By Clive Marsh and Vaughan S. Roberts
Baker Academic, $22.99, 234 pages
The role of religion in popular music is a subject that is often ignored, overlooked and understudied. That is why I looked forward to reading this book, and then was disappointed when it did not really cover what it should have covered. The growth of pop music, and not just secular pop music, is nothing short of astonishing. It is everywhere, from the shopping malls, Super Bowl, and major motion pictures. But what is even more interesting is the rise of religious pop music, pop music with lyrics that invoke strong religious themes. At times it is hard to tell the difference since they sound so similar. I though this book would examine that role of religion and pop music. But instead they seem to cover how music moves us, and how music can be used as a kind of religious experience. The writing is hit and miss, and heavy in parts, and woefully light in others. It is very uneven throughout, and the first half of the book feels like a long-winded introduction that is not needed, like they did not know how to start this work.
Reviewed by Kevin Winter