Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why does so much modern worship music sound like U2?

I'm not alone. One of my all-time favorite pop/rock bands is U2. I love their style and sound and the way the Edge is not really a lead player or a rhythm player, but both at the same time. I love the way the bass and drums fit together in each groove. They've made some records I haven't been crazy about, but on the whole, most of their stuff is just great, in my opinion.
I'm sure I am not the only Christian musician out there who loves U2's music. But my question is this. Why do so many modern Christian artists, particularly those who write worship music, sound like U2? If you listen to Matt Redman, Delirious, and Hillsong United, you will find undeniable traces of U2.

So to redirect my previous question...do these artists intentionally sound like U2 because they love U2's sound? Or is U2's influence on modern music so heavy that it is difficult for them to separate from that style and sound? Another possibility is that maybe U2's style and sound is very suitable for worship music, therefore lots of bands try to mimic that sound.

Whether you are a musician who plays in a band at church or if you just like listening to worship music, I would be curious to hear your thoughts.


Brian said...

I think you've made an excellent observation. One thing about the three artists that you mentioned: Matt Redman, Delirious, and Hillsong United is that they are all three non-American and thus perhaps more influenced by the highly popular band from Ireland.

It is my opinion that U2 has just been greatly popular and has influenced many music-lovers over the past 20 years.

I've never understood the U2 craze and linking them with today's modern sound helps me understand why so much of the modern Christian sound is just not that appealing to me.

BTW, I am a bi-vocational youth minister and have had a part in starting and sustaining two youth worship bands in 2 different churches.

Jason Huffman said...

Brian, thanks for your thoughts. I suspected an international connection, but you helped me firm up that theory. Also, as I've thought about this more...much of their music is driving 4/4 time with fairly simple chord progressions (not necessarily simple guitar parts, but simple patterns)--especially on Joshua Tree. Thanks again for the comment.