Christian Music's Lighter Side
by Wendy Lee Nentwig | May 26, 2011
Chris August's new tongue-in-cheek tune "Candy Wrap" (with an accompanying video portraying him as a hip-hop candy man) is just the latest in a long line of attempts by Christian artists to be funny. Some don't succeed, others are cheesy but enjoyable, and still others manage to set the bar high. Here are some of our favorites, either because they're good, or because they're so bad they're great.
"The Coffee Song," Jars of Clay: Road life requires coffee. It's as simple as that. But this earnest, somber ode to java manages to elevate jonesing for a cup of joe to the level of art funny, sarcastic art.
"Sadie Hawkins Dance," Relient K: How do you pick just one? These guys do entire concerts with their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, but this track is fun as well as funny and highlights what they do best: feel-good pop-rock that manages to squeeze in a message every now and then.
"Cartoons," Chris Rice: He starts out by singing "I was thinking the other day, what if cartoons got saved?" and Chris Rice has probably been regretting that thought ever since. The result is a song that kids love so much it has managed to outshine his much more serious work. That's a shame, but how can his other songs be expected to compete with impressions of Scooby Doo, Elmer Fudd and Yogi Bear?
"Mrs. Morgan," dc Talk: Not a song so much as a complaint, this track highlights an elderly neighbor of dc Talk's TobyMac who wasn't thrilled with the noise coming from his house as the band recorded what would become their album Jesus Freak. All's well that ends well, though: the disc went platinum, and Mrs. Morgan earned 15 minutes of fame when her diatribe made the tracklist. Fans even made the trek to Tennessee to find her, as she explains in the follow-up, " Mrs. Morgan (Act II)."
"Breakfast," Newsboys: Oh, those crazy Aussies! This ode to breakfast and breakfast cereals (Cap'n Crunch, Fruit Loops and Cheerios all get a shout-out) is really a serious song about eternity, if you can believe it. The subtle-as-a-sledgehammer line "When the big one finds you, may this song remind you, they don't serve breakfast in Hell" gets their point across as the kids sing along. Hmmm. We can't help but like the tune, but we're not sure God would agree that eternal damnation should be set to a fun pop beat.
"Grape, Grape Joy," Amy Grant: Oh sure, it's cheesy worse than cheesy, in fact. But this early track by Amy Grant is sung with such innocence and, well, joy, that it's impossible not to like it. Also, it's a great way to measure just how far Amy Grant has come.
"The Hairbrush Song," VeggieTales: It's a kids' classic that adults love, too. No, really. Give it a listen and see if you're not singing along. We have no idea why a cucumber even needs a hairbrush, but that's typical of what makes all of VeggieTales' silly songs so much fun.
"Mistake of My Life," Caedmon's Call: This song, penned and sung by band member Derek Webb, isn't ha-ha funny. Instead, it's that smart kind of funny that is too rare in Christian songs. As he declares his love for a woman and his decision to relocate, he makes it clear that he understands things could go disastrously wrong.
"Shut De Do," Randy Stonehill: One of the original camp classics, this sing-along song made the rounds of youth groups and campfires in the '80s and beyond. For a novelty song, it's actually really well done.
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