As a first year law student, much of my day is spent reading my casebooks with my headphones on. In that spirit, one of my best friends Charlotte and I share and talk about the new bands and tunes we come across each week. A couple of weeks ago, we finally got around to seeing one of our favorite bands Kye Kye play live in Birmingham with Gungor.
If you have not heard of Kye Kye, they are an electronic band fronted by lead-singer Olga Yagolnikov. Seriously, with a name like that, how is it not going to be worth listening to?
Their first album Young Love came out in 2011, and in 2012, they released a Young Love remixes album. The sophomore album is called Fanatasize and was just released on the 21st. All three albums are taking Christian music to a place that feels more authentic and more realistic than other Christian albums from artists that have struggled with the challenge to reconcile the catchiness and emptiness of pop music that so effectively captivates its listeners.
Think about it: pop music, by its very nature, is all about flash. None of us can fully stand behind the lyrics of that new Justin Timberlake album, but then again, “TKO” is so smooth that I do not really care what it is talking about anyway. So, it follows meaningful, powerful lyrics about Christ that are not fully at home in a pop song.
I think listeners intuitively feel this whenever there is a disconnect between the message of a song and the actual chords and rhythms of it. I call it “the K-LOVE effect.” I like to listen to the Christian station to be encouraged with truth, but I do not listen to it in order to see what amazing music God’s people have come up with.
This is changing, though. Groups like Kye Kye and Gungor are a part of an evolving Christian music scene that is taking a fresh look on what it means to a Christian artist. And it is not about mustaches, skinny jeans, and banjos; it is about being diligent and passionate about the art.
I think that diligence and passion is what catches listeners’ attention. Some of the most useful advice I have gotten is the truth that people do not care what you do; they care why you do it. In other words, the product is only as compelling as its source. If glorifying Christ is the source, then Christians have the opportunity to create some intensely striking, engaging music.
That is not to say, however, that each and every song that Christian musicians write have to be a belief statement. Neither Gungor’s album nor Kye Kye’s albums are worship albums, and due to that, I find them to be more accessible and more fun to put on and jam to during study sessions. So, if you are feeling electronic rock with Olga’s haunting vocals, go Kye Kye. If you cannot decide what genre you want, no problem. As Michael Gungor will tell you, their album I Am Mountain covers the range.
In conclusion, I have three points to leave you with: 1) Check out Honest Affection, 2) If Gungor or Kye Kye play near you, do yourself a favor and go, and 3) Do not just take my word for what good music is; do some genre-hopping on Spotify and iTunes and find out for yourself!
– Laura Barton, Contributing Writer