I grew up reading Thrasher magazine, watching the movie “Rad” as many times possible and listening to the rap group, “Public Enemy.”
Why Thrasher? Cause I was a skateboarder.
Why Rad? Because the title says it all, it was rad.
Why Public Enemy? Because growing up on the mean streets of suburban Massachusetts really prepared me for hard laced, urban rap. Clearly.
Given my love for the hip hop, I’m lacking the musical background to truly appreciate something I’ve started to notice lately at church though.
The power ballad worship song.
The archenemy of the quiet song in which the worship leader sings with his/her eyes closed, the power ballad is the church equivalent of Guns n’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle.” If you haven’t heard a song like this, allow me to enlighten you on the intricacies of the power ballad worship song:
1. It always travels alone.
A power ballad worship song can’t follow a normal worship song. That would be like in Breakin’ 2, Electric Boogalo, when the breakdancers ripped their tuxedos off at the fancy event and shocked everyone. You simply can’t go from a slow, tithing kind of song right into a hard rocking worship ballad. Usually a church will do regular worship, then a few announcements and then BAM! power ballad worship song.
2. A dark horse singer usually does it.
When you really want to do a power ballad worship song, you can’t have your normal worship leader do it. You need a ringer or a bad cop in this situation. Someone we’ve never seen who jumps up out of nowhere, kills the song and then immediately gets on a motorcycle, never to be seen again. It’s the worship equivalent of Lorenzo Lamas.
3. The lyrics must be applicable to roughly 97 million different sermons.
Movies typically do two kinds of musical montages. In the first one, someone tries on crazy clothes, constantly coming out of the dressing room to shock their friends while Vanessa Carlton or Natasha Beddingfield plays in the background. In the second type of montage, someone trains for a sports showdown that may involve saving a community center from some rich land developer who’s son is named Trey. The song always has lyrics like, “It’s time to stand up. Right now is our moment. We’ve got to pull together!” The lyrics of a power ballad worship song are the same way. It’s the musical equivalent of stock photography. This song can be performed in almost any situation.
4. The song is often accompanied by a video of a rock hitting a puddle of water.
Sometimes, it’s good to give the song a running mate. A Richie Sambora to the song’s Jon Bon Jovi, if you will. And when you decide to throw a little video together to accompany the song, nothing says life change like watching the ripples of water cascade slowly from a rock that has just been thrown into water. That has “impact,” written all over it. Mountain tops work well for this song too.
Am I the only one that has experienced the power ballad worship song? What’s the traditional church approach? Is there a power ballad hymn that is often busted out when you need to preach a really hard hitting father’s day sermon?
Have you ever seen a power ballad worship song?