….Bobby Jones is…on the rad-i-oooooo he’s…..got just what I want….he’s got the music flooooo-win….AND THAT’S ALRIGHT WITH ME!!! The Bobby Jones Gospel Count–Down Show!!
That’s pretty hot!!! Which might be the problem with contemporary gospel music right there. The music is too hot. It feels like I could party like it’s 1999, old school style up in here! Or even new school, because one day I as I was listening I heard Dorinda Clark’s voice in autotunes! That was kinda weird, because she has the most unique voice, that’s suited to gospel, and she so does NOT need autotunes! (What is it with autotunes anyway, why must everyone be forced through the autotunes sieve?) For me, Roger broke the mold with that whole autotunes thing. Let everybody else just stop.
Anyway, contemporary black gospel falls through the cracks for me musically, and spiritually. They say when you try to cover everything, you end up doing a poor job at all of it. A jack of all trades and a master of none is my description for most of what is presented for this music. If I was a club hopper, I wouldn’t want the music because of the generous sprinkling of the name of Jesus here and there in it. I don’t think I could do my hottest tootsie roll, cabbage patch and running man to the name of Jesus. As for the Holy Spirit moving, I think that the heavy basslines, thumping guitar licks, and vocal acrobatics of some of these singers like Tonex and Deitrick would definitely distract me from the move of God through the music. Both boys can SANG, but you know they put it on real thick.
When I read many of the bios of these artists, they invariably bring up that it’s “time to move to a new place in black gospel music, those old hymns don’t speak to the youth today”. They are forever saying that, and it’s a weak excuse and cop out that sounds good to young people. In my opinion it’s just another way to steal black youth’s heritage from them. They are tricked into believing that anything old is worthless, and they throw away their powerful foundations of strength. When hard times come, they are easily crushed because they have thrown out their foundation and birthright. It’s not that the old hymns do not speak to the youth: it’s that the youth have been made deaf and blind to their own heritage.
Of course, I am not talking about ALL Contemporary black gospel music, because there is still plenty that truly speaks to the heart of God. There is still much that is true worship music, and it’s not hard to differentiate it from the fake stuff, if the listener truly knows God. I think a person needs to have a true relationship with God to be able to discern the difference. Because it’s easy to confuse emotionalism with the move of the Holy Spirit. I once read someone put it this way: is it the move of God, or is that E flat major key being played that’s getting to your emotions?
That’s why I appreciated the article by Jelani. He tackled this important issue with the clarity of a sage. The article is long, but it’s worth reading every word. I think it is important for us to be able to go beyond criticisms of those things that we see happening within our culture that we feel are detrimental to us. We need to analyze and make decisions so that we can respond correctly.