It is no secret that way too many songs on Top 40 radio, with their addictive melodies, hypnotic instrumentation, first-class production, and eye-catching videos, are virtually irresistible to today’s media-savvy, music-loving youth.
What strangely remains a secret, however, is how much quality material is being produced by an ever-evolving, ever-revolving Contemporary Christian industry that intends to fight fire with holy fire.
If you or someone you know is listening to catchy music that we know might not be the best kind of music to listen to, Christian music does have some pretty good alternatives. Perhaps the answer doesn’t lie with shutting the world out, but letting new music come in.
You like Lady Gaga? Why not try Beckah Shae’s “Life”?
Beckah Shae is seriously one of the most talented female vocalists in Contemporary Christian music today. She can sing soaring ballads (“Here in This Moment”) and quiet contemplative songs of worship (her latest single “Overflow”). But it is on her R&B jams and high-energy tracks that she really shines, including the irresistible “Funky Jesus Music” (where she is featured opposite Christian rapper-superstar tobyMac) and the shofar-laced dancefloor anthem “Life.”
You like Maroon5? Why not try Royal Tailor’s “Make a Move”?
Royal Tailor is an insanely talented foursome that scored a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Christian Music album for their debut album Black or White. The carrier single of that album, “Hold Me Together,” is a pleasant acoustic gem of a song, but it was the pop-rock brilliance of “Make Your Move” that drew comparisons to the Adam Levine-fronted hitmaker Maroon5.
You like Coldplay? Why not try The City Harmonic’s “I Have a Dream (It Feels Like Home)”?
The City Harmonic’s introspective lyrics and anthemic choruses have earned this popular Contemporary Christian pop-rock band comparisons to Coldplay and The Verve. Reference the percussive power of “Mountaintop” or the hit “Manifesto” and you could easily reference U2, but it’s the melancholic somber mood of “I Have a Dream (It Feels Like Home)” that remind Elias Dummer and his crew of the Chris Martin-fronted mega-band.
You like Eminem? Why not try Lecrae’s “Just Like You”?
Best-selling rapper Marshall Mathers III—y’all know him better as Eminem—and Contemporary Christian rapper Lecrae have several things in common, including brilliant lyrics, fresh instrumentations and melodies, and searing commentaries on many of life’s troubling topics. On “Just Like You,” Lecrae waxes poetic on the importance of solid male influences on a young man’s life, something we’re sure the young Mathers wished he had growing up, if we reference enough of his anti-mom songs in his storied yet troubled career.
You like Jason Mraz? Why not try Jimmy Needham’s “The Reason I Sing”?
Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Jimmy Needham has invited comparisons to many secular artists, including Michael Buble (the Needham track “Firefly” has the same jazzy pop-rock feel as the best the Canadian crooner has to offer) and Kris Allen (his take on “How Sweet It Is” has been compared to the American Idol winner’s storied version). However, most Needham purists think it is to Jason Mraz that Needham is most appropriately compared; the two have a way with subject matter and the appropriate lyrics, incredible vocal ability, and a knack for storytelling that leaves most other white guys with guitars in the dirt.
Got any suggestions for future Christian Song Alternatives articles? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ganns Deen is a child of God, husband to Caths, and father to Nathan and Nicki. He is passionate about Christian music and tapping the power of the Internet to glorify God and spread the gospel. An award-winning songwriter in his own right, Ganns serves God full time in his capacity as online content supervisor for Victory Philippines.