Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Christian Music and Album Covers

I feel very disappointed that this has to be said, but Christian musical arts should not be selling their physical image on album covers, posters, or their myspace page. Being attractive, cool, or sexy is not a valid reason for other Christians to listen to your music, and it is so painfully antithetical to the Gospel that I am both angry and sad every time I come across it.

As consumers we should think twice before purchasing a Christian album which promotes the artist as an idol--a side note here, just because the artist is holding a cross, kneeling, or praying while they are posing seductively does not mean they are not trying to appear to be an idol. I understand that the commercial aspect of CCM encourages the artists to try to compete with secular artists who openly use sex or hipness-appeal to attract consumers, but how can you justify such a blatant attempt at becoming an idol Biblically?

If you are a Christian music artist, please consider the effect and purpose of your "image" is; remember that we should seek to give God glory, not ourselves. If you are a consumer of Christian music, please consider whether or not the artist is being marketed as an image (read idol).

By the way, if you think this is an isolated issue, please do a search for Christian music on myspace, particularly Holy Hip-Hop, but any genre will do.


Paul said...

Interesting point. It is very evident who a man is praising just by the surface of what He chooses to place on his advertisements. Yes, they need to catch the public's eye, but sex doesn't sell to God. Why would God need sex anyways?

noneuclidean said...

Exactly Paul. And it's not just sexuality either. Often times they "sell" the image of coolness or popularity. The underlying logic is: the people that made this album are cool, therefore you will be cool if you buy it.

Chestertonian Rambler said...

Question, though: Does this apply to all images of the artists on the front of the CD? I mean, I certainly understand the irony of using sex to sell "Christian" music, but what about images whose intent is to depict the artist as, say, "a girl like you"? What about silhouettes? What if they're selling the image of "unpopularity" (a secular example comes to mind--April Lavigne's The Best Damn Thing.)

What about DC Talk's Free at Last, which shows the three musicians dressed idiosyncratically in order to emphasize their diversity (a diversity clearly part of their music's appeal)?

I think there's more going on here than simply sex-appeal and idol-appeal. For better or for worse, art is always associated with those who create it. I'll admit that most Christians try to fit into the world's sinful ideal of what a musician should look like--but I still feel there's a place for their picture on the cover (sometimes) as a method of visually setting forth just what the album and artist are like.

noneuclidean said...

No, it would be foolish and illogical to apply this to every picture of an artist on an album cover. There are certainly exceptions, and lots of them! There are ways of displaying artists that do not glorify or idolize them. But just because we can not make a blanket statement condemning all images doesn't exclude us from the responsibility of discerning the proper from the improper and acting accordingly.

I would also question the modern tendency to turn artists themselves into images or products (sometimes we are buying an artist, not their music), but that is another issue, and one I probably couldn't articulate or defend well.

Thanks for qualifying my argument. I should have made it clear that I wasn't condemning all pictures of artists.


carolann said...

Interesting point of view and most certainly valid at times. But is there no room for self expression? Putting your face on something is not always promoting yourself but expressing in a very personal way your connection to what you do.

I don't think you're wrong but there is obviously no black and white rule to be made about this issue.