We surely can’t be the only ones who suppressed a shudder when we saw the title of My Morning Jacket songwriter Jim James’ new solo album: Regions of Light and Sound of God. As it turns out, the title doesn’t necessarily mean that James has gone born-again on our hellbound asses, but either way, we have to admit that our reaction did rather have us reassessing our own prejudices: would James going all Christian necessarily mean that the resultant album would suck massively? We have to say that the answer is probably no — some of our favorite songwriters have addressed matters of faith over the years, after all. And so in payment for our, ahem, sins, we’ve put together a collection of Christian music that doesn’t suck. (Spoiler: sorry Creed and Christian hardcore fans, our charity only goes so far.)
Violent Femmes — Hallowed Ground
Gordon Gano’s faith was something of an issue for the early part of Violent Femmes’ career — atheist bassist Brian Ritchie and drummer Victor DeLorenzo were uncomfortable with including overtly Christian songs on the band’s records, and their classic teen-angst debut was entirely devoid of such tracks. By Hallowed Ground, however, Gano had won his colleagues over, and the album included several songs that addressed Christian themes. And it has to be said that those tracks were pretty great, their slightly unhinged exuberance forming quite the contrast with the bleak subject matter of the album’s non-Christian material.