The fact that Christian Punk, Metal and Alternative music exists should come as no surprise to lovers of Christian music.There is an entire scene dedicated to bands who not only openly identify as Christian but whose core audience is made up of people who love the Alternative music genres and want to be sure they are listening to Christian bands. Some of these guys play worship (devotional music as opposed to music that just has a Christian message), some of them don't.
21 minutes of that would be easy to find.
The artists in the playlist below are a little more interesting. Well known for something other than faith, and here singing five very different styles of worship, you may be surprised at some of the names below. Some may be new to you. Some may never have come out publicly as Christians. But listening to these five tracks might convince you that God has been working in and through them, and will hopefully help you to connect with the Lord while enjoying some of the finest talent the Alternative music world has to offer.
Please rise, and turn to the YouTube page in your hymnbook.
Your worship leaders are...
1. The Mission
Wayne Hussey, lead singer and creative force behind The Mission, was once in classic Goth band The Sisters of Mercy and You Spin Me Right Round merchants, Dead or Alive. Here he opens our Alternative worship session with confession, repentance and a declaration of faith. "Lay my hands on the Bible and swear to the good Lord above," he sings. "I'll make amends for my sinful ways and give myself up to your love." A great way to start.
2. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Nick Cave is an author, playwright, composer, director and legend of the Alternative music scene. From his earlier days as a hellraising, drug-hoovering (Birthday) party machine to singing with Kylie Minogue and now being the subject of a documentary, Cave is one of the most significant musical figures of the last century. Here, he invites us to, "Praise Him 'til you've forgotten what you're praising Him for," and then to, "Praise Him a little bit more!" Part prophetic declaration, part Gospel encouragement, this wall of praise is as smart and nuanced as it is loud.
3. Violent Femmes
Time to take it down a notch with some down-home Country Gospel, courtesy of Violent Femmes. With the possible exception of The Pixies, the Femmes were the ultimate College Rock / Alternative band in America in the 1980s. Their stripped down folk-country rock albums often included a mix of the sublime and profane, but this song about Noah, personal faith and God's judgement and blessing is all church, baby. "Where the heart is true," they sing, "you know the Lord your God will never forsake you."
4. Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens started off in a little known, incredibly strange Christian band called Danielson, but got famous as king of the hipster Folk singers. Profoundly influential outside the Christian scene, his contribution to our worship session comes from an older album. It tells the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus and melts into beautiful, mellow worship augmented by laid back choirs and strange instrumentation. It's heavenly.
Wovenhand's David Eugene Edwards is a little terrifying. His old band, 16 Horsepower, had a cult following among secular Alternative Country fans in the early 2000s, despite its dark, fanatical devotion to serving God, rather than men. This song is characteristically intense, almost biblically prophetic in its imagery. Giving one a sense of the awe and holy fear of standing in the presence of God, it calls us to "weave our hands together to make a ring forever round the Throne." Heavy on awe, light on familiarity, this is a great song for getting into the presence of God and preparing to her from him.
Now, you're ready to hear God speak, listen to a sermon, get back to work or research some of the darker corners of the music industry where Jesus' followers can be found. Will the congregation please be seated.
You can listen to this alternative worship session on Spotify, too.