Songs You May Have Missed #274

rice

Chris Rice: “Lemonade” (2005)

I resisted this song for a long time as too saccharine, too cheerful, too recorded-by-an-overtly-Christian-artist. You see, I have a complicated relationship with “Christian” artists, and with “Christian artists”. But not with Christian artists per se. I hope the placement of the quotation marks makes the distinction clear.

You see, despite being a Christian, I approach my pop music fandom–ok, obsession–from enough of a purist’s perspective that there is no inside track for those who share my religious bent. If you want to sing about your God, even if it sounds like you’re singing about my God too, you’d better do so artfully, cleverly, melodically or movingly and pass the test of good pop music. Otherwise I’ll be skeptical that you’re merely plying a limited musical talent in the relatively shallow artistic pool of “Christian” music, or perhaps just happen to be a devout Christian who is also a musical hack.

Chris Rice is one Christian artist who has the talent to rise above some of the genre’s lyrical banality and melodic blandness. In fact, “Lemonade” is one of two tracks from his Amusing LP that were hits on the Adult Contemporary chart. His vocals and melodies bring to mind acoustic folk singer-songwriter David Wilcox more than they do any overtly Christian performer.

“Lemonade”, in fact, was not introduced to me as so-called Christian music, but as a wedding couple’s first dance song. Not only was it a fresh choice compared to other overused choices, but it just seemed to be–and is–a nice pop song. Which I think is the best compliment you can pay a piece of Christian music.

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