This article, from the mainstream news magazine, 'The Week,' grapples with a a question I care about as a Christian and as a lover of music.
There was a point at which what was known as Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) produced great artists making great music that allowed for connections to be made between Christ, Christians, and skeptical spiritual seekers. (There was schlock too and as a friend of mine used to say, we Christians ought to feel free to say when a Christian artist's work is bad, rather than refraining from doing so because it might seem "unChristian.")
What we got from the great CCM of the late-80s and 90s was an honest form of witness and dialogue from artists like dcTalk, Switchfoot, Caedmon's Call, Rich Mullins, Steve Taylor, and others.
As the article points out, rapper Lecrae, a great artist, fits that bill today. (Taylor also produced a new album last year and I love what Peter Furler, former lead singer of the Newsboys, is doing these days.) But when you listen to Christian radio stations today, the music is mostly worship and praise, some of it very good, but little of it designed to connect with unbelievers or to help believers wrestle with the sorts of issues that even believers like Job and Paul faced.
I mourn, if not the total loss, the near pulseless and sanitized soullessness of a contemporary Christian music scene that allows for little honesty or artistic daring. Christian witness would be strengthened if things weren't as "cleaned up" as they are these days in CCM.