I am feeling fairly bummed right now – because I just turned down an arranging assignment with a major print publisher because the song I was asked to arrange was so poorly written I couldn’t bear to associate my name with it. This song is brand new – on a soon-to-be-released record by a major Praise & Worship artist – written by a team of very well-known Praise & Worship writers. And trust me when I say this – THE SONG SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN RECORDED. The lyric was a mushy mess of 10th grade-level writing. (And I am probably insulting some bright 10th graders out there with that last remark.) The writers are from England, but the lyric sounds like it was written by someone who speaks English as a second language. It changes Point of View at least three times and opens with a line that makes no sense grammatically.
Of course, this isn’t anything new. It’s been going on for years. In their haste to chase away the demons of the Old Worship Dogma, the most of the new guys have never bothered to learn how to actually write a good song. So I keep wondering – When is the Praise & Worship music world going to wake up and realize that it is not enough to simply spew out a few spiritual sounding catch phrases and string them together with a set of chords lifted off a 20-year-old U2 record? When is the craft of songwriting going to start to matter to these writers (and publishers and record companies)? When are they going to figure out that good songwriting is 20% inspiration and 80% perspiration? When are they going to discover the importance of metaphor and simile and syntax? When are they going to start saying something significant? (We all know you think God is great – so tell us something else for a change.)
And when are pastors and worship leaders going to finally stand up and acknowledge that the Emporer of Praise and Worship Music is wearing no clothes? The vast majority of the songs being foisted on the church today are mindless drivel – and it astounds me that so many pastors and worship leaders are buying into this. If we stop singing these songs in church – maybe, just maybe, the writers/publishers/record companies will get the message and write better songs. But that will never happen as long as the church continues to embrace such empty-headed nonsense.
There – I’m done for now. Sorry. You can go back to happy thoughts now. But I can’t promise I won’t ever do this again.