Delirious: Topping the charts at number 4
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?