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Music and Meaning is a captivating, cinematic podcast written and hosted by Grammy Award-winning music producer Charlie Peacock. Charlie shares evocative, in-depth stories of his intricate dance of serving both the church and crafting the popular songs the whole world sings. By analyzing the soundtrack of our lives, Charlie, skillfully and artistically teases out its profound social and theological meaning. Reflective and whimsical, Charlie shows how music transcends mere sound, becoming a mirror to our times, a testimony to our shared humanity, and a sign and symbol of our deepest joys and needs. Music and Meaning is a production of Christianity Today Executive Produced by Erik Petrik and Matt Stevens Produced and Written by Charlie Peacock and Mike Cosper Original Music and Editing by David LaChance and Charlie Peacock Mix Engineer: David LaChance Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In this episode of "Music and Meaning" with Charlie Peacock, we dive into the story of his signing of the Grammy Award-winning band Switchfoot, a pivotal moment in Christian and mainstream rock music. Charlie recounts his inspiration from 1996, challenging the conventional 'crossover' approach in Christian music. He shares his vision of creating music for all, leading to the discovery of Switchfoot's demo tape. The episode navigates the challenges of introducing Switchfoot to Christian audiences, focusing on the song "Chem 6A" and its broader implications on faith and art. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Switchfoot's pop chart-topping influential album, "The Beautiful Letdown," Charlie reflects on community, trust, risk, and the transformative power of music. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In this episode of "Music and Meaning” Charlie tackles the headline topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its impact on music.  He kicks off with Elon Musk's AI warnings and the tech industry's temporary pause on advancements like ChatGPT-4, then draws an intriguing parallel between AI's unchecked growth and the biblical Tower of Babel, posing sharp ethical questions. He reminisces about his early days of tech adoption as a young music producer, from Moog synthesizers to digital samplers and drum machines, emphasizing how he learned these tools came with an ideology of their own. He got played, before he played them. Charlie suggests AI is no different. Highlighting AI's involvement in a Beatles' song revival, Charlie drops a C.S. Lewis quote and champions the irreplaceable human imagination in all creativity. The episode wraps with a call for wise AI governance, urging a humanity-first approach in technology's integration with creativity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In this episode of Music & Meaning, host Charlie Peacock offers a narrative trip through the many ways Jesus has been represented in pop music: explicitly, implicitly, genuinely, and in mockery.  He discusses Jesus Christ Superstar, the rock opera that brought a contemporary Jesus to a new generation. This leads to a look into the '70s perspective of Jesus as a symbol of authenticity and rebellion, covering tracks from Norman Greenbaum, James Taylor, The Velvet Underground, and Black Sabbath, to name a few. As he moves through the decades, Charlie reflects on the evolving depictions of Jesus in music, from controversial metal bands in the '80s to Tupac Shakur's '90s rap, on to Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" in the 2000s, and much more, including Taylor Swift, The Killers, U2, and Lauren Daigle. In his own words, "I'm just shining a light on the persistent motif of Jesus in pop culture. Some musicians are simply namechecking Jesus. Others have interwoven the Jesus narrative into their music with curiosity and care." The episode wraps up with Charlie sharing his personal ethos regarding the mention of Jesus in music (and he might even be caught singing a little bit). Finally, he leaves us with a 50-song Spotify playlist that highlights a few of these diverse musical critiques of Jesus, the co-opting of his name, as well as tributes, praise, and true artistic reflection. The playlist offers listeners a second opportunity to soak up Jesus's significant impact on pop music titles and lyrics. Contemporary interest in who people say Jesus is, through music and entertainment, is alive and well. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In this episode of Music & Meaning, we take you on a sonic sojourn. We're dialing back the clock to the dusty scrolls of St. Augustine—the original bad boy rock star turned philosopher-saint, a proto-Kendrick Lamar with parchment and pen, not a playlist. Now, picture Augustine with a pair of Apple AirPods nodding to today's Top 40. What does he hear? Beats that drop harder than Roman empires and lyrics that scratch at the eternal itch of the human heart. Augustine's own lyrics, his confessions, had it all: pride, sex, sin, and salvation—the same stuff fueling our hit parade today. Listen as Charlie and his co-host, St. Augustine, sample the charts and the lyrical stories we tell each other and the world. It's confession time. Bend a knee while we bend your ears. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In this episode of Music & Meaning we give props and respect to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a groundbreaking musician and Jesus follower who merged gospel and rock music. In a time when the deck was stacked against her, Sister Rosetta Tharpe stood tall and delivered gospel performances that could turn a skeptic into a believer. Her profound legacy was finally acknowledged with a 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. Sister Rosetta's role as an architect of rock guitar and the true pioneer of gospel rock is unassailable. Bearing witness is producer/songwriter Tommy Sims (Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton) offering his take on Tharpe's influence. And if that's not enough, we're taking a musical pilgrimage to a Nashville recording studio. Here, we'll meet session guitarist, Jerry McPherson, who will break the code on Sister Rosetta's iconic guitar sound. Tune in, turn up, and let's get schooled in the art of gospel rock by the source, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In this episode, we interview Leah Payne about her new book, God Gave Rock and Roll to You. First question: "Is this true? God is responsible for rock music?" Enter historian Leah Payne, Ph.D., to provide the church history lesson. With host Charlie Peacock, Dr. Payne guides us through a fascinating labyrinth of spiritual and sonic convergence. Our odyssey commences at the dawn of the 20th century amidst the fervor of Pentecostal Revivalism. The story and soundtrack show how predominantly white evangelical Christians, fueled by the holiness movement, patriotism, and sobriety, inadvertently set the stage for rock music and the Church to find mutually beneficial common ground. This unlikely fusion has a name in history: contemporary Christian music. God Gave Rock and Roll to You is a well-researched history lesson but also a cautionary word. The story forecasts the Church's continued pragmatic use of music, appropriation of fame and fashion, our present societal angst and division, and the binary, strongman politics that divide us even now. We are reminded that every movement has its architects, advocates, and dissenters. Love, empathy, wisdom, and learning from history help us decide which one we will be. Credits: “Music and Meaning” is a production of Christianity Today: Executive Produced by Erik Petrik and Matt Stevens Produced and Written by Charlie Peacock and Mike Cosper Associate Produced by Raed Gilliam Original Music and Editing by Charlie Peacock and David LaChance Mixed by Mark Owens Show theme, “Sound of the Room,” composed by Charlie Peacock, featuring bassist John Patitucci Special guest: Leah Payne Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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