Newton wasn’t messing around when he said that for every action, there’s an equal but opposite reaction. But odds are he wasn’t talking about Contemporary Christian Music. Specifically the blatant creative burgling of one Sufjan Stevens by one Jonathan Foreman, and one Imogen Heap, by one Tricia Brock.
As an outspoken proponent and critic of the “Christian” music scene, I’ve long said that the industry would be best to either: A) disband entirely, embracing the fact that art is art and being creative is in and of itself an act of worship, or B) overcome the identity crisis that plagues so many of the products, motives, and people within its walls. To of course never stop gauging the relevance and fruit your “ministry” bares, but to get over the myth that says cutting-edge art and a Christian worldview are mutually exclusive.
Switchfoot and Superchick, the respective musical vessels of said plagiarist defendants, have been staples of the Christian music industry for a decade. And although one of them is “super” unrecognizable to non-Christians, it’s always a sad day when the critically secular find more fuel for their proverbial stereotype fires of distrust. Even if it comes at the expense of a believer like Sufjan.
Okay. So really “your new song sounds like Sufjan” or “wow, that reminds me of Imogen Heap” might be considered substantial compliments. But sometimes when influences blur into criminality our reaction turns into more of a “what the hell?!” Its really not fair, but the more exceptional, innovative, and inspiring an artist is, the less it seems that grace is given to those who follow suit.
Who cares if you steal ideas from Hinder Of A Nickle Creed. But when its the untouchable legends, the prophetic intelligencia, and the kings and queens of brazen indie pop, show some respect. Turn inspiration into innovation. Pave forward into something new. Add to what you’ve taken.
Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.
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