How Losing Religion Saved Underoath • Page 2

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Mar 27, 2018.

  1. Lucas27

    Trusted Supporter

    Also, it’s so weird to me how Underoath’s F-bomb is at all controversial. Kings Kaleidoscope, one of the most well-revered worship bands out there right now, used it twice on their last album and it made a few waves but they didn’t lose fans or positive press and they’re still as acclaimed as ever in Christian circles. Underoath has always seemed more like a vaguely Christian band to me, and not even that with Disambiguation.

    Also, like, it’s metal man.
  2. AshlandATeam Mar 27, 2018
    (Last edited: Mar 28, 2018)


    Correct. Per the lead singer syndrome podcast he was on a few months back, he's shed the culture war beliefs of Christianity, and some of the beliefs unique to American evangelicalism (like biblical inerrancy and literalism). But he's still firmly a follower of Jesus, and fits perfectly within historically orthodox Christianity, both here (in the older traditions) and worldwide.

    Which, on a totally personal note, I've gotta say - as a Christian whose faith includes everything in the above paragraph, was just swell to hear. So much easier to connect with that than the dude who was once working for Mark Driscoll.
  3. withchappedlips


    Love the band, really dislike how every piece of news coming out related to the album revolves around the backlash of dropping the Christian title. Let the music talk.
    fenway89 and justin. like this.
  4. raaaaaaaady


    So I guess it's safe to say we won't be getting any more terrible worship music albums from Aaron?
    Woohoo! likes this.
  5. justin.


    Maybe because Aaron is still a Christian
    fenway89 likes this.
  6. AshlandATeam


    I don't know anything about you or your listening habits, so forgive me if this sounds patronizing or is telling you something you already know. But it's impossible to describe what Underoath meant to the Christian music world/scene/industry.

    For people my age who grew up with the Tooth and Nail scene, buying $18 CDs at Christian bookstores in the 90s by bands who were purposely ripping off other bands (they had charts that said things like 'if you like Everclear, listen to Audio Adrenaline; if you like 311, listen to Pax 217; if you like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, listen to The OC Supertones.' Etc.). I remember buying the first Relient K album - the one with that horrible Marilyn Manson song on it - because a poster told me they sounded like Green Day and blink. That's how Christian music was from like 1996-2005. And about the only bands to have any real success outside of a little niche were MxPx (who never sang about or talked about God, for reasons that would be obvious later), and Switchfoot (who got success by putting songs in movies, and were, at the time, something you'd be more likely to hear on VH1 than MTV).

    Enter Underoath.

    They were loud. They actually directly, unashamedly mentioned Jesus (well. Sort of. We know now there was drama with 'Some Seek Forgiveness' being on TCOS, but no one had a clue at the time). And maybe most of all, they were unique. And when they blew up, other bands starting copying THEM. Seriously, for a Christian band - for the whole SCENE - they represented something we'd never had before: validation. Even for people who didn't like heavy music, Underoath was a beacon of hope - everyone rooted for them. I know folks who bought those first two records with Spencer just because they wanted to support Christian music; they might not have even listened. But they were proud that a Christian band had that type of success.

    Of course, all of that explains two things: 1.) Why Spencer - a guy who never bought into everything much anyway - would feel so much pressure to be someone he wasn't, and it would lead him to self-destruct. And 2.) Why 'Underoath isn't Christian' is such a massive, MASSIVE story to do many people now. Maybe not to the folks on this site. But for so many people who grew up in settings that said 'you can only listen to Christian music' (I'm STILL discovering bands and records from 15-20 years ago that are new to me because that's the way I grew up through college), Underoath was more than a band playing music. They represented just so much more than that.
    snaps, RileyWitiw, Alastair and 10 others like this.
  7. dlemert


    Man, this post is pretty spot on in a lot of ways. Pretty much all the music I listened to from like 1998 to 2005 were Christan ripoff bands that sounded like other bands I wasn't allowed to listen to, haha. I even attended a junior high conference that featured an entire session on giving us clean alternatives to secular music (like how we should listen to Kutless instead of Creed, or Flyleaf instead of Evanescence, etc.). I realize all this might sound super strange to a lot of people on here but late 90s-early 00s evangelical subculture was a weird, weird time. And yeah, Underoath (along with a few others) was super instrumental in helping me break out of all that.
    Mrplum5089, Essie, Lucas27 and 4 others like this.
  8. AshlandATeam


    I attended one of those conferences! I remember them specifically telling us not to listen to Gwar, which in hindsight seems strange and unnecessary. It's not like they were on TRL either Eminem and Britney lol.
    thenewmatthewperry likes this.
  9. J.Dick


    I've never been into Underoath but I do remember seeing them at Warped tour standing on stage leading Jesus chants and prayers from the stage. Underoath kind of created this narrative in some ways because they were so militant about the Christianity thing. Just because they changed and doesn't mean their fans have changed.
  10. Lucas27

    Trusted Supporter

    I don’t think I was entirely aware of Underoath’s legacy as a “Christian” band, even though I found out about them through Christian media and whatnot. It was interesting to me that they had built such a legacy on that as opposed to, say, Norma Jean, who no one really noticed when they dropped an F-bomb on Polar Similar. My experiences with UO’s music were that they haven’t sounded more or less “Christian” to me than other bands who weren’t put on such a high pedestal. But I’ve never been a scene kid, so this post is really informative.

    I also must have had a different upbringing. I listened to secular music all the time with my parents. Listening to hardcore/metal was FAR more controversial. So when I got into Underoath, they naturally felt more edgy regardless of the Christian label.

    Edit: Lol. I listened to secular music by myself too. Not just with my parents. That would have been an odd upbringing.
    AshlandATeam and zachmacD like this.
  11. Lucas27

    Trusted Supporter

    That conference sounds bizarre, but on the bright side, I’m all for listening to Flyleaf instead of Evanescence.
  12. zachmacD


    The Pax 217 reference brings me way back haha!

    AshlandATeam likes this.
  13. andrewcloer

    Lurking AP since 2005. Lurking Chorus since 2016.

    It's when Corey saying fucking in 1,000,000 watts it's practically inaudible to what he's actually saying. Live it's very clear. Haha.
    Lucas27 likes this.
  14. Lucas27

    Trusted Supporter

    Very true! But it still got stellar reviews from Christian publications who made note of it. And again, a worship band recently dropped it twice in one song and it was unmistakable. The general attitude towards language has just changed a lot.

    So with Underoath, it's not even about the language itself and more about how the language affects the legacy they built on the Underoath brand? I get that. But still, Spencer ended the Sleepwave album with "I'll just save my f***ing self" and Aaron's been cursing in interviews for a long time so you'd think anyone who's been paying a lick of attention since the hiatus would have seen this coming.

    I don't know why I keep commenting on this. Haha. It's not that important to me, I just find the reaction and press related to all of this fascinating.
  15. disambigujason

    Formerly js977 Supporter

    reading some of these has been pretty eye-opening, so thanks for sharing, everyone. i didn't realize how much a "thing" the christian music scene was in itself; i just took it as a subset of metal/post-hardcore warped tour kids who were particularly religious, and i say that as someone who has followed UO and similar bands very closely. the heavy uo-aren't-christians-anymore narrative had seemed a bit much for me but thats primarily because i knew they haven't identified with that label in years, but i get it, i don't mind it.
  16. KyleK

    Let's get these people moving faster! Supporter

    Still definitely a Christian, but in interviews he's done the past few years it sounds like he's done with the Christian music industry. Obviously he could change his mind, and I wouldn't judge if he does, but sounds as though he's strongly opposed to the way Christian labels do business, and the expectations on artists in that scene.
    AshlandATeam likes this.
  17. J.Dick


    Those expectations are part of the trade off between artists, labels, conventions, and leaders in that scene which seems to have a built in audience ready to consume everything.
  18. AshlandATeam


    It isn't about the language itself - it's about the band using language, and then saying, 'the reason is we aren't a Christian band anymore.' NJ occupied a different space - 'Christians in a band.' They stopped doing the 'we're a ministry band' thing after Josh Scogin left. They're no different than, say, Hayley Williams or Brian Fallon or Dustin Kensrue being Christian people who don't preach/evangelize/work for a Christian label/community that intends on doing that.

    Like someone mentioned - this is a big deal because UO always preached from the stage and flew the flag for Christianity. They were, functionally speaking, in the minds of a whole, WHOLE lot of fans, basically a touring crusaders. They were Billy Graham with a screaming frontman and loud guitars. And as someone else mentioned - UO did this to themselves. At least up to like 2009. That's why they got picked on by Fat Mike when others don't.
    Lucas27 likes this.
  19. AshlandATeam


    For whatever it's worth: I totally understand the backlash. I went to bible college; I used to be conservative. I understand the whole 'as Christians, we listen to Christian music.' Because it WAS me.

    I also think it's real, REAL dumb. And toxic and unhealthy. And nothing I think people should do. But the version of me that existed in 2004 would have reacted to this news by declaring UO dead to me, because they had turned their backs on 'Christian music.' When I grew out of that, I discovered most of what I listened to, I didn't listen to because of the music, but because of the toxic culture. So most of those bands aren't part of my regular listening anymore. Heck, I hadn't listened to UO in a few years before they dropped the new song.

    TL:DR - if you're raised in a the right type of conservative Christian environment - and its a massive one that can have festivals of tens of thousands of fans all over the nation - these things matter. They shouldn't! And I'm glad I'm in a different place in every part of my life now! But I also get where these folks are coming from.
    RileyWitiw and Lucas27 like this.
  20. tenspeed


    I'm excited to hear the album but yeah I won't be clicking on anymore articles with headlines like "ex-christians said fuck"
    zachmacD and AshlandATeam like this.
  21. Alastair

    Rad Plaid Dad

    Not sure which circles you're in, but Kings K definitely got bad press, dropped from a few festivals, and lost a ton of fans because of that album. It's controversial, yes, but it also marginalized their fanbase, the Mars Hill culture, which they came up in. Additionally, they released a clean version alongside the explicit, which is an acknowledgement that they could have done without the word. Therein lies the issue: If your art is so important that you need to use the word, and there's no way this song can be sung without that word, releasing a clean version flies directly in the face of that.

    Anyway, I hope Underoath releases good songs, swearing or not, and not wannabe Sleepwave songs with the album. Rapture was so meh.