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Body Piercing Saved My Life

A couple weeks ago, I finished Body Piercing Saved My Life by Andrew Beaujon (named after the “clever” shirt.) (Amazon, , one review, two mp3blog like posts by the author about Christian music)

It’s a look at Christian Rock, capital C, capital R, by an outsider. Beaujon is a writer for Spin so he comes from the mainstream rock criticism side of things. I’ve never been really involved in the scene he talks about although I stood at the edge of it a couple years, so I’m a bit of an outsider to it as well. (Which reminds me of a post about an article of the same topic and perspective…)

He spends chapters looking at aspects and events in the Christian music world. He looks at particular bands and people as well as other cultural forces like Mars Hill Church and Tooth and Nail Records. There are various people that come off earnestly and then there are some more slimey people. I’d heard some negative things about T&N (that they don’t give their bands a fair shake) and they were sort of confirmed in this book.

Perhaps my favorite section is the chapter about David Bazan (at the time of the interviews, still in Pedro the Lion). Where a lot of interviewees seem to sidestep questions that might result in controversial answers, Bazan seems to take any and all questions head on without flinching. Sufjan denied the interview request, apparently, so there’s only a brief section on him, which was a bit disappointing.

Overall, it’s an interesting, informative and well-written book about a large cultural phenomenon (Christian records easily outsell jazz records currently). I’d recommend it if you are curious about the scene or genre.

I’ve since moved on to the Dave Eggers editted The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2004.

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