I was on a walk over the weekend. As songs from the later albums by Undercover and the Altar Boys played, I started thinking about how I feel about song lyrics. I’ve been pretty tough on artists like Petra and Carman (who is apparently still around). I am tough on them for silly and sloganeering song lyrics. Yet, I don’t mind listening to the Altar Boys early songs with lyrics such as “I am into God / And God is into Me” or Undercover belting out “God Rules.” But the answer hit me as I walked. It’s very simple.
When the Altar Boys and Undercover and many other young Christian bands were writing those songs, they were young men and women. Faith comes easy to the young, so it’s easy to sing excitedly about a God who is always there and be confident against the darkness when you are young. Life has, for many, not yet punched back. So, I can appreciate that youthful excitement that produces ideal, struggle free Christianity in their songs.
But eventually? Life happened to all of these artists. They grew up and found that there will still heartaches when you followed God-and sometimes, God did not seem as sufficient as they expected. For some it was divorce, others the loss of loved ones, identity issues and so on. They found a new, truer way to express their hopes. Mike Stand, who wrote “I’m Into God” eventually wrote “It hurts when loved ones die, you see I cry too, tears mix with anger and pain, takes my breathe away.” Mike started to write songs that were addressing his maturation from boy to man.
But groups like Petra? It was adult, grown men, continuing to write about faith via slogans. Don’t ask your listener a tough question or open your heart to them! Keep it simple…”safe”. Don’t grow up. Don’t face the future. Don’t let time Change you and allow you to grow up. And that leaves me depressed. But I am thankful for people like Mike, Ric and Jeff (the Altar Boys), Ojo Taylor and his band-mates in Undercover, Gene Eugene and Adam Again, Terry Taylor and Daniel Amos and so on. I grew and matured with them and am glad they were there and willing to share themselves as artists and musicians.