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  •  The EvO:R Street Journal

    The EvO:R Street Journal
    Editorial statement
    Dedicated to the culture, business and interests of the indie artist. EVJ delivers controversial points of view, hard-news commentary, Industry Insites, artistic prose and photography and welcomes responses (pro or con), feedback and topic suggestions from readers. If you would like to submit an opinionated article, inspired poem, photo or essay to EVJ, forward all copy to Editor ESJ and put To the Editor in the subject field.



    Christian music popularity reflects the lack of noise
    other songwriters are making

    By Frank Cotolo

    Surf or peruse the tracks available over the past few years from free-agent musicians (FAMs) and listen to what they are saying. My question is, “What are they saying?” Not that the poetic element of lyrics should be ignored, but really, it is legitimate to ask—what the hell is anyone talking about?

    This question is not one that hasn’t been asked recently by others. I have read a number of articles that seek answers. And these articles cover the commercial music world. But don’t think things are so different in the world of FAMs. They are not.

    Suffice it to say that FAM music and most Internet original-music contributors are not using the song as a podium for social or cultural ideology. Nor for protest. Nor for spiritual gain. In every genre, the purpose of lyrics has become so personal it is moot to most listeners. The public is not connecting. Songs seem to be personal therapy sessions that won’t attract great numbers of interested music fans.

    Recently, a journalist noted that folk music, which was a cultural definition more than the description of a genre, has all but died. "Folk,” he wrote, “no longer means traditional ballads and workers’ songs. If it is still understood to mean anything, it means a sensitive young guy or girl with a guitar performing his or her own introspective songs. Folk music has become a pop subgenre.”

    That is profound. That is sad. Not just for folk music. All the other genres also suffer from becoming subgenres of pop. And that is one more reason why definitive genres are becoming so appealing to a public.

    The world’s most definitive genre today is Christian music. Caressing any genre it gets its holy hands on, Christian music is swarming with commercial appeal. It is filling the void of soft content music with a rhyme and a reason—something listeners appear to desire.

    Everyone knows what Christian music is about and even when it is delivered with a personal twist, everyone identifies with it. People cherish the lyrics more than the melodies or productions of Christian music. In fact, the lyrics dictate the genre, as Christian music grows branches on its own genre tree—there is Country Christian, Metal Christian, Rock Christian, etcetera.

    It isn’t just the times that shift the public’s attention to the positive messages of Christian pop. That explanation makes some sense, sure, but the propagation of Jesus as the centerpiece of music does not owe itself so dearly to the era of downtrodden spiritualism as it does to the need for an audience to become a metaphysical mob.

    That is, the growing hoards of people following Christian music are yearning to be part of a music they can share. At the very root of their desire is not the yearning to be saved from sin as much as there is a need to be saved from loneliness. The concept of Jesus is simple and infectious; the public is simple and infectious.

    Order comes from chaos. Christian music is the order created from the chaos of songwriters who continue to produce material that connects with isolated listeners. And these are people who cannot process its cultural value, no less share it with a friend or neighbor.

    Look, then, at what all of us FAMs have helped to create. And what we continue to support by not using our “voices” to corral an audience. Or maybe this is all a very natural evolution of contemporary music history.

    Maybe the rest of us just don’t have much to say.


    Frank Cotolo appears weekly, live, on Cotolo Chronicles, at Ampcast.com. Many of the commentaries he writes here are discussed at this program, Thursdays at 9 p.m., EST.



    About Frank Cotolo
    Few, if any, internet-based performers are as prolific or versatile as Frank Cotolo. Soon he will celebrate his 40th anniversary as a professional creative entity (PCE to you). After almost four decades, he continues to produce material as a songwriter, author, poet, lyricist and an award-winning journalist at a breakneck pace because, he says, "somebody has to do it."

    His many incarnations over the decades have astounded reviewers, spiritualists, quick-change artists and certainly other performers. While most internet-based artists are struggling to complete their next track, Cotolo pulls CDs out of his hat, often changing voices and styles quicker than a rat can scale a palm tree.

    He is now an embedded member of the Ampcast.com radio team with cotolo chronicles, a weekly talk show that breaks ground in internet radio broadcasting. Every Thursday at 9 p.m., EST, Cotolo continues his love-hate relationship with the entertainment business, with comments, praises, pontifications and insubordinate monologues.... By the way...He also is the editor of the award winning EvO:R Street Journal!

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    ESJ is looking for writers/poets for our next issues. All work is appreciated and will be published (with the exception of articles containing racism, bigotry or other demeaning topics) Also, this is a PG-13 rating and will be censored if you do not edit it. Please e-mail The EvO:R Street Journal.
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