Steve Taylor and the Perfect Foil
I thought my already weak hipness coefficient was slipping: how could I miss a guy with a page full of Billboard, Emmy, Grammy, Addy and Dove awards? “Dove” awards? That should be my clue; this excellent singer is spending his career in the rather obscure field of Christian Alternative Rock. You can read his biographical details at the usual internet fact accumulator, but the main point of his career is a strong use of satire to poke fun at other Christians he doesn’t agree with. There’s plenty of that in his snappy collection: “Happy Go Lazy” stabs the overly aggressively proselytizers that talk you into church but don’t make you a better person. His sound is an upbeat new wave bounce; there are no soaring strings or small town mom safe platitudes. “Comedian” starts with a throbbing bass chord, the saints come marching in to his show, laugh, and leave offended and want him dead. This is the essence of his message: most sects believe “do it our way or die, and Jesus was just joking when he preached love your brother.”
I avoid faith based music outside of church or a Christmas program; it tends to be self-righteous and somehow oily. There’s an assumption the singer has had a revelation and you are a bad person for not swallowing whatever story he tells. But Mr. Taylor takes a more subversive approach; he’s somehow like Luther nailing a few innocuous sounding theoretical questions on the door. What begins as a perfectly sincere an intellectual query turns the world around. Perhaps Mr. Taylor can jump start us past the tiresome debates that boil down to “I’m right and your wrong.” But even if he’s not, he’s an entertaining singer with subversive lyrics, a wide ranging style and an engaging presentation.