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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Songwriting

This morning we visited another church (we're not leaving our church; my wife's brother was singing at his church so we went to hear!) and I really enjoyed the selection of Christmas carols we sang. There were a number of songs that are traditional, but not on the "I've sung this so many times I'm on auto-pilot" list. There was one song I wasn't familiar with, though, and I was disappointed with the song itself. Almost every rhyme in the song was an awful Christian Christmas song cliche:


The music of the song was very stirring, and the themes in the lyrics were terrific, but the songwriting was less than eloquent. I mean, if your craft as an artist isn't any better developed than to plagiarize a rhyme from "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" (but in a much less eloquent way) then the right place for you is in your songwriting room, doing a rewrite. There's more to good songwriting that throwing in all the right buzzwords. I hope I'm not sounding grouchy or snarky, and there are probably lots of people who think that song is the best song ever, but the copyright date on the slide was mid-2000s so it's fairly recent, and my prediction is that it will not stand the test of time. It just didn't particularly say anything that hadn't been said better before.

Christian artists should bring their very best to God. If the song is nothing but a rather weak copy of other songs, then it's not good enough to bring before the King of Kings. Let's bring Jesus Christ only the very best.

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