Being a songwriter myself I feel like I need to try to do something about it. Honestly I feel wrong trying to write 'simple' worship songs. But at the same time I can't just write things that I like because I know my musical tastes are quite eclectic. So here's a collection of my current thought.
I am of the opinion that song lyrics should be poetry. Not in a hard to understand kinda way, but rather in a beautiful and natural way. Certainly there is poetry that is hard to read but the genre on for the most part is more flowing and easy to read than the lyrics we sing. In worship and in popular culture.
I love this lyric from Martin Smith. It's both things, it flows when you read it out loud, but resonates when you hear it.
Come close to me, too close for words
And still my beating heart
I find your thoughts without one glance
We're going all the way
With you I'm washed as white as the snow
And all crimson stain becomes just a shadow
You know I would be blind without you
So light up my way to find my way home
Today, today, today, we're going all the way
Tears sometimes fall upon my face
And join the oil of gladness
How can it be I've found this love
A love that let me fly
I love the line "all crimson stain becomes just a shadow" Give me chills to hear it.
Here's another great example, from Robert Robinson this time.
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
This one has embedded itself into my consciousness. I find myself praying the line "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above."
I have a few theories; (most of which won't be popular and I'm good with that)
1, Most of our 'best' worship songwriters aren't that deep in their spiritual journeys. I don't like this one mostly because it's not up to me to judge or question. There's also not much that can be done about it.
2, Most of our 'best' worship songwriters aren't very good song-crafters. This is an important distinction to make.
In the 'secular' music business, you only hear about the 5 minute song once in a while. I.E. the song that 'wrote itself'.
That's because it's crap. It doesn't happen. Songs should take you longer than that or you should pick a new profession.
Now quite often in the Christian realm we pretend to be humble by giving the Holy Spirit credit for out 'great song'. "Oh the Lord gave it to me"
I'm of the opinion that God didn't give me a song, he gave me the ability to compose.
I have a solution to this one; stop pretending to be humble and really be humble. Accept other peoples praise and criticism. Then buckle down and write better songs. No more of this "It just came to me" crap. Indigestion just comes to you, not a spiritual document that could be sung by millions of people in hundreds of countries in countless tongues. Take your responsibility a little more seriously.
If you were given the gift, don't brush it off like it's not big deal. I know it's hard, but learn to say these 2 words; Thank You.
By the way, Jessica's homemade apple sauce rocks!