But most of Burnside's writers have also been deeply impacted by Christian music acts, both mainstream and underground. We're hoping this new feature will shed and unironic light on the songs and bands who've provided everything from prophetic voices to great hooks. Our first entry:
"Entertaining Angels" by Newsboys
Steve Taylor makes films now. He directed "Second Chance" and has been working for a few years now at bringing "Blue Like Jazz" to the big screen. Before all that, though, Steve Taylor was a rock star, and he penned this majestic little pop tune for the Australian Newsboys. "Entertaining Angels" is unmistakably Christian in it's sound and production...like 99% of all Christian bands in the 90's, Newsboys borrowed heavily from U2. But Taylor's melody and chorus deserve that sort of clean recording.
Shortly after this song's release, My friend Steve and I were dragged to a Newsboys show by another buddy. Third Day opened, and we were thoroughly underwhelmed. Newsboys rocked it, though. Somehow, from our way up seats, Steve managed to get the entire crowd clapping in a backbeat. Whether that's a testament to Steve's charisma or an indictment of Christian music fans' sheep-like mentality is up for grabs.
Oops...I said no irony.
Back to the song, though. I thought "Entertaining Angels" was a good way to start out, since it's a song I unabashedly love and can listen to repeatedly ten years later. It's also firmly anchored in the mainstream. We need more songwriters like Steve Taylor.