DiM | “Gospel” Grammy Nominations 2016

trebleclefDecember 8, 2015. With yesterday’s Billboard release of the Grammy Nominations for 2016, I thought we might take a look at the songs being nominated under the “Gospel” category. We’ll be taking a break on the DiM posts for the rest of the year. We’ll jump back into our DiM posts in January, 2016. I’m sure there will be lots of new songs on the top charts.

Billboard Grammy Nominations 2016 (link)

Billboard Grammy Results 2016 (link)

Best Gospel Performance/Song

Okay, so in this first category of Grammy Nominations, I only recognize one artist, Kirk Franklin. We haven’t covered any of these songs in our DiM posts, and I think that is because I don’t really follow the “Gospel” genre that is more of a style of music completely divorced from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of God unto Salvation.

Worth [Live]
Anthony Brown & Group Therapy
Anthony Brown & Group Therapy; Anthony Brown, songwriter
Track from: Everyday Jesus [Live]
[Tyscot Records; Publisher(s): Key Of A Music/Tyscot Music]

Video / Lyrics. DiM Comments: The focus of the title and the song is on our worth. The song begins with the idea that everything God did for us was based on what He thought we were Worth. We believe that sort of philosophy to be inconsistent with what the Bible teaches, and it flies in the face of Soli Deo Gloria (to the Glory of God alone). The “power” of this song (and the genre of “Gospel Music”) is in how it’s sung/performed, not really in its lyric… though self-esteem boosting is a common lyrical theme.
DiM Verdict: Disapprove.

grammy-statueWanna Be Happy?
Kirk Franklin
Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin, songwriter
[RCA Records/Fo Yo Soul Recordings; Publisher(s): Aunt Gertrude Music Publishing admin. by Universal Music-Brentwood Benson Songs and Irving Music, Inc. admin. by Universal Music Publishing]

Video / Lyrics. DiM Comments: This song dilutes the message of the Gospel down to an Osteen-like question of happiness. The question the listener is told to ask themselves is “do you wanna be happy”. The listener is told to let Jesus take the wheel… and at some points told to just say “yes” to Jesus… but nothing clearly stated. Apparently the listener isn’t happy, but that’s because they are in the way and apparently haven’t been asking themselves the question, or something. The song is worthless.
DiM Verdict: Disapprove.

Intentional
Travis Greene
Travis Greene; Travis Greene, songwriter
[RCA Inspiration; Publisher(s): Greenlight InternationalVNavidavi Music]

Video / Lyrics. DiM Comments: Okay, so at least this song is slightly better than the other two. But seriously, the whole song consists of 2 Christian ideas: Be anxious for nothing (Phil 4:6a); God works all things for good (Rom 8:28). There is a third idea (seriously, the whole song is repetition of 3 thoughts) that God is Intentional. This is odd wording and its goal is to allude to the Sovereignty and Goodness of God while suggesting that whatever is going on it’s because God is doing something good for you in it. That concept can lose traction and flip sideways very quickly. One plus in the song is that it acknowledged that sometimes the hard times are indeed allowed by and even sent by God. That’s a good truth to hold onto, but it isn’t always for your good… it’s ALWAYS for His Glory, and there is not greater good than God’s Glory. The repetition in this song is absolutely mind-numbing.
DiM Verdict: Listen with Discerning ears, hearts, and minds.

How Awesome Is Our God [Live]
Israel & Newbreed Featuring Yolanda Adams
Israel & Newbreed Featuring Yolanda Adams; Neville Diedericks, Israel Houghton & Meleasa Houghton, songwriters
Track from: Covered: Alive In Asia [Live] (Deluxe)
[RGM Newbreed/RCA Inspiration; Publisher(s): Integrity’s Praise! Music, RGM-Newbreed Publishing, Sound Of The New Breed, Aaron Lindsey Publishing, CCMG Publishing, Neville D. Publishing]

Video / Lyrics. DiM Comments: As far as what is in the lyric, if you can get beyond the repetition, (… I mean… it’s bad… which goes to show that “gospel music” is all about the singing and musical crescendo and frills… the lyrics are just a means for hearing the voice) the song is a legitimate song of praise and thanksgiving from the regenerate Christian to the God who Saved them. If sung/performed within the context of faithful believers, I believe this song could serve as fitting worship and thanks to God when sung by each believer, regardless of their musical ability.
DiM Verdict: Listen with Discerning ears, hearts, and minds.

Worth Fighting For [Live]
Brian Courtney Wilson
Brian Courtney Wilson; Aaron Lindsey & Brian Courtney Wilson, songwriters
Track from: Worth Fighting For [Live]
[Motown Gospel; Publisher(s): ACER/Aaron Lindsey Music/Capitol Christian Music Publishing admin. by Capitol CMG]

Video / Lyrics. DiM Comments: Okay, have you ever heard of a “humble brag”? It’s when someone goes on and on about how humble/meek/undeserving they are in such a way that actually serves to brag about their accomplishments. That’s this song. It’s all about the singer’s worth, potential, destiny, purpose… but it’s cloaked in a sort of pious deference to God’s acknowledgement of the singer’s worth. It was so bad I stopped the audio after the first verse and just read the lyric without music. Nope.
DiM Verdict: Disapprove.

So, if there has to be a winner in this category, my vote would be for How Awesome is Our God by Israel & Newbreed Feat. Yolanda Adams.

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song

Okay, so this category we are well acquainted with. In fact, I’m happy to report that we’ve already covered each of the songs nominated for a Grammy. None of these songs are DiM Approved, so as long as one of the flat-out disapproved songs doesn’t win, I’d consider that a small victory.

grammy-statueHoly Spirit
Francesca Battistelli
Francesca Battistelli
Track from: If We’re Honest (Deluxe Edition)
[Fervent/Curb/Word]

DiM | “Holy Spirit” by Francesca Battistelli
DiM Verdict: Disapprove

Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)
Crowder
Crowder; Ed Cash, David Crowder & Seth Philpott, songwriters
Track from: Neon Steeple (Deluxe Edition)
[sixstepsrecords/Sparrow Records; Publisher(s): sixsteps Music/worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Songs/Worship Together Music admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com/Alletrop Music]

DiM | “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)” by Crowder
DiM Verdict: Listen with Discerning ears, hearts, and minds.

Because He Lives (Amen)
Matt Maher
Matt Maher
Track from: Saints And Sinners
[Essential Records/Provident Label Group]

DiM | “Because He Lives (Amen)” by Matt Maher
DiM Verdict: Listen with Discerning ears, hearts, and minds.

Soul On Fire
Third Day Featuring All Sons & Daughters
Third Day Featuring All Sons & Daughters; Tai Anderson, Brenton Brown, David Carr, Mark Lee, Matt Maher & Mac Powell, songwriters
Track from: Lead Us Back: Songs Of Worship (Deluxe)
[Essential Records/Provident Label Group; Publisher(s): DATAMAMA MUSIC, Thankyou Music, Sony/ATV Tree Publishing, I Am A Pilgrim Songs]

DiM | “Soul On Fire” by Third Day
DiM Verdict: Listen with Discerning ears, hearts, and minds.

Feel It
Tobymac Featuring Mr. Talkbox
Tobymac Featuring Mr. Talkbox; Cary Barlowe, David Arthur Garcia & Toby McKeehan, songwriters
[ForeFront Records; Publisher(s): Achtober Songs/Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing/D Soul Music admin. by CapitolCMGPublishing.com/Castle Bound Music, Inc./We Be Pawtying]

DiM | “Feel It (feat. Mr Talkbox)” by Tobymac
DiM Verdict: Disapprove.

Conclusion

I had hoped to work through the remaining Album categories, but that’s a lot more work than I have time for at this point. We really don’t do much in the way of Albums because they fit a different context from what concerns us. These days I think it is rare that folks listen through a whole album in a sitting. I could be wrong, but I think most folks just buy the songs they like on iTunes and throw them into their mixes. I’m not happy with the current state of Contemporary Christian Music, and pray every week for a reformation to take place. We need to wake up and acknowledge the importance of discernment in what we hear repeatedly and set to a tune. Most Christians spend far more time listening to this music than reading their Bibles… that’s also something that should change.

Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV) | Prayer for Spiritual Strength

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Amen, indeed.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

 

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