Delirious: Topping the charts at number 4

Wednesday, 7th April 2010 at 8:00 UTC 8 comments

Its probably a bit of an old-news subject that a Christian song is number 4 in the charts in the UK, or maybe its non-news, too small a deal for anyone to care. Either way, there’s a certain amount that needs to be said about the campaign, the inspirational aspects and the bits that really really worried me.

First, the negatives; whilst the campaign did admirably well at keeping the game positive, a small amount of digging on the website attached to the facebook group revealed what I rather suspected to be the case. On the surface, the campaign was about echoing what Rage Against The Machine managed, another faux-Rick-Rolling of the charts but with a spiritual twist. “History Maker” does sum up the point of the campaign in many senses. But was this a campaign of Christians bringing their faith to the airwaves, uniting with one voice as it were? Or was it actually about some perceived spiritual battle against Rage having Christmas #1?

It wasn’t either to be fair. Passing comments on the site are made, but mostly only about swearing in a song being promoted during a family festival. One still can’t put to bed the thought that this was partly about taking a confrontational swipe at either Rage (who’s politics are notably in line with radical Christianity), the music industry (fair perhaps, but not healthy engagement by any stretch) or the content of the music being made (some Facebook communications hinted at a dislike of Scouting for Girls more successful offering, and need I mention certain people’s disdain for last week’s number 1,  Lady Gaga).

If this campaign was worth supporting, the fact it was designed to challenge Gaga and SFG was not a good reason to back it. Whether this was the reason some individuals backed it or not is of little concern to myself, its the leadership that matters in a campaign like this. Advice for anyone doing something like this in the future: you won’t convince Radio 1 that your sounds are worth listening to by slagging off their current choices. Also, don’t destroy any chance you have of bringing in new listeners or those on the fringes of the church through negative campaigning.

Now the positives. It was a great campaign, both in conception and execution. The technology was well utilised, and the offline aspects all slotted in nicely. Its true that not enough was done to bring important groupings such as Churches Together on board, which have access to huge numbers of members, but such is life. The whole process ran well, was pretty positive on the face-level, and made a big splash. It showed what it set out to show even if it didn’t put a song at Number 1.

Number 4 is not a poor showing, especially when dealing with a song that is neither the top of hip (does anyone do Christian music based on Lady Gaga?) nor from a current band. The stats are also heavily stacked against. To buy a song online, you need a credit or debit card, so 18 is typically the bottom of the range. To be interested in the charts/facebook/etc, you most likely have to be less than 30 years old. This is the part of the age graph where rates of church attendance drop dramatically. The stats are stacked against the whole endeavour, and to still make it into the top 10 is a huge achievement.

Sadly the only other songs I can come up with that might fit the bill are either more obscure or older, or Tim Hughes. And Tim Hughes is hardly a single-writer, is he? That said, there’s always next year. I don’t want to see an attempt at Christmas number 1 with this campaign, the stakes are so high its likely to fall flat, but Tim’s catalogue could be pressed for something suitable next Easter. One of those “Oo-oo-ooh” songs perhaps?


Entry filed under: Church, Culture, Faith, Music, News, Religion.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Greg  |  Wednesday, 7th April 2010 at 11:35 UTC

    “Rage (who’s [sic] politics are notably in line with radical Christianity” is the video for Bombtrack.

    How is support for Shining Path “notably in line with radical Christianity”? I never had you down as some sort of jihadi, Graham. Does Micah 6:8 now read, “Do justice, love kindness and run around firing an AK47 for your God”? You were posting in support of pacifism not long ago, I seem to recall. That doesn’t fit.

    Plenty of teenagers buy music online using their parents’ cards, I had a solo card from age 16 anyway. As for involving Churches Together, I think it would then look too much like a show of force with less grass roots cred.

    I doubt older people contribute much to the Number 1 chart position for any song.

    • 2. Graham Martin  |  Wednesday, 7th April 2010 at 15:46 UTC

      You are being quite selective with that choice of reference. What about all their pro-worker work, speaking out against anti-Terror legislation in America, backing the Zapatista’s non-violent uprising etc. Does this not count? And besides, Ephesians 6 does point to a pacifist jihad, so don’t start throwing that word around. RATM are not unproblematic, but the “struggle against powers” side of Killing in the Name of does work with Ephesians 6; I always sing it as a kind of denouncement of Satan.

  • 3. steve thack  |  Wednesday, 7th April 2010 at 12:10 UTC

    firstly you suggest slagging off scouting for girls is a bad thing – come off it their fans must be used to it by now! fact christians join in is no big deal. 🙂
    to be honest slagging SFG could actually help the cause -( hey christians might listen to delirious? but at least they can see SFG are shit!)

    few asumptions you make are wrong – under 18s do download music. err paypal accounts, debit cards like electron pretty common in under 18s, itunes gift cards etc are pretty common place. so no reason why the kids shouldnt be onboard. are you telling me xfactor winners hits are mainly bought by over 18’s? downloads of individual songs have taken single sales to an all time high and its the under 18s who are doing most of it.

    to be honest the motives of folks orgnising a campaign means little, facebook campaigns are ten a penny. what is interesting is the reasons why so many folks got behind it.

    not enough was done to get churches together onboard? really ? can you see any reason why they would have got on board? churches together is a pretty broad group and the D? campaign appealed to a small subsection of the charismatics. fact it got to number 4 indicates that a) getting high in the charts really doesn’t mean much anymore and b) that for somereason charismatic youth really did get behind it.

    from what i saw the comparisons with rage atm were more along the lines that rage can do it then so can “we”

    far as your suggestion of doing the same again with tim hughes? please please dont! i’m sure tim is a nice bloke (one of my fb friends used to play bass for him, honestly i’ve nothing against tim) but such a campaign would be totally pointless.

    think we need to look on a deeper level at all this. what motivates charismatic christian youth to get behind such a campaign? and what message does it send to everyone else?

    and why are these same charismatic christians so shit at getting behind the positive creative christian acts who are out there?

    i can understand rock fans getting behind rage as well as anyone else wanting to dramitically stop cowells hit machine producing yet another christmas number one. but why anyone felt the need to get behind this is beyond me.

  • 4. Greg  |  Wednesday, 7th April 2010 at 12:18 UTC

    “from what i saw the comparisons with rage atm were more along the lines that rage can do it then so can “we” ”

    I think that is bang on. It goes wider than the charismatics, though. I’ve seen plenty of people support this on facebook who I wouldn’t call charismatic. Personally, I bought the song because I didn’t have it already.

  • 5. steve thack  |  Wednesday, 7th April 2010 at 12:47 UTC

    Greg – Rage’s politics are OFTEN in line with my politics which i’d like to think were mainly inspired by my christian faith. the solidarity with shinning light that Rage felt in 92 when bomb track came out, i can’t relate to. i can see why the band would take that position.

    think rage would take the position of supporting oppressed peoples in thier struggles regardless of the means of resistance. think rage would have also argued that the worst of the acts atributed to shinning light were probably peruvian govt propaganda. my knowledge of peruvian ploitics doesn’t really go far enough to go into anyfuther depth. but graham was making a general point on RATM’s politics not fully endorsing everything the band have said and done, and certainly not endorsing every group rage have supported in one way or another.

  • 6. steve thack  |  Wednesday, 7th April 2010 at 12:50 UTC

    oops last post got name of peruvian maoists wrong , shining path!

  • 7. Kevin  |  Wednesday, 7th April 2010 at 20:27 UTC


    I like what you’ve written here – you might like to read my reservation, though I still bought it!

    Keep going with the social action, and keep listening to Rage and letting dodgy music be relevant to theology… it all counts.

  • 8. ComradeFury  |  Wednesday, 14th April 2010 at 12:55 UTC

    “Rage (who’s politics are notably in line with radical Christianity)”…

    You’re clearly living on a different planet to the rest of us


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