There are a few concrete rules when it comes to popular music. Such as, if you make a sad love song, it has to be raining in the video or you have to be singing it while knee deep in a foamy, sunset-drenched ocean. You include Bobby Brown in your reunion tour at your own peril. And my favorite of all, Christian music and country music are cultural cousins.
For some reason, these two genres are closely related. Rascal Flatts does the song “Broken Road” and Selah remakes it for Christian radio. Carrie Underwood makes the song “Jesus take the wheel” which does well on both Christian and country stations. And those are just the two most recent overlaps. People like Garth Brooks have been doing God-type songs like “Unanswered prayers” for a while. It seems that since the dawn of time, we’ve traded musicians and music. I think it’s because we both call Nashville home.
I can’t identify the exact reason why these two genres are so interlinked, but I will predict something – Jessica Simpson might be coming back to Christian music.
Back? What’s that you say, “back?” That’s right, when she first came out, she was loosely billed as the “Christian Britney Spears.” Her dad is a youth minister and I think that sometimes the rest of the United States just assumes that everyone from Texas is a Christian. Her first recordings were for a gospel album, she was signed to a Christian record label called “Proclaim Records” which folded and she played at shows with Kirk Franklin. I definitely remember people telling me, “Yay, we got our own girl pop singer!”
Granted, this label didn’t last long but I think she might be headed back here. Rarely does someone start really big in secular pop music and then become a Christian recording artist. Usually you start off Christian, sell enough albums to graduate to country or pop and then never look back unless your career hiccups. But all of this begs the bigger question, should we take Jessica Simpson back?
I approached this question like a mad scientist with a plus and minus scorecard. Here’s what I came up with:
1. Ashlee and the bass player from Fall Out Boy
This isn’t a guarantee, but there’s a chance that if we take Jessica back, the Simpson family will throw in sister Ashlee and her husband Pete Wentz as a bonus. Something to think about. Let’s call this one a “plus.”
2. Jessica is dating a Dallas Cowboy
If you’re a Cowboy fan, this is an automatic “plus.” If you are the rest of the country, not so much. I think Tony Romo seems like a decent guy and I like his garlic bread and fried pasta appetizer. What, that’s “Tony Roma’s” restaurant chain not Tony Romo’s? This is so embarrassing. I’m calling this one “even” because everyone knows that God’s favorite team is the Patriots. (There’s a post, “rooting for God’s favorite sports team.”)
3. For a star, Simpson has a pretty tame life.
She’s never gotten a DUI, been arrested, left the house without all her clothes on or had random babies with random dudes. I’m not saying I’m happy that we live in a world where we should congratulate people for remembering underwear, but I am saying my daughters are going to a mountaintop convent when they get older. I call her tame living a “plus.”
4. The “tuna incident.”
On her MTV show she apparently confused tuna with chicken because the tuna brand called itself the “chicken of the sea.” You would think that would be a minus, but she actually ended up spinning it into a tuna sponsorship and made the whole thing seem like a deliberate move. I think she is smarter than she appears. “Plus.”
5. The Pizza Hut commercial.
We overlooked the tuna incident but that Pizza Hut commercial where she acts like Buffalo have wings is unforgivable. That’s a big “minus.” In other pizza-related humor, I recently saw a short comedy clip titled, “Domino’s Test Limits of What Humans Will Eat.” Best line of the whole piece was “Dr. Moore said he initially had moral issues with conducting the tests on humans but has since come to see the subjects as quote ‘cheese and sauce consuming beasts.'” Brilliant.
6. Her dad is a youth minister from Texas.
I know Joe Simpson recently did his daughter Ashlee’s wedding and is a youth minister from Texas. But I think roughly 44% of the dudes I know in Texas are youth ministers. There are just a ton of churches in Texas, which by the way is a state I do not mess with. Let’s be upfront about that. And he’s also allegedly said some fairly questionable things about Jessica in the past. “Minus”
7. She got a divorce.
I have some really great, deeply Christian friends that have gone through divorce so I can by no means call this one a minus. Let’s call it “even.” (Weird, point number 7 was surprisingly serious, don’t worry, 8 is ridiculous.)
8. She is attractive.
That sounds shallow of me, but here’s what one of the ministers on our superhero guide to famous pastors has to say on the topic of ugliness, “Who would want to get in on something where you’re miserable, poor, broke and ugly and you just have to muddle through until you get to heaven?” Indeed, studies have shown God prefers hott people 2 to 1. (Note the extra “t” for emphasis. Oh no he didn’t! Oh yes I did!) “Plus.”
9. She dated John Mayer
That doesn’t necessarily make her unique, but remember, Christianity is quietly trying to steal John Mayer. I mean the Jehovah’s Witnesses got Prince and Scientology got Beck, why can’t we have Mayer? And he may or may not have written the Message version of the Bible, so that’s a “plus.”
Well, with five pluses, it looks like we’ll be accepting Jessica Simpson back into the WWJD-bedazzled arms of Christian music. I personally think she should do a remake of “Our God is an Awesome God” and play it live at the bench press contest I am trying to put together with Joel Osteen. Just a suggestion.