Last week, we started our 3-part series on hating worship songs.
Believe me. It happens.
If you didn’t get a chance to read last week’s post, I’d suggest scanning before getting rolling on this one.
Based on the three “reasons” for hating a song (belief, taste and crash & burn), now you’ve got to decide what to do about it. But take heart – because there might just be a way to figure it out!
DEALING WITH BELIEF/THEOLOGY ISSUES
Nobody sets out to write a bad worship song. No writer wants to promote something that’s not true of God. So, when we talk about theological issues, what we’re often talking clarity. You take issue with a certain line or chorus because it presents a view of God that you feel should be clearer. Having that attitude will help you know how to best edit or use a song to support the worship of God. And for what it’s worth – songs are quick things. A problem line isn’t going to take up two minutes. If you want to change it, do it. It’s a small change that may make a big difference.
If you’ve got doctrinal/philosophical issues with a song, you don’t have to automatically pull it from the catalog. With a little tweaking, you can sometimes find a way to utilize a song that you may like melodically or tone-wise.
*A word about Christian entertainment. Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed the role of “worship” as entertainment. As you can probably tell, I’m convinced that the majority of recorded worship music is produced for the exhortation and entertainment of Christians, not necessarily use in corporate worship.
Be wise in this when it comes to changing the lyrical make up of a “hit” worship song. Those special songs that get played on the radio or spin inside music devices are tough to change and some people will take it as a personal attack for you to alter a lyric of a song that means a lot to them. There’s no good way to avoid this. It’s going to happen and you should be prepared for it if you choose alter to a beloved song.
DEALING WITH TASTE
The best way to handle a song you just don’t enjoy musically is to isolate the melody. If you find the melody pleasing and good for singing (or easily made that way with adjustment), then that song might be worthwhile. Yeah, it takes a little work, but you can probably come up with a different chord structure or instrumental backing to accompany the melody you like.
Remember, you don’t have to perform a song exactly the way it’s recorded! I don’t know where we got this idea that we had to be a cover band. Especially if you rotate musicians and singers in music leading, you’re never going to sound exactly the same week-to-week anyway. So be free and be creative! That song you hate may be really great underneath that arrangement!
DEALING WITH THE CRASH
Crashing and burning on a song can happen for a lot of reasons. And if your crash happened because of theology or taste, we’ve already given some tips on how to work that out! If you’re still scratching head as to why a song didn’t work, don’t give up.
The best thing you can do is try the song a few more times. If you still think there’s hope for the song and you just haven’t found the right combination, try using the song in a different context. Make it a performance piece, use it as the music bed for a video…just experiment and you might find that the only thing needed to make that song work was a specific setting. The key is to not give up on a song if you’ve think it’s got merit. You just may have think harder to find a good spot for it.
“Hating” a song is normal. Loving, liking, disliking, questioning, adjusting – these are all parts of your job as a worship leader. Embrace it!