On Bias in Southern Gospel
Some bloggers think that being “unbiased” means “to be critical of everyone and judge them by secular music standards.”
But I think that’s a sort of bias in and of itself. It is based off the assumption that Southern Gospel ought to sound like another genre of music–in arrangements, production quality, and perhaps even vocal stylings.
So when I’m reviewing a project, here’s what I do: I try to listen to any project I review – from Eighth Day to the Inspirations – with an open mind, and try to determine how well they achieved what they tried to achieve.
Sure, the Inspirations aren’t always perfectly on key, but in the mind of their fan base, some things are more important than singing perfectly on key. So I try to approach their music from the perspective of their fans and find what I can like about it. Doing that, I find much to like.
I know musical standards are important, and some of them will impact how much I personally like a CD. But if it happens to be something that I know is irrelevant to that part of my reading audience who might be considering the project and could be influenced by my review, maybe it becomes less important.
Some would say that looking down your nose at less professional varieties of the genre is being unbiased. But could the truly unbiased be those willing to look at recordings from a wide variety of Southern Gospel–progressives to traditionalists–on their own merits?