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Idol Chatter

Top 10 Christian Songs I Hate to Love

carmenchristiansinger.jpgMy friends and I have been having fun lately emailing a list back and forth of what are the best of the worst Christian songs we grew up listening to. You know, those songs that are enjoyable, with lyrics you can’t get out of your head, but at the same time you’d be slightly embarrassed if anyone came across them on your iPod.
So I condensed our lists and decided to share the final version of our list of songs we hate to love. It’s not meant to be a mean-spirited list, just a fun way to look back at how much Christian music has–thankfully–changed.
Don’t be afraid to add your best of the worst in the comments box below!
“Cartoon Song” by Chris Rice: It’s fun, it’s catchy and a concert favorite. But let’s face it, Fred Flintstone singing hallelujah as “yabba dabba do ya” is about as theologically light as a wet crepe paper.
“Big House” by Audio Adrenaline: It’s a song that has been sung by teenagers in youth groups all across America– over and over and over again–usually in a crowded, broken-down bus on a mission trip where the chaperones have no means of escape. I am speaking from experience, folks.


“Shine” by Newsboys: Another snappy, happy, clappy tune that is hard to get out of your head but with such lyrical images as making a “vegetarian barbecue a hamster,” it’s a wonder the song didn’t start a PETA protest.
“American Fast Food” by Randy Stonehill: Way before Morgan Spurlock came up with the idea for “Supersize Me,” Stonehill warned us all against the evils of milkshakes and french fries.
“Live Out Loud” by Steven Curtis Chapman: I am sure it seems horribly inappropriate and insensitive that I would put Chapman on the list, but come on, the song mentions Regis Philbin.
“Word to the Father” by dc Talk: Let’s face it, the entire “Free at Last” recording was pretty cheesy, but this song was one of the worst offenders. The Christian boy band did a pseudo-rap that included chicken noises. Even K-Fed can’t say that. Still, it’s a great song to work out to.
“Who’s in the House?” by Carman: I know, how can you decide which Carman song to put on a list like this, right? But I picked this song because it has also been a youth group staple and I confess I once taught a dance to this song.
“Home Run” by Geoff Moore: After the song begins and announces that Geoff Moore and the Distance are getting ready for a day of baseball against the “big guy, the Prince of Darkness,” the following sports metaphors are used: “Well, it’s the wind-up, here comes that ball/You gotta pray and swing/ watch it till, it’s goin, goin, it’s gone!”
“Fat Baby” by Amy Grant: Anyone remember when she made the bad choice to sing this song on “The Tonight Show”? You can only imagine what Jay Leno was thinking when Amy sang about how “His spiritual tummy, it can’t take too much. One day a week, he gets a spiritual lunch.”
“Friends” by Michael W Smith: I personally would have gone for the Smitty classic “Rocketown” for cheese factor, but “Friends” has been sung at graduations for years now so my friends say it get’s the nod as one of the all-time best of the worst.

  • Sabrina

    I liked that Amy Grant song, but it definitely has that “insider” tone to it…not a good choice for spreading the Good News, that’s for sure.

  • reddopto

    It goes way back to 1977, but Gary Paxton, who had big pop hits like Alley Oop,Along Comes Mary, and Hurray For Hazel, came out with a lulu of a dud called, “Will There Be Hippies In Heaven?”

  • Scott

    I’m a Christian but must live on another planet. I’ve heard of exactly one of these songs.

  • natasha

    Great list, You should have put some of the old veggie tales tunes on here though…. like where is my hairbrush?….. I’m only 20 and I’ve sung 7 out of these 10. I’ve lived the youth group life to its fullest. lol

  • Donna M. Bruce

    I personally love the song “FRIENDS” it was sang when my daughter went off to live with her dad, also was sang @ my grandmother’s funeral. This song to me is one of the greastest gospel songs I’ve ever heard next to the song “Where was GOD?”

  • TimothyPaulJones

    Good call on nearly all of these—except for the fact that Michael W. Smith’s early album’s and the entirety of Carmen’s recorded songs belong here too, though there’s only so much you can do with ten songs. Two unmentioned groups that produced a lot of good music but several howlers too: Stryper and Petra.

  • Josh B Jacobs

    I can’t believe that “Baby Baby” by Amy Grant wasn’t mentioned, now that’s cheese.
    Another rotten song is “God Is Love” by Cindy Morgan. She mentions “blowing bubbles with your mouth”. She can’t even pronounce the word LOVE in the song, she instead says, “Our God is la la la la la la la la.”
    Finally, “I Smile” by Russ Lee is one of those songs I cringe at hearing. His whiny voice coupled with a bad song whose chorus doesn’t put a smile on your face.

  • Warren

    Friends and Fat Baby were favorites of mine. I guess they really are cheesy when you think about it. I think “Friends” just got way too much play…overdone and worn out. “Fat Baby” was a novelty song to begin with. I don’t know any of the other songs, but then, I’m 50 and got out of the CCM scene for years. I may have heard the Randy Stonehill song, I’m not sure. He did one called “Shut de doe” that was cute/silly. There is also the great Keith Green song “So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt” which I always loved… listening to it now, it really sounds corny.

  • Marirose

    Some of the songs are cheese. Some of the songs I still like to hear and sing today. The Bishop made the decision to close some of the churches in our Diocese and the church I attended was one of the chruches closed. It closed August 10th, 2008, after 68 years. I was one of 8 people who sang in the choir and my sister was the lead soloist and my brother-in-law was the music director, they sang the song “Friends” as a gift to our fellowship, everyone tried not to cry, but the tears just flowed as the two of them sang and they kept their eyes closed to get through the song. “Well its time to let you go in the Fathers hands we know that a life times not to long to live as friends”. Our choir was small but mighty and all our voices blended well together. We sang a lot of Christian songs that were not sung in most Catholic Churches and that is unusual for a Catholic church. Then again we were not a typical Catholic Church. The song “Friends” will always be special to me. Another song I like is by Point of Grace called “How You Live”. “Its not who you knew, its not what you did, its how you live”. Even if the songs are cheese they still make me smile, laugh and fill me with hope and a stronger faith.

  • jackie

    to me FRIENDS by Michael W Smith is a true song friends are friends forever if the lord the lord of them if the lord is in your life you will have good friends that will help you when you are down and out i know when i go to church and had a bad week and the devil comes at you like he always dose i can go to church see my FRIENDS and there smileing faces does my heart good i praise GOD every day for them may GOD bless you much love jackie

  • Chip Cornwall

    Am I showing my age or does anyone remember Keith Green’s “So you wanna go back to Egypt”? If I had a dime for everytime I uttered “Manna again!?” to what was being served in the cafeteria, I could have paid off all my old student loans tenfold.

  • Elana Keesey

    c’mon! shine is a great song!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cherie B.

    Hey ! I’m 40yrs old and I still like christian Rap and Gospel I enjoy listening to Carmen songs for years. I like hearing the testomonies lyrics in the Rap songs because their real stuff!! Keep on, Keep on for JESUS… Bless u
    Cherie B.

  • john

    hehe, i love CCM and Christian rock, but i have to admit, there’s often enough cheese to give one a heartattack.

  • Anonymous

    At one time I would have take issue with this lyrical testimony to
    relate & fulfill generational is a God thing to me..He chooses to be in touch with all generations,all needs, all answers to
    ???s whatever religious environment generational variety & diversity
    pose to seek their individual, even at times peer pressured doubts
    of an answer !!! pass the faith on..ask for open ears to hear..for
    avenues,roadways,places of worship that don’t threaten..for respect!!
    regardless of color,creed,decor,satanic challenges,disrespect of God
    that eye to on one seeking Gods support..any angels want to
    volunteer, or committed Christians ?? God answer the door..

  • regina

    Dont be so mean. Christian music can help us in our ups and down. if your ashame of what your doing means you dont love yourself and you dont belive in God.
    God Bless

  • lori

    I enjoy all Christian music.Some of the oldies and even more of the newbies. I think as long as we are getting God’s word out,and it is making people want to come to a true knowledge of Who He is and that Satan is not in control, We are doing the right thing.
    No weapon formed against us will prosper. Keep on Believing. He keeps on Working.
    Love ya Carmen, You are a Great man of God.
    Keep on keeping on.

  • Rod Robison

    On behalf of Amy, who couldn’t be here tonight, I accept this award. I want to thank my parents, God, overweight children everywhere, and the Apostle Paul whose words in his letter to the Hebrews inspired the lyrics.
    One note of correction. Amy sang the song during the Johnny Carson era of the Tonight Show. I too was stunned by her choice of material that night given the song’s inside-humor-evangelical-wink-wink lyrics. But six months later when the royalty check arrived for that quarter I forgave her.
    Rod Robison
    “Fat Baby” lyricist

  • Tiffany

    This is great. I am a big fan of Christian music, but I can definitely relate to those songs that you really hope won’t pop up on the “shuffle” feature of your iPod when friends are over. I think that certain Rebecca St. James songs are also worthy of this list.
    Christian music has been a great inspiration to me! I even love some of those songs on the list, but sometimes they just elicit a little sigh and an eyeroll before changing the song.
    Thanks for the humor!

  • ed

    Rod, a brilliant pianist at a relative’s church banged out “Fat Baby” (coincidentally) on request after the service last Sunday. Sorry, no royalty check this time.
    Can’t totally agree with the posted list but music definitely has a season and I personally can’t stand listening to the old stuff. For the most part CCM has always been a substandard ripoff (stylistically) of whatever’s popular in the secular market at the time.

  • Amy

    We still sing “Big House” at the camp I work at…
    “Breakfast” by Newsboys I don’t even know why I like it…
    It’s a rather new song, and I hate to admit that I actually like it… because it is for children… but..
    “Rainbows” by Hillsong.. for kids…

  • Diana

    I hate to disagree on one of them but “Friends” by Michael W. Smith will be an eternal favorite for me. It not only reminds me of our high school graduation but of a dear classmate that passed away that same year while on a field trip to Cancun. We sang this at his funeral.

  • Rachel

    How about “Noah” by David and the Giants? or Petra’s “Beyond Belief” or is that too old school???

  • Jeremy

    To add my own:
    Steve Taylor’s Meltdown and It’s the 80’s by Daniel Amos

  • Mary Shoemaker

    How about the beautiful “play on words” songs from Point of Grace:
    Saving Grace:
    A song about saving a little girl named Grace.
    “Its all about saving grace
    All about living love
    Being jesus to those he came to save
    Sharing life and giving our own away
    Its all about serving god
    All about saving grace”
    And “The Great Divide”:
    “There’s a bridge to cross the great divide…
    There’s a cross to bridge the great divide…”

  • Anne-Marie

    I remember when listening to “Christian” music that wasn’t hymns played on the church organ and piano consisted of Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, DeGarmo & Key, and Sandy Patti. They must have done a lot of talking in between songs back then because there wasn’t much in the rotation.
    Petra (Greg X. Volts era), Steve Taylor (Tuesday was Christian skate night at the skating rink in Crown Point, IN and we skated to everything this man ever sang), and a few others only came to me via Columbia House.
    In my early 20’s I was introduced to the Newsboys, DC Talk, Audio Adrenaline and if you thought Stryper was cheese try Tourniquet (lots of potential to measure up to Metallica, but somehow the screeching was always out of tune, but it came in handy a few years ago when I had some rude neighbors with loud music. I proved that I could play something louder and more annoying.)
    These days there are so many “Christian” music artists and bands that I can’t keep track. But I’m okay with that. I enjoy being able to sing along with deeply spiritual songs some days and others I just want to head bang to non-offensive lyrics. Me likes the variety.
    Cheesy lyrics are not reserved for Christian music though. Most secular music is completely lacking in this area too.
    If you seek true lyrical talent, you must look to Weird Al.
    For the record, the Cartoon Song is my least favorite and my choice for most annoying song. It was cute the first time I heard, but once was enough.

  • D-chi

    Oh, I have to disagree with “Big, Big House” and “Cartoon Song.” I love those to death.

  • Jake

    Breakfast by Newsboys
    “When the toast is burned,
    And all the milk has turned
    And cap’n crunch is wavin’ farewell.
    When the big one finds you
    May this song remind you
    That they don’t serve breakfast, in hell”

  • laserchild

    Might want to consider Mark Farner of GFR covering his own song “Some Kind of Wonderful” and changing the lyrics to give it a more religious feel making the song even cheesier than the original. Even with that being said it’s a catchy song and I would only recommend it from the anonymity of the internet.

  • Susie G.

    bhaha. this is hilarious… mos def… Who’s in the house by carmen gets major nod for cheese factor!! I remember going to a kids camp [not youth] as a worker and the speaker pulled out this song and did a stupid [like flailing crazy man] dance to it I was embarrased…it was that bad!!
    Ok now I LOVE breakfast by newsboys… its a classic…I despise the cartoon song! I just cringe everytime I hear it! AND you have to admit DC Talk got better with age…I still listen to supernatural cd…

  • Janice

    Every song written for the honor of God has a place and a purpose. I would rather enjoy the variety and see the good in them. Different types of music touches the hearts of different types of people in different generations and different walks of life. There is no good in complaining about them.

  • Danny

    big house nearly drove my wife and I crazy, but we love it because our daughter sang it all the time. Sher died when she was 14

  • Trev

    So, you complain about a song because it mentions “Regis Philbin”, you criticize a Newsboys song because of one line, even though the rest of the song is encouraging Christians to live a life that makes you “Shine, make ’em wonder what you got, make ’em wish that they were not, on the outside looking bored.” And you cavetch about the “Cartoon Song” even though its a KID’S SONG. I’m sorry, but your pathetic. You’re simply using this as a chance to bash bands and songs you personally don’t like. Lame.

  • Top10sNet_com

    Hi, I found this post while looking through stumble upon because I just did one last night on the same thing. Although my Christian songs vary in the top 10 list I wanted to ask that you take a look and give me your honest feedback. All of the top 10 songs come with videos.
    I have added a link and I don’t want you to think I am just spamming you. If you look at the post I made you will see that I am just a man trying to spread the love of God whenever I get the chance.
    Thanks for your time and for a very good blog entry,
    God Bless

  • amy tiller

    Where in the heck does this song Ugly Woman fit into the scheme of things?

  • Tamtam

    I think this post is funny… I don’t this the writer was trying to be rude, or mock the songs… come on lets face it there was a time in history where some songs Christian or not were cheesy… Plus the writer is not saying he doesn’t like them… he is saying he loves these songs, but this is why they are cheesy… i am sure there are many other songs in the next couple of years that our children will think are cheesy… Plus i don’t think God minds… God has a sense of humor too 😀
    Blessings ya’ll
    Merry Christmas!

  • Chrizzle

    First of all the title of this is songs we “hate to love” so the writer isn’t bashing the songs, but I will. Thank God we have come further in Christian music. Those songs never would have made it in the secular world, as it has standards. Granted they are standards that have given us “I kissed a girl and I like it” and “You had a boyfriend
    Who looks like a girlfriend”. Overall as Christians we would have listened to anything to get away from hearing Gaither songs and old gospel music sung on the radio. Now, before I get a ton of “christian” haters, I listened and grew up on the music above, I could even add a list of about 500 more to this. There was some awesome PFR and Carmen “RIOT” stuff. Overall I am glad we can sit back and think about how much pointless “fluff” there was then. Again I state, thank God we have come so far!!!

  • clare

    Ha! Fun list Therese. I can’t stand Shine either, exactly as you described. Well, to each their own!
    One song that gets the inspiration/emotions going every time though is In Christ Alone-Travis Cottrell. Love that one.

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