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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

New & Used Hits

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Nov
New & Used Hits
Sounds like … Weird Al Yankovic in the way humorous lyrics are set to parodies of pop, rock, metal, and hip-hop hits.At a glance … the early material of Apologetix is pretty amateur, but the band has gotten better with their musical parodies in recent years.Disc One (New) Are You Gonna Be Ike's Girl? JC's Mom The Voice of Sodom It's Tough (Song About Nehemiah) Welcome to the Judges Back Intact Good News Bookie (live) Hotel Can't Afford Ya 2004 Micah No. 5 December 5 or 6 B.C. Santa Claus It's Not Eden Meshach Lifestyles of the Rich &Nameless Wherever You Will Sow (live) The Devil Went Down to Jordan Corinthians Baa! We're Lambs Smooth Grandmama (live) Life RestoredDisc Two (Used) Bethlehemian Rhapsody The Real Sin Savior Story of a Squirrel I Love Apostle Paul (live) Pray Now (Lost Art) Livin' What Jesus Spoke Of Learn Some Deuteronomy (live) Choirboy Jail Got Rocked One Way Enter Samson Kick in the Wall Put You Down in My Will Walk His Way (live) Narrow Way to Heaven Love & Kisses (live) Naomi Gonna Be with Ruth People Bad Dude Risin' Jacob's Name Is Israel (live)

Apologetix is considered the premier Christian parody band, and they celebrate their ten-year history with this lengthy double-disc collection of old and new material. But whereas Weird Al Yankovic spoofs pop/rock/rap hits for laughs, this is a band driven primarily by ministry, as suggested by their name. As such, their riffs on mainstream hits by the likes of Smash Mouth, AC/DC, and Elvis Presley are as often intended to be as serious as silly.

New & Used Hits is sequenced in reverse chronological order, explaining why the production and performance quality increasingly suffers the further you go in. Lyrics rely too often on phrases like "The Bible says … " and covers such as "Walk His Way" (Aerosmith), "Bethlehemian Rhapsody" (Queen), and "The Real Sin Savior" (Eminem) are amateurish. Though Apologetix has developed a loyal following, the older and more serious material of the second disc isn't clever enough to impress the average non-Christian—it's sadly much like the stuff used on The Simpsons to illustrate how lame Christians can be.

These guys have nonetheless improved with time, evidenced by the newer songs on the first disc. Spoofs like "The Voice of Sodom" (Don Henley), "It's Not Eden" (Five for Fighting), and "It's Tough" (Maroon 5) reveal wittier lyrics from J. Jackson, and his vocal impersonations are in many instances almost uncanny. Amazing that the same band and singer can accurately mimic both The B-52's and Guns 'n' Roses—and rebound from such a shaky career start.

Essentially a cover band, you have to wonder how much interest and replay value there is here. Do most non-Christians appreciate the scriptural humor? Does the majority of Apologetix's target audience recognize the mainstream songs being covered? And even Weird Al's parodies grow tired with repeat listens. Suffice to say, you already know whether or not this is for you.