Movie Review: WHY SHOULD THE DEVIL HAVE ALL THE GOOD MUSICBlank Stare Films
NR
2004

Filmed mostly at the Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, IL, this documentary takes an unbiased and relatively neutral look at the Christian rock phenomenon, culling thoughts and opinions on the subject from band members, fans, and industry types on both sides, and features performance clips by various bands playing at the festival…

I’ve been a collector of, and consequent self-proclaimed pseudo-journalist of, Christian rock and metal in all its forms since 1992. For nearly 15 years, I’ve probably come across a plethora of arguments for and against this genre, as well as varying degrees of thought concerning this nigh-controversial subject- some profound, some not-so profound, and some just downright silly.

While the recent bout of documentaries are little more than thinly-veiled propaganda pieces slanted to the biased viewpoint of the filmmaker, Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music? is relatively neutral in scope. On this documentary, the filmmakers went into Cornerstone to get a fairly good inside view on the subject of Christian music. The viewpoints of the artists and festival goers are rather diverse concerning Christianity and the music, ranging from the Nothing But Worshipful Lyrics stance, to the We’re Christians In A Band philosophy, and all points in-between. From the Preach From The Stage ideology to the Let The Music And Art Do The Talking sides…all valid and interesting insights are given.

As a balance, the film also captures the opinions from nonchristians in the music industry- magazine publishers, bands (mostly from Pansy Division, interesting bunch they are), and music producers- expounding on their take on Christian music. Though critical, for the most part it’s refreshingly non-hostile, and quite insightful as to why Christian music isn’t as readily embraced in the mainstream, a point which is also covered by the Christian artists.

What I liked about this documentary is the fact that there was no preconceived agenda involved. There’s no narration (unless you’re watching the director’s commentary), it just plops down the camera and let the interviewees talk. If there was an underlying agenda, I didn’t see one. Then again, I’ve been accused of being blind to the obvious New Age and Satanic conspiracies surrounding the various Bible translations, so I could just be slow on the take. But I doubt it…

On the downside, for me anyway, I came off having heard all these thoughts before. They didn’t provide any new insight on Christian music that I haven’t come across earlier in my involvement. Had this been viewed my first couple of years immersed in the Christian music culture, when my own concepts were still naive and narrow, Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music? would have been a shock to my sensibilities. But I’m old now, and everything on this film is old hat, which doesn’t bode well for re-watch value. But, it is a good insight on the subject, and if you’re pretty open minded to other’s viewpoints, both Christian and otherwise, and can look past the two vulgarities uttered at a couple of places (in other words, not a good choice for youth group night), then Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music? should make for a doable one night rental.

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