A very good discussion with many quotable quotes:
... "Where power ballads go, praise bands follow" ...Patrick O'Hannigan, "Can Litugical Music Be Saved? - Reassessing the quarrel between the power ballad and the hymn" (The American Spectator, June 17, 2013):
... "Yet smart pastors no longer shepherd their flocks in terms of equations like 'memorable sermon + rocking band = full collection plate'" ...
Remember the power ballad? It was a subgenre of rock music pioneered by Boston in 1976 and Styx a year later. From near-symphonic beginnings in “More Than a Feeling” and “Come Sail Away,” the power ballad elbowed its way to prominence in the early Eighties.[Hat tip to JM]
Tom Scholz of Boston and Dennis DeYoung of Styx welded songwriting craftsmanship to imaginative orchestration and “wall of sound” microphone placements, mixing electric and acoustic guitars in tunes that did more than build to crescendos. Artists like Bonnie Tyler and REO Speedwagon then parlayed their own examples of the form into successful recording careers.
Power ballad pioneers play now in places like state fairs. But when the power ballad fell out of fashion, it found a home among the “praise bands” of “Christian Rock.” Where power ballads go, praise bands follow. That unabashedly Christian lyrics can be heard on FM radio is a good thing, but that power ballads also enabled praise bands to displace so many church choirs ought to give us pause. Power ballads are not hymns. That is precisely the problem with singing them during church services, even — perhaps especially— services aimed at younger people.
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