The two men could not look or be more different. Steve Taylor is the iconoclastic, long-haired, alternative rock musician whose repertoire includes tunes with curious names such as "I Want to Be a Clone," "This Disco (Used to Be a Cute Cathedral)," and the often misunderstood "I Blew Up the Clinic Real Good." In contrast, Michael Card, bald and anything but flamboyant, writes music featuring acoustic guitars and rich string arrangements, with album titles such as Known by the Scars, Scandalon, joy in the Journey, and Sleep Sound in Jesus. They are not a duo one would expect to agree about much. Yet each has felt like an outsider in the Christian music industry and has concerns over the course Christian music has taken.
What are your impressions of the current state of the Christian music industry?
Card: The contemporary Christian music scene used to be a song-driven industry. People would come to concerts and they would say, "Why, I heard all those songs, but I didn't know it was you that sang them." Songs tended to have a longer life in those days, and these songs were more in the possession of the church. We sang Keith Green songs and John Talbot songs in church, for example.
Now, the industry is celebrity-driven. The song is almost irrelevant. The focus is on the person, and songs have become disposable. They're on the charts and play on the radio for maybe two or three weeks, but then they disappear. And now, for the most part, these songs never become a part of the church's worship. In fact, a whole other industry has grown up, like the "Praise and Worship" tapes from Integrity Music, because a need was dire. And so in many ways, contemporary Christian music is becoming irrelevant. If it's irrelevant to the church, it's ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more