CCM Praise Songs We Have Trouble With Meme

CCM Praise Songs We Have Trouble With Meme

Rod of Alexandria has started a new meme asking bloggers to name that one Contemporary praise song that just drives them bonkers. Here are the rules:

Please try to name ONE (I know, there are so many to choose from) CCM praise song that you find unbearable and at least 2-3 reasons why, pointing to specific lyrics if you must.

Rod picked “Days of Elijah” to start things off, and the meme has since been picked up by James McGrath (Chris Tomlin’s “Indescribable”) and Doug Chaplin (“Mighty to Save”), with more sure to come. This is a really hard meme simply because the number of truly bad modern praise songs is staggering. It’s also difficult because the definition of CCM is hard to pin down; how far back should we go here? Does praise music from the early 80s count? We need a ruling on this.

If the early 80s are in play, the first song that comes to my mind is “Blow the Trumpet in Zion” by Craig Terndrup, which is chock full of fail:

Blow the trumpet in Zion, Zion.
Sound the alarm on My holy mountain.
Blow the trumpet in Zion, Zion.
Sound the alarm.
Blow the trumpet in Zion, Zion.
Sound the alarm on My holy mountain.
Blow the trumpet in Zion, Zion.
Sound the alarm.
Sound the alarm.
Sound the alarm!

They rush on the city; they run on the wall.
Great is the army that carries out His Word.
They rush on the city; they run on the wall.
Great is the army that carries out His Word.
The Lord utters His voice before His army.
The Lord utters His voice before His army.

This triumphant song actually manages to celebrate (and imply participation in) the army of locusts depicted in Joel 2, the army God is sending to destroy his people and his holy mountain. The trumpet discussed in the passage is no triumphant blast but the warning of a watchman upon the approach of an enemy (or locusts). This passage (along with some help from 1 Enoch and elsewhere) served as a model for the locusts released from the abyss in Revelation 9, and this song is rejoicing in being a part of this army!?! Seriously?

The passage in Joel implores the people to turn back to YHWH with weeping, fasting, and sackcloth in the hopes that he will turn back from unleashing this army upon his people, but this song actually celebrates this army of doom, destruction, and death. I’m pretty sure I don’t need a second or third reason for this being a rotten song. If “contemporary” music from 1983 is out of play, I’ll pick another from more recent decades, with Darrell Evans’ “Trading My Sorrows” the current frontrunner in that group.

I tag Joel and Michael Bird.

7 Comments
  • Rod
    Posted at 19:02h, 04 February Reply

    Yes, praise songs from the 80s do count. Lols.

  • Stephen C. Carlson
    Posted at 22:54h, 06 February Reply

    The fact that you remember a tune from the 80s shows that this isn’t the typical praise fail, with insipid melody, insipid lyrics, and insipid spirituality. The tune here is actually pretty strong, with a memorable hook.

    But indeed, the very strength of the tune contributes to the problem by overpowering the weak, ambiguous pastiche of the source material. Based on the context of its source in Joel 2, the lyrics would be okay if the melody managed to convey a sense of fear or dread. True, the minor key should have helped, but the tempo as it is usually performed is far too upbeat for any emotion other than triumphalism. This resolves the ambiguity of the lyrics in the wrong direction, against its scriptural source, and, as you put it, produces “chock full of fail.”

  • Dustin
    Posted at 10:22h, 08 February Reply

    Well I think John Mark McMillan comes to mind in most recent years, for the obvious reasons. “Above All” always drove me crazy. The “like the rose” part basically froze me as a kid. I was young, so at the time I didn’t see what a rose had to do with Jesus. In later years, it was more wondering, “did He really think of me, above all”? Never really got into “As The Deer” either. It’s a great passage of Scripture but trying to lyrically fit everything into a song entitled, “As The Deer” seems rather folky (and I like Folk music) cheesy to me.

  • David B Severy
    Posted at 10:27h, 09 August Reply

    Perhaps a verse could be added for amplification: “And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it.” Isaiah 30:32

  • Matt Thacker
    Posted at 10:44h, 26 April Reply

    You guys are ridiculous. You find scriptures that were not the ones reasoned for the song lyrics. YOU are the logs in the path of those trying to live for God.

  • Dave Fraleigh
    Posted at 06:46h, 16 March Reply

    I’d like to nominate “Reckless”……mostly because the idea that God, the creator of all things could be reckless is absurd. We are denigrating God by trying to make Him confined by human shortcomings. Too bad it’s a very well written and singable song. Whenever we sing it at church, I substitute “perfect” for “ reckless.” Oh, if there’s a worse one it’s Michael Smith’s This is How I Fight My Battles….I think it’s Michael Smith. And I have just written the sum total of the song lyrics—what a waste…

  • Tim Matthews
    Posted at 12:37h, 15 July Reply

    How about Lift Jesus Higher?

    Lift Jesus higher
    Lift Jesus higher
    Lift Him up for the world to see
    He said if I be lifted up from the earth
    I will draw all men unto me

    Here it would seem we are encouraged to “Lift Jesus higher”, but what is this? The quote is from Joh 12:32-33, where Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” This he said, signifying what death he should die. 

    What death did He die? “Lifted up”- death on the cross. In other words, we are encouraged to crucify Jesus! There’s one song I won’t’ sing anymore.

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