Apparently missing from "The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge", and from the pop culture background of the paper's music critics, editors and copy editors, is any perspective about the pervasiveness of Christian artists in the annals of popular music. I offer as my test sample this review of Danny Gokey's new album, "My Best Days." Generally, of course, the review by Joe Caramanica is well written and leaves me with an adequate sense of the quality of this album.
Caramanica finds Gokey, another former worship leader who attained national mainstream fame on "American Idol," in an awkward position -- and struggling to make it work. This line is wonderfully descriptive:
"My Best Days," his debut album, is for better and for worse Christian pop squeezed into Wranglers.
But there is one section of this capsule review, right near the top, that should hang up not just Christian music connoisseurs but really anyone who has even casually followed pop culture comings and goings during the past two decades:
There are no shortage of Christian pop and rock stars, but none have crossed over to the mainstream since Amy Grant in 1991.
Really? Only Amy Grant? No one else has broken through since "Baby Baby?"
A few other names come to mind. Switchfoot. MxPx. P.O.D. Lifehouse. Jars of Clay. MercyMe.
But those are artists who not only "crossed over" but had major mainstream success. If we just want to talk about "crossover" Christian artists, the list -- what? -- doubles or triples. I'm not even sure, but Caramanica's comment falls really flat.
PHOTO: You can be a Christian rockstar too