A Kinda Sorta Review of the New U2 Record

THE RECORD

Almost every review of the newest U2 record Songs of Innocence has told me more about the the reviewer and their issues than the record itself. When a reviewer starts admitting that they “don’t really like U2 that much” or by saying that they haven’t liked a U2 record since Actung Baby, why should we care what they say? When a reviewer spends (as many of them did) the opening half of the review critiquing and complaining about the way or method the band released the record, what does that actually tell us about the music itself? The answer is of course: nothing.

I actually like the new U2 record. It’s not their best record, but it’s certainly not their worst. The songs themselves are far better than most of the critics have given credit for. The final result of Dangermouse’s production work is a debatable point but again, it’s an interesting take on the music of the most iconic band since the Beatles. So now that we’ve had a few weeks to come to terms with the music and implication of the records surprise marketing/distribution method maybe we can look for some takeaways?

Instead of debating the finer points of U2’s latest offering, I would like to look at the response it has drawn. I feel like looking at Songs Of Innocence’s reception will shed light on issues that affect us as worship leaders and church musicians.

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How do you solve a problem like Mars Hill Music?

Recently, you might’ve have seen, or heard or read about the troubles at Mars Hill Church and with their Pastor, Mark Driscoll.

The question was put to me in regards to all of this: what do we do with the songs? What about the Mars Hill Music bands like Citizens and Saints or Kings K who’ve become popular with many worship leaders in recent years?

While I hope to address these questions, I think it kind of misses the point. Do you know where the songs you sing come from? Do you know what the implications of singing a song is? Or what the implications of promoting a worship leader are? Is Mars Hill Church the only church I need to be concerned about?

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The Electric: Fuzz In Worship

In this series I try and address different aspects of the practical side of playing electric guitar in church music. This week we’ll talk about using Fuzz pedals in worship.

The question is asked often enough on internet forums and blogs: Can I use a Fuzz pedal in worship? The answer to this question is the answer to every gear related question the church guitarist may ask: Yes. Maybe. Depends.  So as we walk through the reasons why or why not to use Fuzz pedal at church, you can take the same principles and apply them to any other piece of gear.

So… can I use Fuzz in Worship?

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I’d Like To Play More

Recently, the question was put to me: I’d like to play more at church but the worship leader seems to always be picking others over me, what can I do about this?

The truth is that this is a complex issue. I know a lot of worship leaders who really like someone personally but they aren’t a good fit for whatever reason and the WL doesn’t like conflict so they just use them as little as possible. Sometimes another person is being picked over someone for valid reasons. That other person is being raised up for long term leadership, or the worship leader has figured out that out of three players one really only has the availability because of work or school to do worship so they get a shot more than people who have the ability or time to serve elsewhere. Is that right or wrong? I don’t know, but it is a reality in many churches.

If you’re feeling overlooked or passed over or simply just want to play a little more, what should you do? Here’s some thoughts that will hopefully be helpful.

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4 Ways To Make Your Worship Team Better

My friends over at The Church Collective have a new post up by Rob Carona that I think it worth your time called “4 Ways To Release The Potential Of Your Worship Team”.

I highly recommend this article to you.

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On Gungor, Doubt & Belief

If you’re on any sort of social media, then it’s possible that this last week you saw 1 (or 20) posts, comments, links, and/or articles relating to Michael and Lisa Gungor, their band, and how they’ve denied the faith or something. This is a funny subject because it’s not strictly about worship. Most of Gungor’s songs don’t translate to the average church (you try doing Beautiful Things and see how that works out for ‘ya 😉 ). But I think it’s worth talking about for a few reasons.

First and foremost, I’ve been annoyed about the whole thing and it’ll be cathartic to get this off my chest. Secondly, because there’s just been a lot of silliness written about it in the last few weeks and I’d like to write something that gets past the rhetoric. Lastly, as worship leaders, we should know where our songs come from, who writes them, and how we should interact with churches who don’t line up with the style and shape of our own.

(See the article that kind of kicked every thing off HERE and Gungor’s response HERE)

NOTE: Michael Gungor (MG) really is representative of his family, band and church. So there may be parts of this post where I’m not just talking about him specifically, but you’ll just have to let the context tell you when that is.

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Hymnals and Looking Backwards

Should Churches Go Back To Using Hymnals?

This post from the Ponder Anew blog has been floating around the interwebs recently. It’s technically well written (good grammar choices, punctuation, etc) but it falls flat on the lack of strength in it’s own arguments.

I’m sure the author is a nice guy, good husband, and a brother to me in Jesus. But he’s also holding the flag for a past tradition. According to his argument, it’s not enough just to sing hymns. We have to sing them using traditional (old outdated) technology in church buildings with traditional (old outdated) architectural styles. Why? Because that’s the way the author likes it.

The authors post is summed up with three foundational principles:

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