There is a very piece at The Paragraph Farmer (great name!) about liturgical music.
You have all heard rotten music in churches, music which makes even the Campbell Soup jingle or the theme from Gilligan’s Island sound like Mahler. Then there is the contemporary group who think their Boston.
The Paragraph Farmer gets into "praise bands". Read the whole piece at his place, but here is an excerpt. (my emphases and comments.
In Catholic circles, praise band relocation off the grass and onto the carpet was aided and abetted by liturgists hell-bent on democratizing and de-clericalizing everything about the Mass "in the spirit of Vatican II," and never mind what the actual architects of Vatican II (such as a Polish prelate named Karol Wojtyla who later became Pope John Paul II) had to say. Some of those liturgists worked hand-in-glove with politically correct composers –sons of Salieri, every one of them – like the irksome Marty Haugen.
Now that praise bands are indoors, they have no intention of returning to the garages, basements, parking lots, and auditoriums from which they came.
As a result of the developments I’ve sketched above, and the fact that hymnody has fallen victim to the language wars, we now have a sorry situation indeed. But Anthony Esolen understands this phenomenon better than I do. Go read his comments at the link, and the classically literate followup to those comments. In brief, Esolen says that sentimentality, although valuable in its place, is neverthless destructive of genuine feeling. And there you have the problem put in yet another way: when power ballads intrude on the liturgy of heaven (which is what the Mass is), then what Esolen calls "the necessary hypocrisy of small talk" is wrongly raised to the status of a liturgical act. [This puts it as well as anything I have ever read. Sometimes we use the phrase "banalization". This, however, introduces the concept of hypocrisy. In ancient rhetoric, what was "apt" and "beautiful" (aptum et pulchrum) played a major role in communication. These categories were also employed for theology and, therefore, prayer. There is no room for hypocrisy in prayer. The Roman style of liturgical prayer, in Latin, was not "small talk"however, concise it was. There is not a trace of hypocrisy in any Latin oration I recall ever having read. I cannot say the same for the lame-duck ICEL versions.]
Power ballad and praise band mediocrity is sometimes justified on the grounds that people need to be met "where they are" with lyrics to which they can relate. [Sound like the translation war and the Trautman proposal, "Trautmania".] This attitude is arrogant on two counts, in that praise band directors have abrogated to themselves an outreach task that properly belongs to the Holy Spirit, while also assuming that straightforward hymnody of the kind exemplified in, for example, "We walk by faith – and not by sight – No gracious words we hear – Of Him who spoke as none e’er spoke – Yet we believe Him near" is somehow less intelligible than what you hear in pop music. Mr. Tom Petty, if you please: "All the vampires – Walking through the Valley – Move west down – Ventura Boulevard – And the bad boys – Are standing in the shadows – While the good girls – Are home with broken hearts. "
Show of hands as to how many people outside California know that Petty is singing about the San Fernando Valley? And how about those vampires, hmmm….? (Bueller? Anyone?)
Like C.S. Lewis [and Fr. Z] wrote in a related context, we need meat, not just milk. Lewis wasn’t writing specifically to Catholics at the time, but that he should have to remind Christians whose faith lives are ordered around the eucharist of this fact is testimony to our own failures and the failures of some of our pastors.