Speaking as a Christian–as a Christian who’s going to seminary next year even–Christian rock music is, by and large, terrible. Just… terrible. Neal Morse is one of the few popular artists working today who writes music that is both explicitly Christian as well as, you know, good. Probably because he’s also writing progressive rock, where the music is almost guaranteed to be more interesting than the limp “rock” backing that passes for praise and worship music. But it also helps that Morse doesn’t shove his beliefs down his listener’s throat; he tends to be a little subtler, a little more tasteful than that.
Take the following line from “Shine,” from prog supergroup Transatlantic’s upcoming album Kaleidoscope (due out Jan. 28):
If the light of the world lives in you
Then no matter where you go
You can let the darkness know
There’s a little light left in your soul
“Light of the world” is a clear enough reference that anybody who cared to could easily decipher its religious content. But it’s also universal enough that a non-Christian could hear this and feel empowered. (It doesn’t hurt that I tend to like spiritual metaphors of darkness and light – Psalm 139:11-12 and the prologue to the Gospel of John [1:1-1:5 in particular] are two of my favorite passages in the entire Bible).
Based on what we’ve come to expect from Transatlantic, my suspicion is that “Shine”‘s straightforward structure and instrumentation isn’t representative of Kaleidoscope as a whole. But it’s still more than worth a listen, if only to hear some “Christian rock” that doesn’t turn your stomach for once.
- Transatlantic: Kaleidoscope (Review) (progarchy.com)
- Neal Morse – Christian Progressive Rock (livedtheology.wordpress.com)
- Letter from Neal Morse Regarding the Release of Transatlantic’s Kaleidoscope (progarchy.com)
- Exclusive Interview with Neal Morse by Diego Camargo (www.progshine.net)