little joke to us all:

I am a Christian and frankly 95 percent of Christian music is awful. And that is a conservative figure.

Some are still confused about what the term "Christian music" even means, and with reasonable understanding. An anonymous commenter makes a very valid point:

Is there a difference between "secular" music and "sacred" music? Are there actually musical notes that are not holy, or are we just talking about lyrics? Art is art. Music is music. Is there Muslim music and Buddhist music? If Christians are supposed to emulate Jesus, and Jesus never glorified himself, then why is there a "Christian" radio station?

Our own Christina Hildebrand is a Christian, and confused about all the flack the music gets. The bare bones openness about spiritual battles get turned into sweet pap along the way. She cites Amy Grant's early work as some of her favorite:

I think its supposed to be real, as in honest, to what the artist is saying but instead it comes across as cheesy sometimes.

Of course, since all this happened, I have been trying to intimate to these angry listeners that maybe terrestrial radio isn't where you should be. That's something that commenter Joshua Justice also sounded off about.

Why are you people listening to FM radio? CDs, iPods, MP3 players, HD radio, Sirius-XM, audiobooks, are all out there. Mainstream radio is now all Christian, Tejano and talk radio because those are the only three types of listeners left incapable of moving beyond the long outdated format.

If you listen to FM radio, you get exactly what you deserve.

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