Christian cover versions, Modern capitalism sometimes resembles East Germany

The devil and good tunes: “Why Christian cover songs are so cringe” is an intriguing post by YouTuber Gabi Belle. Obadiah was pointed to her by a family member who is actually in touch with popular culture in a way that Obadiah who is rapidly sinking into old fogeydom is not. Belle admits to having visited many churches, having an evangelical boyfriend, but she’s not pretending to be other than an observer of US Christian “art”.

Belle launches straight in running a TikTok cover of Paint the Town Red by Doja Cat, and explaining why she finds it lame. 

“It’s not just a one-time thing, but the phenomenon of Christian covers isn’t just like all pop music or any pop song that’s out there. It’s pop songs that specifically have any semblance of the word devil or any single little bit of ounce of reference to Christianity or religion or religious figures or religious symbolism, which partially explains why everyone thinks it’s annoying and cringe.”

Referencing Christian protests about songs and videos that, yes, from Obadiah’s eyes do sometimes set out to cause protests for publicity or manufacture notoriety, Belle says “There was always a flock of Christians outspoken in protest, but so the newest thing is that they turn sinful songs into songs that praise Jesus instead. And technically it’s not really hurting anyone unless you count experiencing secondhand cringe as a crime. But when it’s mainly only targeted at songs that have references to Christian symbolism, it becomes tired and like, oh, here we go again.”

Belle suggests that Christians might be taking pop music, um a bit too seriously.

“Do you not have other evils in the world to worry about then a pop song that frankly has no influence over the actions of the person that listens to it, especially when this lyric and all these lyrics in this TikTok are all metaphors. She’s so bad she a rebel. She’s so bad. She’s a devil. Do they know that? Just sang the word devil isn’t going to summon him in your bathroom mirror at 3:00 AM He’s not Voldemort. You can say it.”

Christian covers have actually been around a long time.

Obadiah – being an old fogey- knows William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army said “Why should the devil have all the best tunes” and set about giving beer hall tunes new lyrics. The Olney Hymns from 1779 by John Newton and William Cowper, which include Amazing Grace, did not have music written for them but all borrowed tunes. So Belle is wrong, Christian Covers – or rewrites for tunes – has been going on for a long time.

Belle says that Christian cover versions come off as being condescending. Obadiah also suspects that they are unnecessary.

There’s a lot of Christian Music out there that’s not a cover version. New, even. Some readers may not like the new stuff, but chances are there’s some you will like if you give it a fair chance even if you are an old fogey. There’s a smorgasbord of theological origins, from Bethel to Sovereign Grace and locally from Hillsong to Emu. So maybe we don’t need covers anymore.

Got say it though; I found Belle’s promos for games (how she pays for her videos I guess) a bit cringey too.


When capitalism resembles East Germany: Obadiah was struck by incompetence of a national brand electronic retailer (with Hi Fi in its name). Innocently one of the Obadiah offspring ordered a DVD player online from them. It duly arrived – but Obadiah got a quick call. She could not plug it into her TV. Not her fault, nobody could.

The DVID player had an RCA plug- the red, white and yellow wiring that oldies will remember, but her TV like just about any new TV has an HDMI plug. They even included a HDMI cable – but nothing to plug it in.

Obadiah visited the magnificent Wagner Electronics warehouse one suburb away (he LOVES living in the inner west) and got an RCA to HDMI adaptor (warning: most adopters go the other way HDMI to RCA).

It all worked.

But Obadiah can’t but think there’s something very East Berlin, (Trabant cars, and flat blocks that fall apart) about the whole deal. I get it that they were probably selling off old stock from somewhere, but why not have a little warning about needing an old TV?

New to me, but its an oldie: “Christian ministers are like manure: if they spread out they make things grow but if they are together they stink.”