Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Rock gets Religion

Mark Joseph is an American multimedia producer, author, and founder/CEO of MJM Entertainment Group and Bully! Pulpit. Joseph is also an award-winning record producer who has worked with artists like Lauryn Hill, P.O.D., Switchfoot, Lifehouse, Sixpence None The Richer, Scott Stapp of Creed, MxPx, Dr. John, ZZ Top, Blink 182, Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Andrae Crouch, and others.

Joseph is the author of a trilogy of books about Christians in Rock Music beginning with The Rock & Roll Rebellion, continuing with Faith, God and Rock 'n Roll: How People of Faith Are Transforming American Popular Music and ending with Rock Gets Religion: The Battle for the Soul of the Devil's Music. Joseph says younger Christian artists are having unprecedented success as mainstream musicians. In turn, their songs are having an impact on popular culture in ways that contemporary Christian music never could.

In The Rock and Roll Rebellion, Joseph asks is there such a thing as Christian music? Fans of what is now called Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) might think so, but not Joseph. In this well-researched work, he argues that Christian music is not a separate genre, and that by creating a separate marketing category, Christian musicians removed themselves from pop culture—to their own detriment as well as the culture's. Through profiles of leading Christian musicians and producers (including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Pat Boone, Run-D.M.C., and U2), Joseph explored Christianity's place in American popular music, concentrating in particular on the rise of CCM as a commercial power. For anyone interested in the tension between sacred and secular in modern American music, or for fans of popular artists who have struggled with these issues (such as Amy Grant, Sam Phillips, T-Bone Burnett, Mark Heard, and dozens of others), the book makes for fascinating reading.

In Faith, God, and Rock & Roll, Joseph profiles the surprisingly long list of bands and artists who signed with secular labels but still make music that speaks of faith in God. Among the topflight acts he writes about are Jars of Clay, Lenny Kravitz, U2, Creed, Lauryn Hill, Sixpence None the Richer, Destiny's Child, Lifehouse, and P.O.D. This book explores in detail the more sophisticated version of religion now permeates the airwaves and dance clubs through a history of the movement and interviews with some of its most prominent purveyors, from U2 to Lenny Kravitz to Coldplay. Included is information on which bands with "God on their side" have reached the Top 10, as well as photographs, and profiles of 60 artists whose work is fueled by religion or spirituality such as Bono, Donna Summer, and Bob Dylan.

In Rock Gets Religion Joseph notes that the religious and religiously influenced are now commonplace in the music scene (Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Katy Perry, 21 Pilots). Joseph explores the tensions caused when religious youth are thrown into the world of rock 'n' roll. He weaves thoughtful commentary amidst the stories of devout and not-so-devout rockers along with a warning about the inherent dangers of sanctifying rock.

He argues that four major trends caused this phenomenon: (1) Dozens of rookie artists are bypassing the CCM scene altogether going directly to mainstream labels; (2) established Chrisitan artists are switching to mainstream recording companies; (3) Those popular artists who experience religious conversions are staying in mainstream music instead of leaving for the church circuit; and (4) the American Idol phenomenon resulted in pop stars being picked by the American people instead of music industry gatekeepers who selected the stars of yesteryear. As a result, while sales of Christian music as a genre may have been in a steady decline, the religious influence on rock has never been greater.

Rock Gets Religion lays out the case for people of faith to continue to make their music in the middle of popular culture, and updates the scene with dozens of successful (and not so successful) stories of Christians who have done just that. "Mark Joseph has been a key voice in the transformation of American popular music," says former Van Halen singer Gary Cherone. "In this book, his final in a three-part series, he shows us how the transformation happened and outlines a vision for the future of the unlikely alliance of rock music and serious faith."


Switchfoot - Live It Well.

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