Billy Corgan and the New Traditionalism in Christian Music

Billy Corgan, famed rock star (and alternative music voice of my teen years) revealed his thoughts on the future of rock and roll. The future, according to Corgan, is God. For the full interview click here. His comments deserve reflection not only by contemporary worship pastors, but any believer affected by worship in the local church. Here are some cogent thoughts from Mike Cosper at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY

His comments are interesting, if not wholly original. Many have lamented the monolithic culture and sound of Christian music – especially praise music, with it’s formula of four chords, chimey delayed guitars, and anthemic choruses. In a consumer culture, people stick with what works, and ever since the rise of Delirious, Matt Redman, and Chris Tomlin around the turn of the century, that sound has been the template for contemporary worship music.

Cosper goes on to say:

Many musicians and artists are working well outside the template that Corgan mocked on CNN. But they work against a reality that demands that sound. It has become it’s own 21st century traditionalism.

Cosper while responding in part to Corgan, bypasses Corgan’s remarks altogether. Afterall, Corgan is neither a Christian nor a worship leader. Cosper does believe, however, that these comments should provide at least a small point of self-reflection. Cosper’s point: contemporary worship continues to contend with traditionalism, albeit, a newer contemporary version. Worship leaders are challenged to think about worship that “works” versus worship that is true. To this end, Cosper’s remarks on muscial simplicity are enlightening. Cosper also (contra Corgan) points to groups forging new sounds in Christian music as well as worship that breaks the U2-ish mold. This is an honest self-analysis as well as challenging rebuttal. Click here for the full article.


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