Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Ultimate Worship Music [BMG Strategic Marketing Group, 2004]
All I know about worship music is that it's the hottest Christian subgenre--otherwise content-free "vertical" songs of praise to the Almighty in many modern (i.e., dated, white) pop and rock styles. So this came in the mail, and with Christians on the warpath I played it, and it sounded like goop to me, but it would, wouldn't it? The $12.98 or so price for a triple-CD that would fit on two discs canceled out the all-too-redolent label name. Still, I wondered why the credits listed only composers. An Amazon post from Stephen Putt of Warren "Vacate Our Election Board, Journalistic Terrorists" Ohio put me straight: "I bought this cd at walmart. there was no indication on the cd that the songs were not sung by the original bands. I tried to return this cd at walmart and they wouldn't take it back. basically if you want a collection of worship music done by the original bands and singers. Dont buy this cd." How "naive," shot back a co-religionist who'd attended a camp run by compiler Joel Engle: "Believe it or not, the vast majority of these songs do not 'belong' to any one band, but have been written by songwriters and can be sung by anyone who gets permission." Or doesn't get permission, actually. Strategic marketers have long known that sacred truth. Just like Christian retailers know what's nine-tenths of God's law. E