Groupthink: Send the Songs, My People!

sheetmusic back bOK, kids … everybody know what time it is? That’s right, it’s time for you to help Mr. Michael Lee do his work! For free!

Settle down, kids. No, there are no snacks. No, Timmy, I will not cut you in for points on the backend … Timmy, where did you learn about that kind of thing anyway? Oh, your last name is Mottola. Well, that explains a lot, Timmy.

For the rest of you, here’s the assignment. I need you to help Mr. Lee think of songs for his little singing group to perform. Think big guitars, drums, a very cool band, and 6-part vocal harmony tight enough to peel the lipstick off a pig. No, Timmy, I wasn’t making a joke about your daddy’s ex-wife.

So, if you had that kind of group, heading out on the road to perform concerts for medium-size churches, and also doing some stints as a high-school camp worship band, what kind of rep would you throw at them?

Anything. Anything at all. It doesn’t have to already be arranged for that kind of band + vocals, it can be a song that you think could be arranged well for the lineup.

The floor is open. Hit me.

40 thoughts on “Groupthink: Send the Songs, My People!

  1. Rach

    Aaron Shust- My Savior, My God; Avalon-The Glory; Toby Mac- No Ordinary Love, I Was Made to Love You; David Crowder Band-Wholly Yours, Come Awake; Eogan Heaslip-Lord Have Mercy; Planet Shakers-Open Up the Gates; Sarah Kelley-All I See; Joy Williams-Say Goodbye, Here With Us; Matt Redman-Breathing the Breath; Switchfoot-24, Dare You to Move, Third Day, and modern worship and stuff. And some original music would be awesome!

  2. michael lee Post author

    So, here’s my nomination:

    [listen here]

    It’s Mute Math doing a cover of “40″ by U2. On the chorus, picture those melodies being stretched out over 6 parts, all moving in tension and suspension to each other. I can almost taste it.

    I figure the purpose of the small groups is either to lead people to a saving knowledge of Christ, or to lead them to a saving knowledge of U2. Either way is cool.

  3. John

    Six tight vocalists? How about “Suit Fugue” from “Shaming of the True” by the late Kevin Gilbert? More hooks than a tackle box. Oh wait, this is for churches.. never mind.

  4. Stick

    How about “Higher Love”? I’ve heard it covered badly by some random CCM radio artist, as is the ‘hip’ thing to do. But, if the singers are rippin’ a great Manhattan Transfer-style arrangement would be killer.

  5. Stick

    And this George Rowe guy did some cool stuff that it would take at least 6 singers to cover… check out “Say the Word” and “We Exalt You”.

  6. corey

    Chad- any idea who did the guitar stuff on that live disc (which was tracked a few minutes away from my hometown of Spring, TX- and right across the street from the hospital where Nolie was born)? Is that Shawn Tubbs? It sounds like the guitars are mixed pretty hot, and if it’s Tubbs (or any name startng with “Seamus…”), then I’d like to get it and dive in.

  7. michael lee Post author

    Nope, Dave Cleveland played guitars on that record. I think he played guitars on every single record released that year, by anybody in CCM.

    The drummer is a guy named Tony Morra. He and I played for Jody McBrayer a few years ago, and over dinner I launched into this monologue about how amazing I thought that Crystal Lewis recording was, and that “Poeple Get Ready” was one of my favorites of all time. I had no idea he had played that concert, and was on that record, and he was just sitting quietly and smiling the whole time.

  8. Jonathan

    I am always a fan of Taste and See, and that one we played sunday that I can’t remember right now. All those kinda funky ones. I think they would be good.

  9. Jon

    Some of the Hillsong United stuff could be cool for that, such as “Salvation is Here” but I do have to give my plug for Mute Math…

  10. Morphea

    Please don’t kill me, but I’ve got a big “Ew” for that MuteMath cover. If your band covers 40 make SURE they listen to the U2 version, OK? For me? But if Ash isn’t pitching a fit then I guess I won’t either.

    [I am going to pitch a 'bleah' though, because this is America.]


  11. Rach

    Oh, my bad, I was thinking music that your normal kid in an APU small group could actually sing. And songs that your normal mid-western (key: not from LA) church congregation might relate to…

  12. june

    Keith Green’s There is a Redeemer. I have no idea how you’d do that for six parts. Don’t you music people just have a “6 parts” button on yer computers or something?

  13. Scott

    Yikes, I’m not cool enough to suggest anything in front of this crowd. But if you want a step away from the norm and need a Take 6 transcription, gimme a call.

  14. michael lee Post author

    [quote comment="75422"]Don’t you music people just have a “6 parts” button on yer computers or something?[/quote]

    Almost. We have a “6 parts” button on our cell phone, and it calls Jud Shelton.

  15. michael lee Post author

    [quote comment="75287"]Please don’t kill me, but I’ve got a big “Ew” for that Mute Math cover. If your band covers 40 make SURE they listen to the U2 version, OK? For me?

    I know this probably rock and roll heresy, and I will certainly loose any emergent points I had previously accrued, but I actually like the cover version better. The U2 version has always seemed a bit … meandering. To me, at least.

    Flame on.

  16. Morphea

    No, no. I dissed MuteMath – it’s only fair that you get to shake a finger at some early U2. This is America, like I said.

    I mean, you’re clearly wrong even in expressing this as a personal opinion, but you’re certainly free to do so.


  17. michael lee Post author

    Cerise, I love you, even when you’re wrong. It’s what Jesus would do.

    Then, he would laugh at you behind your back when he goes out drinking with the boys.

  18. Morphea

    It’s Michael, Chad. Of COURSE we’re sure. And Michael, I can say to you in love that I’m certain that Jesus would prefer U2 to MuteMath in all things. Even if they STILL haven’t found what they’re looking for.


    P.S. Corey, you rotter. You naughty, naughty boy.

  19. michael lee Post author

    [quote comment="75573"]That really doesn’t sound remotely like MuteMath. Are we sure on our intel?[/quote]

    It’s not Mute Math, but it’s Paul Meany leading worship at his home church. The drumming sounds very, VERY familiar though. Maybe Dave Hutchison or Darren King (not THAT Darren King, the drummer).

  20. Morphea

    Oh, THIS keeps getting better and BETTER. Not only is a member of Mute Math covering U2 – badly – (almost on a par with Third Day’s slaughter of “Still Haven’t Found”; I heard it live) but he’s doing it for a WORSHIP SESSION.

    [head explodes]

    Is this true or is Pernicious Michael trying to goad me into suicide?

    (Again, friends, I really am sorry for the dissing but this goes beyond the pale.)

  21. michael lee Post author

    We aren’t forgetting that the U2 song was originally pulled from the Psalms, right? It was a worship song first, then a rock tune, now a worship song again.

  22. Morphea

    No, WE’RE not.

    OK, we did. [hangs head] You got me. Even I (nay – even Ash) can’t claim that U2′s oeuvre predates King David.


  23. grammy

    How come Michael gets the cool black background while the rest of just schlep through with the boring old white screen? I’m just saying…

  24. June

    Ok, get your tomatoes and what not ready to throw at me: I pretty much stopped being a U2 fan when I was 21ish and went to an Atchung Baby tour concert. When Bono helped a very young female fan onto the stage and then groped her while he sang (and everyone cheered wildly) and ended a song by burying his face in her stomach I was……well, I was not impressed.

    Some images just stay with you. Haven’t been a fan since.

  25. Scott

    June, I have to agree that there’s definitely something fishy about his “bringing girl on stage and _______, to the sounds of music and screaming fans” routine. He’s almost being worshipped.

    That’s not to say that the music is bad… if you put your tomatoes away, get them back out, because I don’t really know much U2 music, but I’ve seen a DVD where he does his “lucky audience member” thing, and it really amazed me just how hypnotic and cultish the whole thing was. But what do I know?

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