Then, he told me that a good number of the bands on the label were bands with Christian leanings, including, he suspects, TJT.
Ok, this floored me, and I found that a little bothersome. It disturbs me that I would have a mildly visceral reaction to a “type” label to the point where I’d start second-guessing whether my first reactions to the music were valid. If I like the music, should it really matter? Well, sometimes.
I remember being very young, having grown up in a conservative community, and getting freaked out when I learned that Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Bronski Beat were both bands that were made up of gay men. There was an initial reaction of shock, though I’m not really sure where it came from. Still, I managed to get past it because a) I didn’t really have an issue with homosexuality and I suspected that the reaction was more learned than genuine, b) I really did enjoy their music and c) they never identified themselves as “gay bands” per se. They were bands which just happened to have gay members.
I’ve had more difficulty with the idea of Christian rock. Just as an example, I find POD endlessly tedious. When I hear their music, I end up reinterpreting all of their lyrics through the perspective of a conservative Bible-thumper because they’ve identified themselves as such. I’m not sure if it’s fair, but that perspective is one that raises my hackles at mere mention. I don't want to get beaten about the head with their ideas.
There is limitation that comes with such deliberate self-labeling. Christian rock will carry a message and will appeal to a certain audience. It will speak against many of the tenets that I cling to. Bands that label themselves Christian make it clear that they are looking for a specific audience. Ultimately, in labeling themselves, they force a label on those who are interested in them. It’s sort of like what happens with personals ads... The people who state in their ads that they are Christian or Jewish do so because they are looking for someone who shares a predictable set of values.
I’ll let you know what I think of the disk later.