Don't Wait for the Movie

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Christian Contemporary rockers White Heart took gimmicky songwriting to its extreme on their 1986 album Don't Wait for the Movie. Most of the songs are founded on some thuddingly obvious lyrical conceit. The too-clever title track, "Read the Book (Don't Wait for the Movie)," sets the tone with its criticism of modern media-obsessed culture: "I asked them if they knew Jesus/'Is He in a theater near you?'/I said, 'no, He's the Messiah'/'Do you think He'll get good reviews?'" Another blatant gimmick is used on "Convertibles," which makes the theologically questionable assertion that "God made convertibles." (No, it's not meant metaphorically.) "King George" takes a similar approach in suggesting that Americans are giving up the religious freedoms earned in the Revolutionary War: "Now we're so free, but tell me what's our freedom for/If we say His name, if our message gets too strong/the radio will never play this song." Of course, White Heart's beef doesn't make a lot of sense. The reason explicitly Christian music is rarely heard on mainstream radio is not because of any restriction of religious freedom, but because a large percentage of the mainstream audience is not devoutly Christian. The founding fathers never promised that freedom of worship would ensure popular acceptance of Christian beliefs. But never mind the specious logic: that song wasn't played on the radio because it wasn't good enough. Stylistically, the album is dominated by a moderate to hard rock sound led by Gordon Kennedy's electric guitars. But the album's catchiest songs are the keyboard ballads "Maybe Today" and "Fly Eagle Fly." Those tunes notwithstanding, it would be no great loss if this record were taken out of print. Don't wait for the reissue.

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