Beliefnet
For Christianity that goes down easy, leavinglittle to chewon and requiring nothing from adherents, give a listen to the soundtrack to the CBS miniseries "Jesus": it's music forspiritual marshmallows. Some lyrics depict Jesusas a heavenly tooth fairy, existing only to fulfill human need. Other lyrics make him seem like spiritual Prozac: He takes the edge off of pain, loneliness, emptiness. "Lonely, that's not how we're meant to be," sings 98 degrees in "The Love That You've Been Looking For."

The soundtrack includes an impressive lineup of mainstream andChristian music stars. And the music draws from several genres: pop, rock,country, R&B, gospel and classical. Even so, the songs are formulaic and predictable, rife with gushy choruses and cliched testimonies. Some of the lyrics are so generic that Jesus seems more like an object of romance than a Messiah. For instance, in "Fly to You," Avalon sings: "I long to be by your side, to show you my heart is true."

There are redeeming elements. Christian Nashville's reigning superstar Steven Curtis Chapman rises above the mediocrity with "Nobody Ever (Only You)," a guitar-driven confessional track that refrains from self-indulgence. Likewise, LeAnn Rimes' "I Need You" adds much needed vocal punch to this sedate soundtrack. The sentimental pop tune is lyrically similar to Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me." Michael English also does an admirable job with "Heaven to Earth," despite occasional tendencies to oversing, which revive the old criticisms that English is just a Michael Bolton clone.

The soundtrack is billed as "inspirational," and that may be true as long as it summons up scenes from the miniseries. But once the TV show is a distant memory, the album will be nothing but Christianity Lite. Faith isreduced to sentimentality, and Jesus is the cream filling in your Oreo.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus