Book Review: Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music

posted in: August 2009, Book Review | 0

Whether or not you like this book may depend on what you think of the title. You see, this is the most deceptively titled book in recent memory, mainly because it contains a lot of opinion and criticism. I read somewhere that this book was supposed to be called something else akin to “Mark Allen Powell’s Guide to CCM.” That would be a much better title for this book. Any album that Powell doesn’t like gets trashed. But he doesn’t stop with music – any theological stance of any artist that Powell disagrees with gets shredded, too. At some point, you will read an article in that trashes your favorite album or espouses a belief that you disagree with.

But I would say to look past all that, because there is a wealth of information here. Obscure indie artists are included in here next to big time CCM faces like Amy Grant. Powell also praises Starflyer 59 more highly than Petra, so bonus points in my book. In fact, large sections of this book cover bands that were never considered CCM. There are some obviously glaring omissions, but still a brave move to cover so many obscure artists.

Also of note is the fact that Powell doesn’t sugar coat any controversy. Conflicts, divorces, and controversies are all covered here – where as they might have been covered up by other authors. Overall, a great reference for fans of the weird world of CCM.

[2002 Hendrickson Publishers]

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