Christian Music in the Charts
How many of us can remember the press releases from the Deliriou5? camp that called for the rallying of the troops to “fly the flag” and march down to the local Virgin Megastore, pocket money in hand, and buy the latest single release, be it “White Ribbon Day” or “Deeper”?
Or perhaps the geeky thrill of recording the top-forty chart onto cassette on a Sunday afternoon, just so we could hear a few seconds of that track, which would enter one week at number 20, but was inches away of being booted out the charts again the following week?
That was in the day when the phrase contemporary Christian music scared your usual church-goer. When it was radical to sing three songs in a row. When you’d travel up to Putney in a mini-bus in the middle of the week to be part of the latest Vineyard recording, or down to the Folkestone Leas-Cliff Apollo to hear Delirious blasting our their worship songs to a room full of sweaty teenagers. When Andy Hawthorn was still rapping about Jumping in the house of God in the World Wide Message Tribe, and Noel Richards still had a pony tail.
But if it wasn’t for those days, then the Christian music scene wouldn’t be what it is today; it wouldn’t be as strong as it is today. If it wasn’t for those who led the worship of that generation, then the worship leaders of this generation wouldn't be as inspired to inspire the next generation, or the generation after that. There probably wouldn’t be as many festivals, events and conferences, where we witness thousands of people dedicating themselves to the worship of God.
Some might say that it’s becoming too commercial, perhaps too Americanized. However, I believe that today, Christian music is in a healthy place. The hunger for worship in the UK is intensifying; and it’s a hunger that isn’t just being fulfilled on a Sunday.
Today people can have access to Christian Music at the click of a button. It is now easier and cheaper than ever to buy and listen to Christian Music. Whether that’s through retail outlets such as iTunes or Amazon, or via online broadcasting sites such as Youtube. Yes, there still seems to be a prejudice to playing Christian music on a secular radio station, but I believe that soon radio stations will have to start listening to the voice of the people who are sending tracks, not just to 39 or 27, but all the way into the top ten, on the album and singles charts.
Over the course of the last year we have seen a number of Christian artists entering the charts with varying degrees of success. Notably LZ7 with “This little light” Worship Central with “Spirit Break Out” Matt and Beth Redman with “27 Million” and most recently, Ben Cantelon with “Everything in Colour”
On each of these tracks, and many more that I haven’t mentioned, the writing is seriously strong, the skills of the musicians incredibly professional, and the production could give any secular track a run for it’s money. Even the album artwork is inspiring.
Ben Cantelon’s latest album “Everything in Colour” is one such example of this new breed of talent.
A recent review by the website http://www.louderthanthemusic.com stated: “This is a jammed packed album of Ben Cantelon tracks produced and recorded how they are meant to be heard, a wonderful collection of worship songs that are sincere and marvelous pieces of musical worship to God.”
The American pastor, Rich Warren tweeted this: “I absolutely love @bencantelon’s new CD #EverythingInColour with songs by@Matt_Redman @timhughes77 @stugio”
If I had to reduce my review into the length of a tweet (all right, just over one tweet!) I’d say this:
“The album is stuffed full of richness; musically and lyrically. If this album is anything to go by, the future for Christian music in the UK is a bright one”
If you’re looking out for some great new Christian music to listen to, I recommend you check out (amongst others) the following: