Thursday, June 28, 2007

Christian parody music?

LC and I were playing miniature golf on Sunday at Family Recreation Park in the lovely town of Boonsboro. The 19-hole course is rather challenging with many inclines, elevated holes, and difficult greens. I edged LC to keep my streak intact. :-D

The place is run by a Christian family, which is cool. In the background, they play Christian contemporary music (CCM). There's very little CCM I care for these days; either it's praise and worship which blurs the line between authentic worship and entertainment, or it's feeble attempts by musicians of various talent levels to stick their fingers in the air and see What Secular Act We Can Sound Like. (Exceptions: Daniel Amos/Swirling Eddies, Phil Keaggy (formerly of Glass Harp), and Steve Taylor, who put it pretty aptly when he said, "If your music's saying nothing, save it for the dentist's chair.")

This day, we were serenaded by a series of covers of classic rock tunes with altered "parody" lyrics by the band ApologetiX (it turned out to be their album Grace Period). As we approached, I noticed "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" playing, but it didn't quite sound like the Blue Oyster Cult version. When they did a cover of Rush's "Tom Sawyer", I was ready to throw something through the loudspeaker. Their "Smells Like Teen Spirit" parody was nothing less than disturbing.

What this album, and apparently others by ApologetiX, aim to be is an evangelistic tool to folks who like secular rock. It fails miserably, sounding more like a basement band mumbling the lyrics. All I knew is that the lyrics weren't the same, although the music was fairly faithfully reproduced. I had no idea what their altered lyrics were really supposed to be, or what they were supposed to be getting at. Here's their explanation.

True, Weird Al Yankovic has made a career of parodying others. But. He hasn't done only parodies; his albums are full of funny original tunes also. Some that come to mind are "When I Was Your Age," "I Was Only Kidding," "You Don't Love Me Anymore," and the probably-never-to-be-played-again "Christmas at Ground Zero." Also, his polka medleys of actual tunes require solid musical knowledge, not just a sense of humor.

In short, Weird Al puts more into his parodies than just new words. ApologetiX is just self-indulgent mush passing for CCM. And that's not much to aspire to.

Open wider, please.