Not Being Fair
The truth is I'm not really being fair.
The analysis and judgement of the creation of something is usually based on criteria that suit it and its intent. If I want to build a chair, and instead the end result is a table, it's fair to say I failed. However, if I indeed build a chair, you cannot tell me that I have failed because I haven't succeeded in producing a table. Your criteria for my success is off. And you just sound prideful.
The intent when people sit down (or stand up, or suit up, or tune up) to create what we call art is a bit hard to nail down and impossible to completely generalize, but I think it's fair to say that the intention is to create art. If someone wants to write a song, I think (I think) it's because they just want to write a song. Something internal is naturally becoming external. To me, the inherently incredible process of creativity needs much less practical explanation than something like building a chair; You need chairs to sit down at the table with your family and eat a meal in our modern world, or you need to sell those chairs to feed your family (and to clarify, both of those are good). Writing a song may not feed you (unless you by profession are a songwriter, in which case my hat is off to you-that's hard). It may not benefit anyone, really. The process of creativity doesn't require ongoing or any return to validate it. I think it just generally has value.
I've been unfair with worship music for this reason. If form follows function in every endeavor, and the purpose of writing the songs we sing in churches nationwide is to make incredibly creative, cutting edge, indie, unique, innovative music, then perhaps I'm justified in the bitterly caustic (and potentially offensive and divisive) phrase: "Worship music sucks." But I might as well tell the blacksmith he failed the carpentry test by creating a beautiful sword. If you're sitting down with the intention of writing or recording a corporate worship song, it isn't about your sole self-expression; you're expressly creating for others, in fact. There is more happening there than simply the internal music becoming external. And maybe that's alright.
Maybe the reason the vocals sound very tuned is because laymen can hear and sing the melody more clearly that way. Maybe the arrangements are predictable because the unexpected is often too distracting for the untrained. Maybe the music isn't all that unique or creative (it's alright to non-malevolently admit it) because the inherent purpose is not to be unique or creative. I need to adjust the criteria by which I determine the value. If the music we call worship music is music that in some way is worship of worshipful or used for worship, how can I call that hyopcritical at all?
When it comes to something I invest my heart into, like music, it's easy to be unfair.