What Makes a Good Hymn?

“When we’re discussing hymns being ‘well-written,’ we’re not only referring to the lyrics but also the melody. Great melodies tend to gain staying power; they endure across generations.” - 9 Marks


There are some songs that catch the ear for a few weeks to a few months, and then there are some songs that get airtime decades after they were written. The elements of music, poetry, and theology all come into play. You’ll see all of this pretty much in any genre of music, even instrumental. There are composers where we know everything they wrote, there are composers where we remember one song only, and there are those in between.

It is worth noting that there are any number of songs, very often in the category of “one hit wonders”, where very often one will be able to at least look back with 20/20 hindsight that “that song was forgotten because when we really listened to it, the lyrics/backup were pretty lame!”. The ones that seem to last seem to have quite a bit more subtlety than those that do not, going into other areas of the brain.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.