One of the Mysteries of Songwriting

It’s perfectly logical that not all songs will be amazing songs, or even competent songs. Of course 90% of everything is not entirely successful. But most bad songs are bad in a clear and sincere way. You can see why they failed, and it’s perfectly natural to miss the mark by just a tad, in those normal ways.

However… one of the true mysteries of songwriting is this:

There is apparently an endless supply of songs which are bad in a cutesy-wootsy way, and yet which also make the skin crawl, and which are also factually or theologically wrong. This isn’t an easy thing to do, and yet many songwriters manage it with great regularity. Editors of certain hymnals manage to unearth these coprolites with equally impressive consistency. And they usually stick the stickiest ones in the Christmas section, where unwary music directors can unleash them upon the world.

But how? How does this strange happening, this bizarre melding of form and function, manage to occur over and over again, through so many different songs in so many different hymnal editions?


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