Back in the day, the Strypers and DC Talks of the world gave listeners a very clear stylistic distinction between their slightly time-delayed imitation of musical trends and the radio-friendly secular music of the moment. But now, Christian pop is catching up to the sounds of current playlists, and the possibility of humming a religious rock song and being confronted by a secularly progressive agnostic friend is higher than ever. (I had a recent conversation with a youth group leader from Michigan who listed Natasha Bedingfield as a Christian artist he enjoyed. Since when? Is it because she’s foreign? Don’t they already have that Sixpence None The Richer band?) As a public service, we examine the imagery and lyrical content of a pop song that toes the delicate line between sanctified pop hit and secular smash.
First up is the single from Natalie Imbruglia’s greatest hits collection, Glorious. Obviously, we’re off to a shaky start with a title like that, but we’ll do our best to muddle through. If the scoring system seems somewhat familiar, I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Imbruglia is from Australia, which has brought us Radio Birdman and INXS, but is also responsible for less angry Christian Alanis Morissette clone Rebecca St. James, and most of the members of ’90s CCM favorite the Newsboys: +10
The song is called “Glorious,” and–let’s be serious here–you can’t overlook that sort of thing: +25
The music is mostly bright acoustic guitar and tambourine, with a turned-up, yet friendly electric guitar sound on the chorus: +60
The first shot in the supposedly Y Tu Mamá También-themed video shows a cross on a hill: +75
The fact that the video is supposed to remind the viewer of Y Tu Mamá También, a movie most Christians would have turned off by the halfway point: -50
The first verse makes absolutely no sense, in order to trick you into listening into the more message-based chorus: +5
“So this is what it feels like/this is how it feels/I’m finally smiling on the inside”; there’s no way that line’s about the guy from Silverchair: +100
“I’ve got nothing to hide/we’ve got nothing to lose”; you could drop those words straight into a junior high praise song, and no one would flinch: +80
“Drinking wine back at my house/I remember someone said your name”; it would be better if the wine wasn’t mentioned at all, but that the reference to alcohol is followed by a line that could be interpreted to be about Jesus helps: -25
Spanish-language sign advertising “Cervezas Frias”; you’re losing us here, Natalie: -50
Overall score: 290.
Analysis: It would be easier to ignore the video altogether, and the mention of wine loses the Southern Baptist audience, so it’s safe to say that Natalie Imbruglia won’t find her comeback single on the playlist at K-LOVE anytime soon. In other words, it’s still safe to enjoy this song on the stereo when you’re getting drunk on Sunday morning, heathens.
Natalie Imbruglia – “Glorious” [YouTube]