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Source: (consider it) Thread: Fuck off, popular Christian music
Aijalon
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I would say, per the 80/20 rule, 80% of Christian music is like you say, it's "I love me" and "I'm the light". Lyrically, 20% is good, but of that, only about half is good listening.

Songs that remind us to repent seem to hit the mark for me.

Here is an example.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5J7vis9GV8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLMBPheAz6U

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God gave you free will so you could give it back.

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Absolutely; my point really was that this manipulation happens in many musical contexts and not just in worship - especially, if you think about it, in events that are well-devised or curated.

To take a well-known if trivial example, the conductor Thomas Beecham would end a concert with what he called a 'tranquiliser' (but which other people called a 'lollipop') as an encore, to calm the audience after a stirring climax to the programme and send them home happy.

Since it happens to be pertinent to the context of emotional engagement, another issue comes to mind. Sung worship is by its very nature a participatory process; we call it an offering. Sung worship, in common with all other acts of worship or service, is an offering to God. These offerings have been described, accurately, as primarily for an audience of One.

That makes all such offerings different in principle from any form of concert.

And I think this is one of the difficulties of these discussions. As Lamb Chopped observed, right at the start, without music which resonates with where we are at, emotionally, aesthetically, or even on the level of simple preference, we may find it very difficult to engage. And become observers, disinterested, disappointed, or even wishing we were not there at all. We are not being scratched where we itch.

People generally pay to go to concerts and are self-seeking. In terms of musical genres, they know what to expect from the performance. They are, after all, primarily consumers. Even if some element of participation, singing along with the well known, is expected, part of the looking forward. Folks used to attend Robbie Williams concerts and sing Angels, go to the last night of the Proms and sing Land of Hope and Glory.

Such participations are very enjoyable human sharings, but they are not the same as offerings to an audience of One.

I think this is a source of much confusion in these discussions. We criticise forms of worship as observers of gatherings in which we do not wish to participate, finding the means aesthetically jarring, or being concerned about emotional manipulation, or seeing such offerings as trivial or even infantile. Whereas participation in an offering is the primary purpose.

Actually, I think we all benefit from some self-examination over that issue. We think something needs to be 'put right'. Maybe one of the things which needs to be put right is our critical attitude?

[ 25. May 2017, 04:46: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Such participations are very enjoyable human sharings, but they are not the same as offerings to an audience of One.

I think this is a source of much confusion in these discussions.

Theologically, I agree with you. But I'm not sure that I do in pure emotional terms, especially when we're talking about CCM (of which I know little) or, for that matter, Bach's B Minor Mass. Yes, Christian listeners are primarily listening for enjoyment, but there may well be an implicit worship element, especially when one is listening to a live performance. Conversely, in the worship setting - again, whether one is in an upbeat charismatic service or listening to a Choral Liturgy in a cathedral - there is an element of personal enjoyment and uplift.

And there's nothing wrong with that: we are holistic creatures, one cannot separate the spiritual from the emotional, intellectual or aesthetic parts of our make-up.

[ 25. May 2017, 06:12: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Barnabas62
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I think that's a good point. Listening to music can certainly open our eyes, minds and hearts, help us be aware of the Divine presence in creation and in the best acts of human creativity. And indeed we may have that intention when we listen to a well loved piece of music. There isn't a firm division between the one and the other. We can both seek and be surprised by joy, or awareness of the numinous.

My main point is about tolerance again. I've told the story before here of being at a promenade concert, listening to and being totally engaged by a sublime performance of the choral movement of Beethoven's 9th symphony, then being distracted by a 'tut tut' from another member of the audience. He had the musical score with him and was clearly offended by some false note or departure from the score.

I suppose it was his method of engagement but it seemed more like critical observation, rather than participation in the sublime. Well, we're all different and need to make allowances for those differences. Probably uncharitable of me, but I confess to being both thrown and annoyed by his behaviour. I guess he may have been annoyed by the uncritical engagement of the great majority of the rest of us. Takes all sorts.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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mark_in_manchester

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quote:
To take a well-known if trivial example, the conductor Thomas Beecham would end a concert with what he called a 'tranquiliser' (but which other people called a 'lollipop') as an encore, to calm the audience after a stirring climax to the programme and send them home happy.
I don't know why, but I find that quote rather moving. It's like taking good care of the audience - who knows what real struggles await them at home or at work the next day, and after wangling them around all over the place emotionally in a challenging concert, why not try to make sure they at least go to sleep happy?

I'm a sucker for benign paternalism.

Something about all this also reminds me of folks on a night out - are you with a crowd, like at wedding speeches, who want and know how to enjoy themselves and are egging the performer on - or are you with a bunch of hecklers for whom 'this is all shit'?

I'm often moving toward the latter group - I'll try to think on this the next time I'm struggling in church.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Gamaliel
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Sure, and I've seen English lecturers laugh uproariously and annoyingly at obscure Shakespearean jokes (which aren't actually that funny) in order to demonstrate to the audience their deeper understanding of the text ...

[Help]

These things happen ...

And yes, I agree with Baptist Trainfan.

On the high-brow/low-brow thing, I run a Poems & Pints event that attracts some mild 'stick' from some of my more academic poetry pals because it's knock-about and doesn't tend to contain 'high art' ... but I see it as a valuable adjunct to the other poetry things I do - like furrowed brow intense writing worshops ...

Room for both.

So yes, same with CCM as well as your Bach and Allegri I suppose ...

I'm not knocking the idea of popular music per se.

But I do think there is an imbalance in CCM that needs addressing.

That's only because it is a 'committed' form of music though. If it didn't have a Christian or ideological tag to it we wouldn't even be discussing it.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Baptist Trainfan
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True, but of course both “Gospel” and much classical church music has morphed from being “worship music” into “enjoyment music”. Take Bach’s cantatas, for instance.

Of course, some religious classical music was never intended for use in worship – Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis” for example; I’m sure that’s true in the popular field too.

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Gamaliel
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Yes, again, I completely agree. I don't think there's anything 'wrong' necessarily in 'sacred music' being taken out of of its original context and listened to for enjoyment.

I listen to all sorts of 'sacred music' as well as 'secular music' - and I'm more than happy to listen to Gospel music for enjoyment, for instance. I don't have a lot of it on CD but I have some, just I have plenty of Bach, Renaissance music, Baroque music, classical music, jazz, rock, punk, reggae ...

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Gamaliel
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What I'm not particularly interested in listening to is CCM and I never have been, even in my GLE days.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
What I'm not particularly interested in listening to is CCM and I never have been, even in my GLE days.

I mainly listened to CCM when I was a younger, less bolshy and more impressionable and was thus convinced that 'secular' music was somehow suspect.

These days - outside Gospel - there's very little 'Christian' music I listen to - for the reason Enoch alludes to above. In most genres there are going to be far more musicians outside the church involved in it than inside - and so on a purely statistical basis that's where the better music is going to be.

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greenhouse
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
What I'm not particularly interested in listening to is CCM and I never have been, even in my GLE days.

And yet you have made 48 posts on this thread, frequently criticising CCM and telling everyone what is wrong with it, whilst knowing almost nothing about the subject.

It's like someone writing off the whole of modern music because they hear a couple of minutes of Heart on the radio now and again.

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Gamaliel
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I know more about it than you think greenhouse.

However, you are right that I have posted excessively on the issue.

Enjoy your mind-pap chewing gum.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Gamaliel
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To be fair, yes, I have gone on and on too much and been too broad brush but if you'f read my posts properly greenhouse, you'll have seen that I have conceded / accepted that there is good CCM around.

I don't doubt that there are plenty of Christian artists who write and perform with integrity. I'm an old git now and yes, out of the loop. Back in the day I was aware of CCM artists I'd have rated more highly than others and regarded with respect ... But my argument was why bother to listen to CCM that tried to sound like The Clash of the Alarm or whoever, when you could listen to the secular originals?

CCM is largely derivative. They have been exceptions but by and large it lacks originality and simply tries to 'Christianise' secular forms. There's nothing wrong with that in and of itself - and the Church has done that throughout history at all levels.

But there we go ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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SvitlanaV2
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I don't understand the argument about originality. Apart from (wannabe) experts, who really goes on the hunt for originality? Don't most people just want to listen to music they like?

This seems to be a thread about how disappointing Christians are. It reminds me of that thread on how religion stunts your personal growth!

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Gamaliel
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No, rather I think it's akin to your pertinent observation on the MoTR thread about Methodist churches trying to be like Anglican churches and failing in the attempt - because why create an ersatz Anglicanism when the genuine article is available?

My point was simply this, why should I listen to some derivative CCM artist trying to sound like Joe Strummer, say or Bono or whoever else when I can listen to the genuine article were I so inclined?

Those CCM artists who do stand out have generally been those few who have actually tried to sound like themselves and no emulate anyone else.

There is also a difference between a band that happens to contain Christians and a band that sets out to be a 'Christian band.'

Way back in the day, a lot of my Christian friends were into After The Fire. I thought they were ok but I wouldn't have gone out and bought any of their albums. I saw them live once, at a small gig alongside some secular acts and they were fine - but nothing to get terribly excited about.

I tend to agree with Enoch and Chris Stiles, that CCM is drawing on a narrower talent pool and hence is almost invariably going to be on the back foot.

That can't be helped.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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SvitlanaV2
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Well, I'd suppose that some people actually listen to secular rock music and Christian rock music. Because they like... rock music?

Just like some people listen to both Christian classical music and non-religious classical music.

(And not everyone is as choosy as you when it comes to quality, I suspect. I probably wouldn't meet your standards!)

Or are you saying that some Christians listen to Christian music because it's Christian and eschew secular music because it's secular? If so, the issue is primarily theological, and the precise musical quality of the Christian version is not paramount, I would assume.

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Gamaliel
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I think I may have already intimated that I have been more strident and hyperbolic on the issue because this is a magazine of 'Christian unrest' than I would be in 'real life' ...

I don't go round to people's houses and check out their CD collection in order to form a value-judgement about them in terms of matters of taste.

I don't have exacting standards particularly, but I recognise dreck when I hear it and a lot of CCM - and indeed secular pop - does fall into that category.

Of course, not all of it does and even though I repeatedly acknowledge that people keep challenging me as if I'm not.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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SvitlanaV2
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I do notice your stridency. Strident language is normally used to stimulate a response, and I'm a boring, ordinary human being who responds. If you didn't want your words to have any effect you wouldn't bother using those words, would you?

But keep on keeping on anyway. I'll understand you eventually!

[Biased]

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greenhouse
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I don't have exacting standards particularly, but I recognise dreck when I hear it and a lot of CCM - and indeed secular pop - does fall into that category.

Do you listen to a lot of CCM to make that judgement?

Is it possible that 'dreck' actually means 'music that isn't to my own taste'?

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Or are you saying that some Christians listen to Christian music because it's Christian and eschew secular music because it's secular?

Thry certainly did back in the 70s. Whether that's still the case (in the UK t any rate) I don't know.
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Barnabas62
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It's hard to avoid the view that some views about music are driven by a kind of elitism. I've just been watching on YouTube a recorded live singing of the modern song 'Oceans'. Viewed purely from the point of view of performance standards, the solo singing seemed to be of very good quality, the musical performance equally so, and the visual accompaniment imaginative and appropriate. Sure, it belongs in the contemporary music genre, but I don't think that rules out an assessment of quality. It was a long way ahead of, for example, 1970s Fisherfolk recordings, 1980 and 1990 Kendrick 'Make Way' recordings. It seems perfectly reasonable to say that very high and highly professional musical standards were being applied. And, without knocking previous CCM standards, I think more recent standards are significantly higher. Folks are aiming for excellence, rather than just 'good enough'. Whatever one might think of the quality of the material (and to my mind Oceans is anything but pap) I think there should be some recognition that in the best of CCM, the performance standards are now several notches higher than 30-40 years ago.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Baptist Trainfan
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I'm sure that's true in many areas of music. No classical pianist today would be able to get away with the mistakes made by Paderewski, for example.

There is perhaps a question to be asked about technical recording standards: is modern multitrack and highly nuanced sound necessarily better than the old "simpler" recordings, partcularly in acoustic and classical numbers (obviously some music is only possible using modern techniques).

[ 27. May 2017, 15:40: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by greenhouse:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I don't have exacting standards particularly, but I recognise dreck when I hear it and a lot of CCM - and indeed secular pop - does fall into that category.

Do you listen to a lot of CCM to make that judgement?

Is it possible that 'dreck' actually means 'music that isn't to my own taste'?

FFS greenhouse, of course it is ...

But as you've said yourself, anyone listening to Heart Radio for a few minutes every now and again would get the impression that all contemporary pop music is dreck.

Of course it isn't. I know bugger all about contemporary pop music but I'm sure it's not all dreck, just as not all of it was dreck in the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s or the 2000s ...

I keep telling you and you don't seem to be listening - not all CCM is dreck.

A lot of it is.

I have no idea what you listen to nor why you are getting so defensive about the whole thing.

You might very well be listening to CCM that isn't dreck, in which case, whoopy do - fine ... enjoy it.

All I'm saying is that a lot of CCM strikes me as derivative and sub-standard. That's all. That's hardly the same as doing a dump on someone's front doorstep or telling them their baby is ugly.

Get over it already.

I'm quite prepared to accept Barnabas62's point that recording/presentation standards are a lot higher these days and I don't doubt that there are CCM artists out there doing some good stuff.

Satisfied now?

That doesn't let the dreck stuff off the hook ...

[Two face]

And yes, there can be a lot of elitism and snobbery involved with these kind of judgements - as indeed there can be a hipper-than-thou or even invertedly snobbish attitudes involved too.

My main gripe is with certain subcultures within contemporary Christianity which eschew listening to 'normal' mainstream rock, pop and whatever other genre you might think of - in favour of ersatz Christian versions of the same thing ...

That doesn't happen as much now as it used to, as far as I can see ... so I might be railing against things that have come and gone.

As I've said, I'm an old git.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Barnabas62
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I think that ship sailed years ago, Gamaliel. A kind of cultural Amishism. You can still find some folks who think like that about the 'depraving' influences in modern secular culture, but trying to stop the curiosity and fashion consciousness of the young by 'be ye separate' is a mug's game.

Far better to help them develop their critical faculties, including awareness of some of the dangers of peer pressure.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Gamaliel
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Sure, and yes, to be fair, that kind of mentality was certainly on the wane back in my own spotty and feckless yoof ...

That said, there was certainly a prevailing subculture across many evangelical and charismatic churches whereby people tended to listen almost exclusively to worship music or CCM and only to read Christian books ...

I once kept a log of what I read over a 10 year period and it was noticeable how more varied my reading became as I morphed from GLE-dom to a broader perspective ...

I'm not saying that to flag up any apparent virtue on my part - far from it - simply noting what happens when people 'loosen up a bit' ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Barnabas62
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I get that. For whatever reason, Gamaliel, I seem to have been inoculated against such specious BS. My old fashioned nonconformism seems to act as a shield against most forms of peer pressure.

I'm a bit of an old git too.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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lilBuddha
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No, no, Barnabus62. You are not a git.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Pomona
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Gamaliel - I listen to Heart FM. I listen to modern pop music and enjoy it. Most of the other people who do are also primarily young people, women, and gay men. Pop music is routinely considered 'dreck', not serious, not 'proper music' essentially because it is considered feminine. Classical/rock/jazz etc is Serious Music because it's considered male territory. It's no accident that a pop concert was targeted in Manchester - it was an attack on young girls and what they consider worthwhile. I'm going to see Steps at the O2 in November and listen to Hillsong in the car, and I'm not going to apologise for my feminine taste in music because some old blokes think it's silly.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Gamaliel
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I get that, Pomona but, for whatever reason, the Gamaliettes listened to pop when they were younger but then moved onto punk and indie in the case of my eldest (21) and heavy metal in the case of my youngest (19).

I may have been an influence on my eldest, I don't know ... But she used to raise my CD collection regularly.

My youngest can appreciate what I listen to - everything from Bach to Bowie, Brahms to the B52s - but she's into 'metal', a genre I particularly abhor.

They aren't gay, so perhaps that comes into if, but are you suggesting they are 'blokey' because they listen to rock and such?

Meanwhile, sorry, you'd have to strap me to a chair to listen to Heart.

It would be torture.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
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chris stiles
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# 12641

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quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:
I'm going to see Steps at the O2 in November and listen to Hillsong in the car, and I'm not going to apologise for my feminine taste in music because some old blokes think it's silly.

I'm somewhat bemused by this fairly gendered classification of music genres.
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Pomona
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I'm not suggesting people who favour rock are all men or more blokey, but that it's a genre aimed at and largely bought by men. Ditto pop for women. As a genre it is coded as feminine just like nursing or cross stitch is coded as feminine - it doesn't mean non-women who participate are more feminine, but that society has gendered pop music/nursing/cross stitch etc as feminine.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Jemima the 9th
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There is something in the argument that people see pop as being for girls - witness the recent question to Harry Styles about whether it bothers him that his music is largely bought by young girls, and his rather excellent reply:
"Who's to say that young girls who like popular music - short for popular right? - have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy?" he asked.
"That's not up to you to say. Music is something that's always changing. There's no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they're not serious? How can you say young girls don't get it?
They're our future - our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans - they don't lie. If they like you, they're there. They don't act 'too cool'. They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick."
(From the Independent)

However, I haven't heard that the Manchester bomber was out to get young girls as opposed to any group out enjoying themselves (and perhaps where he might be less likely to be stopped?)

As someone who was more of a rock person than a pop person when younger, I think it's more to do with musical snobbery, and we have that among women just as much as among men. The writing about rock may have been done more by men than women - it's no coincidence that I can still name the 3 female writers I used to read in the nme & melody maker 20 years on, because there were only 3 of them! But I never felt that it was aimed at men. It was usually 50/50 up the front, bopping up and down, and I was never once sexually harassed. Child A now goes to rock gigs, and hasn't mentioned being in a minority as a female.

Likewise, I don't perceive Christian music as being gendered - there are soppy Jesus is my Boyfriend type songs, but it hadn't occurred to me that they were somehow girly. Just not my cup of tea. My grump with them largely is about the certainty vs the hymns & songs I like which are more of a prayer asking for God's help "My God is mighty to save" vs "Guide me oh thou great redeemer" - though I appreciate there was a lot of certainty in the older songs too. There doesn't seem to be as much room for doubt in the more modern songs.

(That plus a whole host of practical problems about how hard they are to play for a congregation, which has been done to death in DH and isn't really the point here).

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Jemima the 9th
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Apologies, missed the edit window: I meant "any other group of people out enjoying themselves"

And, yes, one should never apologise for one's music taste because someone else doesn't like it. Whatever it is. [Big Grin]

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Stetson
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Jemima wrote:

quote:
However, I haven't heard that the Manchester bomber was out to get young girls as opposed to any group out enjoying themselves (and perhaps where he might be less likely to be stopped?)

There has been quite a bit of speculation along those lines, partly, I think, because it fits with the whole Clash Of Civilizations narrative about how Islamic terrorists hate the West because of its liberated, hedonistic women.

But I'm still willing to believe that the guy just said "Well, now's as good a time as any", and went looking for the most convenient public gathering of a large number of individuals. The main reason I say this is because in most of the other incidents of this nature, large crowds, not gender, seemed to be the pivotal factor determining a choice of target.

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Gamaliel
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Well, ISIS made a statement about the concert at the 'shameless arena' or a 'shameless concert' or some such in their official comment claiming responsibility.

Not that it's definitely proven that they were responsible - they seem to lay claim to any Islamist jihadist atrocity ...

But yes, it does play into that narrative ...

I suspect there may have been an element of that there - the suicide bomber had been in trouble for striking a school/college mate when he objected to what she was wearing ...

Who knows what goes through the heads of the perpetrators of such things?

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Stetson
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quote:
Well, ISIS made a statement about the concert at the 'shameless arena' or a 'shameless concert' or some such in their official comment claiming responsibility.

quote:
I suspect there may have been an element of that there - the suicide bomber had been in trouble for striking a school/college mate when he objected to what she was wearing ...


Those are valid points. And the Charlie Hebdo massacre certainly provides a precedent for ostensibly Islamic terrorists targeting according to the identity of their victims, rather than just numbers.

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I have the power...Lucifer is lord!

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
All I'm saying is that a lot of CCM strikes me as derivative and sub-standard.

Which is true of every genre.

The only possible difference is that in this genre, some listeners score on the basis of perceived holiness rather than on the basis of musical quality.

Your thing about originality strikes me as odd, though, because I fail to see how the religious content of music should fundamentally alter the musical content.

Noting that many of the roots of Western/European musical traditions come from the church in the first place.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Gamaliel
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Well yes ...

I suppose my point about 'originality' was linked to my point about derivativeness - but yes, you're right, the same could be said for any genre.

I think that some CCM gets a 'get out of Hell free' pass though purely on the basis that it is produced by Christian artists.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Jemima the 9th:
People see pop as being for girls [...]

As someone who was more of a rock person than a pop person when younger, I think it's more to do with musical snobbery, and we have that among women just as much as among men.

Nevertheless, the vast majority of the people at Ariana Grande's concert certainly seem to have been young women and girls. Snobbery from their peers clearly didn't put them off - although perhaps it discouraged the boys from going!

The fact that most churchgoers are women, even in evangelical churches, reasonably gives rise to the speculation that there may be gendered music preferences in Christian culture. (Not necessarily due to nature! Women are not biologically programmed to like one kind of music over another.)

Of course, it's not a matter of inevitability. Education, background, peer group, social status, etc. all play a part. And the Ship of Fools demographic probably doesn't overlap much with the Ariana Grande demographic, regardless of gender!

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mark_in_manchester

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I'm interested in Pomona's points about the gendered (sorry if that's the wrong term, I'm not up to speed) nature of musical preference, or perhaps marketing. I see where 'pop=feminine' might come from, and there sure were a lot of girls and mums at the gig here last Monday.

Something odd might have changed around 'sexy girl = male entertainment' vs 'sexy girl = female empowerment'. When I was a student many of my female friends were very down about pop music, seeing it in the former light - and correspondingly up-beat about rock and (especially) indie which was a very right-on scene. Actually the rock scene was very right-on, on the ground, despite (e.g.) Zeppelin / Lizzy lyrics being a bit eyebrow-raising.

Now - I don't know. Tit mags in the students-union shop (which would have provoked a picket, and perhaps an arson attack, in my day) suggest to this old fogey that battles are not entirely won, just lines have moved around.

As regards ISIS and the 'shameless arena' - in its short life the venue in question has been called the NYNEX, M.E.N., Manchester, Phones-4u and then Manchester (again) arena. Renaming it as ISIS suggest would be a great fuck-you - and Frank Gallagher could appear on all the signage. Welcome to Manchester.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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