2010: My Fast From Secular Music

A lot has changed for me this year. In 2009, my wife and I moved to a new apartment, I started The One21 Music, my grandmother passed on, I met some great new friends, reconnected with some old ones, started a band, went to SXSW for the first time (really), grew my beard out (epic), did a ton of interviews, saw some amazing music, tried to buy a house and failed, and celebrated my 3rd year of marriage. There was a lot more, but those are some of big points for me. 2009 has been eventful to say the least.

The other night, my wife and I were sitting in our office on our separate computers (she’s a Mac, Im a PC), and as usual, we were listening to music. Our usual routine is to listen to all the new music we have consumed and rate the songs as they play, so at least we know we have listened to every song in our library at least once. As we were listening to the latest batch of unlistened songs, she commented that I was listening to a lot more Christian music. Now, I have never really kept count, but she went on to say that I have also been listening to a lot more worship, contemporary, and deeply spiritual music since I have been writing for One21. I almost didn’t agree with her until I started putting together my “Best of 09″ list and compared it to last years. In 2008, my top 20 only contained three albums made by Christian artists; but in 2009, 13 of the albums are made by artists we cover on this website. It would seem that (like most times), my wife was right.

So what has changed? Was 2009 just an amazing year for Christ-centered music? Was it a really bad year for secular music? Was I only buying more music by believers because I was doing this website? To tell you the truth, I don’t know many of those answers, but I do know that I prefer most of the music on my list from 2009 over my list from 2008 (sorry Protest The Hero, Manchester Orchestra is awesome).

So it would seem that one of the things in my life that has changed the most is that I am not as interested in secular music as I used to be, and in fact despite a few shining stars this year (Brother Ali, St. Vincent), I’m rather bored with it. Most secular music for me lacks depth now. You see, the whole reason we started this site is because Chuck and I earnestly believe that some of the best music in the world is being made by Christians. Brothers and sisters who share our faith, and create art from a passionate heart changed by an all loving God. I really feel that my migration towards a steady diet of “Christian music” has been a positive one, and it stems out of my yearning to hear something real and innovative coming through my speakers.

So, I have decided to put our theory to practice: and for one year, in 2010; I, Ian Harvey am not going to purchase, download, or receive any secular music of any sort.

Now, I feel like I need to explain this a little so you understand a bit. First of all, in this 5th paragraph, I will tell you what I am NOT saying. This, self-imposed, fast from secular music does not mean that I am not going to LISTEN to any secular music. That is impossible, music is everywhere, and it should be. That would also mean that there would be a large portion of my music collection (14148 songs and counting; all legal baby!) that I would have to avoid like the plague. This would also mean that I wouldn’t be able to listen to music at work (my other job), and that isn’t going to happen either. If you think about it though, most people listen to the newest stuff they have in the library the most, so in all reality I wont be listening to a LOT of secular music, because all the NEW music I will be obtaining will be from Christian artists.

Let’s think about this from a logical point of view for a minute. We are in a recession, and times are hard. Read any paper, and you will see that people simply are not buying much anymore, because there isn’t much to buy things WITH. Music is one of my addictions, it is rare if a week goes by and I don’t obtain at least ONE new album, and most times it is more than that. While I don’t always BUY all the music I have in my computer (you know those free downloads we put up, I download them too; and I have become once a week visitor to Nosetrade.com, so that has been helping), but my resources are limited as well. So why wouldn’t I want to devote all those resources towards a group of artists that I believe are creating THE BEST product? If I really believe the stuff I have been writing about on this site, why wouldn’t I throw my full support at artists like Brooke Waggoner, Listener Project, So Long Forgotten, and The Chariot?

So this is what I am going to do. In 2010, all the NEW music that makes it into my library will be from artists who are Christ followers. I honestly feel that God is going to do something in me because of this, but I don’t know what quite yet. I feel like I have come a long way this year, so I’m going to keep running with it.

Here is the other thing, the WHOLE REASON I AM WRITING THIS BLOG: I want you to join me. I feel personally called to cleanse my palette (if you will) this year, and I also feel like there is somebody out there who feels the same. It’s not that the secular music we listen to is HORRIBLE (I’m gonna miss the new NIN record….just kidding), its just that we feel that God wants us to be encouraged by this, and to encourage the artists who share our faith to continue to keep doing what they are doing. It means that maybe you are going to have to wait on some music you want. It means that you are going to have to dig deeper into this music scene. You may even have to listen to some STYLES of music you have never really given a chance before. Maybe you will have to alter what you consider to be “Christian music”

But hey, at least you have a good website that can help you with some of that….

For some clarification on what I consider to be “Christian music”, please read the article The Many Facets of The Christian Music .

Please pray for me as I go through this next year, and maybe consider trying it out. I mean, I know we are not promised tomorrow, but it IS only a year commitment. Who knows though, maybe in 2011, you will be as let down by secular music as I am.