Jul 27, 2015
As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted any new reviews recently. This is for a couple reasons. The first: I’ve been zonked almost every day after I leave my office. Not a great excuse, I know, everyone’s tired after work. Like I said, I know. The second, and more important: I haven’t found any good Christian albums/artists recently. I’ve been profoundly disappointed with what I’ve found recently.
I last posted about Josh Garrels’s newest album, Home. I wrote how extraordinarily excited I was to listen to it. That was true. Sadly, I was extraordinarily disappointed by it. With the exception of one track, “The Arrow,” everything felt stagnant and regurgitated. His prior albums abounded with clever lyrics, interesting chord progressions, and unexpected melodic lines. Home is missing all of that. No spoken word offerings, no captivating crescendos into falsetto. Like I said, “The Arrow” is the exception, but nothing else draws in the listener’s ear.
So what now?
I will be listening back through a number of good albums to see if any deserve a full write up over the next few weeks. I also need to figure out if I want to write about an album that came out 6 years ago. I probably will.
Possible preview of the above paragraph: The Vespers, Derek Webb, Visible Worship, KS Rhoads, and/or Bellarive.
Apr 7, 2015
Oct 12, 2014
As I’ve stated previously here, if you’re looking to find a Christian band who pushes the boundaries, who writes more than the cliché, and who plays with passion, look no further than River & Robots. I began emailing with Jonathan Ogden, the lead singer and main songwriter for R&R, a few months ago. After all, their website states, “If you’re interested in booking us, or just want to say hello, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you!” After a few notes back and forth, Jonathan agreed to an interview all the way from Manchester, England.
Never give me permission to talk to you. I’ll take advantage of it.
KJ: How did you get your start in music?
R&R: We have each grown up in church and been involved in our local church worship teams from an early age. I learnt piano and guitar when I was in high school, and started playing at church then, and then got into leading worship in my late teens. I think it’s a similar story for each of us!
KJ: How did you all end up playing together as a group?
R&R: I work for a Christian organisation called The Message Trust who do lots of evangelism here in Manchester by sending teams like bands, theatre companies and dance groups into schools and prisons and putting on gigs, so it’s a great place to meet other creative Christians in Manchester. Me and David [Hales - guitar, ukulele, vocals] both work in the creative team at The Message doing design and video work, so we met that way, Nathan [Stirling - bass, guitar, percussion, vocals] went to David’s church and was also working for another charity in the same building, and then I was also part of an associated ministry called Prayer Storm that ran meetings with intercession and worship every month, so I met Kelani [Koyejo - drums, vocals] through playing in the band at the Prayer Storm night. Something just clicked with these guys and I wasn’t even considering doing a band, but I made such great friends with them so quickly, that it just felt right, and I asked them to come and help me do this Rivers & Robots thing in late 2012.
KJ: Explain your band name.
R&R: The name is purely a musical thing really. The first album was this mixture of folky, melodic sounding stuff, combined with electronic production and a lot of synths. So the ‘Rivers’ is the more acoustic side of things, and 'Robots’ is the electronic, and the combination of the two is the kind of sound we have. It’s changed a bit since then, but we still have it. I think songs like 'White As Snow’ are very much in the Rivers category, and 'Fall Down’ in the Robots category, and others like 'We Have Overcome’ fall somewhere in the middle.
KJ: What is your songwriting process?
R&R: With the first 2 albums Rivers & Robots was a solo project, so I wrote everything. I tend to still do most of the writing, but a couple I’ve co-written with the guys. I wrote 'White As Snow’ with David, and 'Light Will Dawn’ with Nathan. And we come up with the musical side of things as a band now. Some songs like 'Shepherd Of My Soul’ I just brought as stripped-down acoustic songs and then we worked on the arrangement together in a practise.
KJ: Individually and as a group, who are some of your biggest musical influences?
R&R: We listen to tons of music, we’re all big music geeks, so we could spend all day listing off a load of bands we like, but there aren’t any direct influences I would say. I guess a little bit of everything that we like will naturally seep into the process of writing songs, but we like to try and find our own style wherever possible. We all grew up listening to heavy rock, but we listen to all sorts now.
KJ: Do you guys lead worship at a church in Manchester? Together or at different churches individually?
R&R: We do all lead worship, but at different churches. We’re all part of small local churches around the area, so we all serve there, both leading and playing in the bands.
KJ: What is the overall Christian culture/atmosphere like there?
R&R: It’s awesome! There are so many great ministries coming out, and loads of creative stuff going on with worship and prayer, we’re blessed to be involved in a lot of different things like Prayer Storm, Manchester House of Prayer, The Message and our individual churches, so we get to work a lot with churches all around Manchester and it feels like there’s starting to be a real unity between the churches; it’s great.
KJ: What is your view on contemporary Christian music as a whole?
R&R: I think we’re in a really exciting time right now. We’re seeing worship springing up all over the world and in so many different styles, I think we’re moving on from there being a “christian music industry” as it were, into there being so many different styles out there and different expressions in the church. Everywhere we go there are new worship bands and teams that aren’t big names, but they’re amazing and they’re just faithfully going for it with their local community. And I believe that we’ll see more and more of this worship movement growing alongside the prayer movement all over the world until Jesus comes back!
KJ: Is there anything you’d want to see change? Stay the same?
R&R: I’d love to see more creativity! I think we have a lot of very 'safe’ worship music around at the moment, and we’re finding that some of the songs we thought would be too crazy to do live, have actually been the ones people engage with the most. There is definitely still room for the simple, singable songs that unite a room, but I don’t think we give congregations enough credit sometimes. Some of the old hymns that everybody loves probably wouldn’t be considered “congregationally friendly” today, with their crazy melodies, time signatures and structures, but people love them. Perhaps we need to redefine what “congregationally friendly” means. [KJ – Sidebar: I absolutely love this statement. I will use it. Copyright 2014 River & Robots, though.]
KJ: From Take Everything to All Things New, what has changed in your musical style/taste/etc?
R&R: The biggest difference is that All Things New is the first band album! So this is the first time I’ve recorded in a space that isn’t my bedroom, and used almost entirely real instruments, whereas Take Everything was almost entirely done on my laptop. I think it feels like a natural progression rather than a change. It’s the same sound, but it’s bigger and more real and just better. We probably stayed more towards the 'rivers’ side than the 'robots’ for this album because we wanted it to sound like how we play together live, with some of the songs literally just being drums, keys, bass and guitar with vocals, so it sounds exactly like how we play it. But I think moving on we’ll start to bring in more of the electronic stuff again, and get a little more 'robots’.
KJ: Where do you see your music going as you continue to write and record?
R&R: Wherever God decides to take it! We’re going to keep doing worship nights in Manchester and build up a local community of worshippers here, and continue to go wherever people invite us, and when God speaks something to us, we’ll write about it, and see what happens!
KJ: What is your favorite track on ATN? Your least favorite?
R&R: Honestly, my favourite song changes every week, which I really like. At the moment it’s between “You Hear Me” and “Shepherd Of My Soul”.
KJ: Where did you record ATN? Same or different as past albums?
R&R: We recorded in an amazing old country house in the south of England called Ashburnham Place. It’s a really big, beautiful old building with an amazing history, and one of our friends helps run the place, and also used to be the audio engineer here at The Message before moving down. So we stayed there for a week, and he became our recording technician for the whole week, while we tracked all the instruments and vocals. Then we mixed the album later on back in Manchester. [KJ here – I’d like to imagine it’s a similar vibe as Headley Grange where Led Zeppelin recorded LZ IV.]
KJ: What is your goal for your band? Full time touring? Church leadership? Just a hobby?
R&R: We would love to go full time, but for now we’re just taking it step-by-step. We’ve already done so much more that I thought it was going to be. We prefer to just let God lead us, and thank Him for every opportunity we get, rather than planning where we want to be. But God gave us a big vision, and I’m sure this is just the start!
KJ: When do you see your tour taking you to the US? Do you?
R&R: We would love to come to the US, we’re just waiting for the right time and the right opportunity. There’s a few potential opportunities lined up, so we’ll see what happens!
KJ: If you could sum up your goal in writing, playing, and recording music in one sentence, what would it be?
R&R: The goal is to pursue the knowledge of God, to search Him out, and get revelation of who He is, to respond in worship, be it musical or otherwise, and in the process declare who He is and make Him known to the church, so we can all grow in the knowledge of God together!
KJ: When you’re not playing music, how do you spend your time?
R&R: We all have full time jobs at the moment, so I’m doing web and graphic design. And we’re all involved in our churches in various ways, so that keeps us busy. And with free time we’ll generally be eating, going to watch films, taking photos of cool places!
KJ: Your website saying you enjoy a good cup of tea – (coming from an American coffee drinker, here) – why is tea better than coffee?
R&R: Haha! It’s not really better than coffee. I just love it! You can’t beat a good cup of tea and some biscuits.
There you go – this band has a fantastic perspective on music and on faith. Check them out on Spotify, iTunes, or www.riversandrobots.com as soon as you can. And if Jonathan likes English biscuits, imagine him discovering a Chick-Fil-A biscuit on a Saturday morning before a good college football game.
P.S. - British spellings and vocabulary are so much better than American English.
Sep 5, 2014
When Bob Dylan sang of his relationship with Christ, he not only dwelled on his interpersonal connection with Jesus, but proclaimed truth through Bible stories. Songs like “Man Gave Names to All the Animals” and “In The Garden” both act as 20th century catechism. Truth is truth. Why do so few CCM artists follow this example? There are very few groups / songwriters who use the lyrical venue to teach Bible stories or ideas. All songs we sing focus on what Christ has done for “us” or “me”. While important, God is worth singing to and about simply because of who He is. His identity is enough. Rather than turning the attention to ourselves in song, all of our being should turn to God.
Where am I going with this? Rivers & Robots’ album Take Everything places its attention squarely on the Creator. While I am not unpacking this entire album, I’d encourage you to investigate it. With song titles like “Uncreated One”, “The Bridegroom”, and “The Judge”, Rivers and Robots does not succumb to the easy habit of focusing on self in worship songs. Mixing vocal delay effects with very tasteful instrumentations, Take Everything drives the listener to the foot of the Creator.
I will be reviewing Rivers & Robots’ newest album, All Things New, in the near future, but I wanted to give the 30,000 foot overview of Take Everything first. It is phenomenal. Please look it up.
Aug 30, 2014
READER BEWARE: This will be a longer than normal review. Why? Because every track is worth discussing.
Yes I know this album came out 3 years ago. But I wasn’t reviewing Christian albums back then. So bear with me. And if you haven’t listened to Love & War & The Sea In Between by Josh Garrels, then you can use this write up as an excuse to track it down. Drawing on a massively wide array of musical influences, Garrels’ Love & War asks meaningful questions about life, death, and the purpose of each – then answers those very same thoughts in the same breath.
Kicking it off, the eerie “White Owl” instantly reminds the listener of the uncertainty of life. Unknown, questioning, and self-doubt plague the subject of the vocalist’s lyrics. But these questions will be answered. Everything broken will be made new: “You will never be alone. Every dream that you have been shown will be like a living stone.” There is hope yet. There is “shelter from the storm.” Combining gorgeous metaphors with floating verse melodies, Garrels hits the nail on the head with this flawless opener. The first time I heard this song, I was dumbstruck. It was my first Josh Garrels exposure and I knew I’d become a lifelong fan.
“Flood Waters” shows the listener that “White Owl” was not an anomaly. Again utilizing exquisite similes and metaphors, JG’s subtle foreshadowing from verse to chorus gives this track another level of intrigue. The first verse, discussing the love of the Maker of the sea, states that this love is stronger than the rising tide. This watery imagery is fully realized in the verse. Those in His grasp have nothing to fear from life’s constant floods. He created the water, after all.
Taking a very simplistic –dare-I-say-boring?– chord progression, Love & War’s next track shows Garrels’ wide array of influences. “Farther Along” mixes acoustic folk guitar with simple hip-hop influenced padded drum and bass parts. His spoken word lyrical delivery further pronounces the latter influence. Tying it together with layered keyboard parts, this song shows that quality musicianship can redeem any seemingly boring progression.
Functioning as a transitional track from one group of lyrical concepts to another, “A Far Off Hope” let’s the lyricist reset. The first group of songs remind us why our hope is in our Father. They show His characteristics – love, assurance, faithfulness, security. While the first section of the album focuses on God and His utmost worth, the next group of songs contrasts the first by focusing on the world – and all the pain that comes with living in it.
Fresh out of hitting the reset button, Josh Garrels tears into a spoken word / rap-filled lyrical flood. Dealing with the troubles, unfulfillments, and disappointments of this world, “The Resistance” leads us into a new section of the album. Nothing here satisfies. We have an “anchor in the storm” and “we will not be moved” when we lay our hope in the Maker of this finite place, but nothing here delivers lasting peace. This track’s chorus repeats that truth over and over. Although this world imprisons through falsehoods and half-truths, we will be liberated. Garrels further drives home this point in the next song, “Slip Away.” Begging the Creator to save him, the lyricist sings with a haunting refrain, “Please forgive me before we reach the end.” The songwriter knows all too well the temptations and troubles of this world and cries out for strength and salvation.
Having focused on God’s attributes in the first group of songs and the world’s disappointment in the second, Love & War leads into a third section with another instrumental intermission. “Sailor’s Waltz,” while not as catchy as “A Far Off Hope,” functions well regardless; the listener’s ear looks forward to the theme of the third group of songs.
Beginning with “Ulysses,” the songwriter kicks off 5 tracks looking forward to our hope past this world. An ascending melody, nearly a complete major scale, builds action in “Ulysses,” climaxing with yet another nautical metaphor: “Sailing home to You, I will press on.” Garrels is looking forward to the fulfillment of promises made long ago. Promises not of this world. Promises beyond. “Beyond the Blue” then fully develops these ideas first established in “Ulysses.” There is hope. Mixing biblical imagery from the book of Revelation with more nautical phrases harkening back to previous tracks, “Beyond the Blue” shows the writer’s true joy in the end. A joyful song, “Blue” again marries spoken word influences with pure folk chord progressions. Garrels never ceases to intrigue the engaged ear.
The next two songs further advance this section of the album. “For You” again drives home the personal relationship of which he joyfully sings. Garrels looks forward to a future hope, but also dwells in a hope that is present. Nothing can separate us from this joy. Not trials nor time nor distance. “Million Miles” re-establishes the padded drums of early tracks. Harmonies – hitting more than the simplistic third above the melody – mix styles with the drum loop. And, as the song builds through multiple verses, the drums increase momentum – only to drop out at what would be the climax. Oh, wait, they’re back as the progression hits a mixolydian flat 7 chord and brings brass in to close out the song.
“Bread & Wine” switches gears. Coming out of a driving drum beat, acoustic guitar and vocals start this track, with brushed snare coming in later. JG again drives home the relationship he’s so keen on highlighting in this sub-section. “There’s nothing to hide… Give it just a little time. Share some bread and wine.” The overt biblical imagery in the very name of the song ends the 5 song album chapter with a perfect coda. The hope we have is due to a future fulfillment of a present relationship, built on past promises.
Coming out of another instrumental break with “No Man’s Land”, “Rise” kicks Love & War into another gear. Balancing modal chord theory (dorian for those who care) with accidentals (playing a flat 6 in dorian), Garrels sets his mind: he’s never turning back from this hope he has. The subject of his hope will restore. Why search anywhere else? As he lets this question linger, the drums come in for a heavy 80s-style backbeat. And you know what? It’s fantastic. Adding in some pizzicato strings for accents, the instrumentals in this song are superb. Lyrically, he drives his point: through God’s love, all that’s lost will be restored. And that’s worth holding on to.
One last instrumental later (“The March”), and we’re into “The Revelator.” No attempt to be subtle – the track is dealing with the biblical Revelation about the end of time. In fact, the remaining three songs, including the lyric-less finale, share this theme. Speaking from the point of view of John, the writer of Revelation, Garrels rehashes much of the final book of the Bible. The vision John saw was in a dream, and was centered on the glory of the Lamb, that is, Jesus. Sparse drums and synth create rising action. The Lamb plans to “make war and peace with man. And reign on earth.” Then comes the full drum loop – with subtle electronic touches. Perfection. “Holy holy is the One who was and is and is to come.” Taken straight out of the Bible, Garrels makes the scripture sing, and sing beautifully. Hitting semi-tone guitar notes in the bridge brings some discomfort, pushing us right back into the comforting chorus. Holy holy.
Flowing immediately into “Pilot Me,” the singer has sung the refrain from John’s Revelation and fallen on his knees. He’s at the end of himself and his desperation is overt. “Savior please, pilot me.” There’s nothing else for him but the subject of the biblical refrains.
If you know anything about the Bible, and Revelation in particular, there’s a beautiful image of a marriage feast – The Marriage Feast of the Lamb. Jesus marries His bride, the church. Once and forever together in perfect love. JG ends his album with an instrumental song titled “Processional.” A bit of a strange name to end an album. However, knowing this biblical imagery, and seeing where he’s built his lyrics, this ending paints a beautiful picture, with the track vaguely following a Pachelbel’s-canon-like progression.
Josh Garrels takes blatently Christian lyrics and communicates them in a way that intrigues the listener. Threads of repeated imagery, and themes communicated throughout, the album asks and answers life’s most important questions. From start to finish, Love & War & The Sea In Between shows the love and fulfillment of a relationship with Jesus Christ, without using worn-out, boring cliches to which many contemporary Christian song-writers resort. It is fantastic.
Aug 14, 2014
To start, I’m not sure what the general perception of United Pursuit / United Pursuit Band was or is, or if anyone even has a perception of these folks. But in my strange synapses, United Pursuit equated to Jesus Culture or a more charismatic Chris Tomlin, and I wasn’t interested.
That incorrect assumption fell far short of the truth.
I must state that I have not been a long-standing fan of UP, and therefore do not know their discography like I know, say, Led Zeppelin or Sojourn. Nonetheless, Michael Ketterer and United Pursuit’s The Wild Inside breaks free of many Christian music stereotypes.
The record breaks the ice with hauntingly honest, if repetitive, “Wild One.” The brutal honesty of this track gave me hope for the rest of the album. NOTE: I’m someone who listens straight through an album for the same reason one doesn’t read only two chapters of a novel. “Wild One” faces our own helpless estate and begs for mercy, without succumbing to cliché after cliché. Acoustic guitar and vocals, nothing else, sets the tone for the project as a whole. This is Michael’s prayer. And that’s ok. We have a window into King David’s musical prayers, after all.
Switching gears from the acoustic intro, “Awaken the Child” grabbed me and told me this album was something I was going to enjoy. Adding a very tasteful loop to a solid drum part, the second track builds action exceedingly well. Despite not normally loving “ohs” and “ahs”, the chorus ends with a well timed vocalise. It’s great. No lie. Lyrically, while not exactly a Gadsby hymn, “Awaken the Child” solidly progresses The Wild Inside’s plot, while throwing in a mixolydian outro and some excellent electric bass hammer-on fills. I’d like to hear some more at this point.
“For Freedom” gives me more. Again, not quite a modern day hymn, but heart-felt hymns and prayerful pleas give this track a very pleasing feel. Rotating between syncopated and back beat drums through the pre-chorus, chorus, and post-chorus into another verse drew the ear forward, asking what comes next. What comes next? Gang vocals on the bridge. Well done, United Pursuit.
Jumping ahead to “Shine.” Unreal. Loops. Padded drums. Syncopated toms. Psalms references. This track is perfect. And we’re only through one stanza. Chorus escalates afterwards and diminishes into another verse. One more chorus and we’re into an interlude in the relative minor. This is excellent. Repeating “You are my God and Your love endures forever” with heavy, haunting drums in the background, Ketterer has escalated this junk. Perfection. A heavily distorted guitar and electronic riff take the track back into another pass at the bridge, this time with a driving backbeat. A two minute outro ties a gorgeous bow on the track. A bow with more extended electric bass riffs, harkening back to “Awaken the Child.”
After a few mellow tracks building anticipation, the album climaxes at “The Real Thing.” Despite using the overused “generation” lyric that the 2000s worship songs rely on, MK & UP focus the listener’s attention where it belongs - “we need Your Spirit.” Begging for fulfillment, the track declares, “You’re the only thing that we want.” After the band drops out, leaving a nearly a cappella chorus, horns add a refreshing change of pace to the song. A gang vocal section and spoken word outro later, The Wild Inside has only to resolve itself with a few postlude songs.
Good Christian music is out there. Yes, most of the well known stuff is horrendous. Yes, those artists pander to a particular crowd with no regard for historical hymns or musical prowess. But as Michael Ketterer and United Pursuit prove with this album, just because a band is Christian doesn’t mean they’re terrible. In coming weeks and months, I’d like to show that MK & UP isn’t the only group of talented folks who also love Jesus.
Oct 19, 2013
Two of my favorite college courses were The History and Analysis of Rock Music, and the same, but Jazz. Folks’ musical influences, acknowledged and hidden, are incredibly interesting to me.
As an extremely mediocre (at best) drummer myself, a history nerd, and a musical history nerd, I love this video. Great musicianship and a cool history lesson.
Sep 2, 2013
Aug 31, 2013
Be forewarned. This is completely, 100% off the top of my head, stream of conscience, rambling blogging. My only purpose here is to get myself writing again. So please pardon any unnecessary words or incomplete thoughts.
Today is the first day of the fall in my mind. College football season begins today. (Nevermind the boring-ish Thursday/Friday openers.) Fall is a gorgeous season, and seems to bring out my creative side more than any other season. I can’t put my finger on a reason. Maybe because fall is the most colorful season. Maybe it’s because I head inside more due to falling temperatures. Either way, I feel inspired to spew some words onto the internetz.
I got engaged to a beautiful ladyperson since I last posted anything. She’s not a musician. Which is fine. I’ll be musician enough for both of us. Or at least try.
Of late, I’ve found some surprisingly good Christian musicians out there. So much CCM just flat out blows. Rivers & Robots. Josh Garrels. Judah & The Lion. Others. Wonderful to see that not everyone has rolled over and opened their Christian cliche notebook for lyrical inspiration.
Maybe I should try my hand at songwriting again. But I was perfectly mediocre at it. At best.
Either way, I love some of the music I’ve heard recently, I love my fiancee, I love football, and I love fall weather. Can’t wait for the future.
Mar 6, 2012
Jan 20, 2012
Because of their love for music and their willingness to deploy themselves in the service of beauty, the creatures are given a lovely name by Earthlings. They are called harmoniums.
Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
Jan 15, 2012
I’m involved in 2 different projects that are on Kickstarter right now. One is my favorite church in the world, Christ Community Church, in Athens, GA. Their band is planning to record a worship CD and I’m lucky enough to be contributing. Check out the link here: Also, I play bass in band called John French and the Bastilles. They are some of my bestest best friends, and we’re trying to record a full length album in the next couple months. Here’s that link: I know times are tight, but if you love music, please considering contributing any amount of money to either project. Thanks!
I’m involved in 2 different projects that are on Kickstarter right now. One is my favorite church in the world, Christ Community Church, in Athens, GA. Their band is planning to record a worship CD and I’m lucky enough to be contributing. Check out the link here:
Also, I play bass in band called John French and the Bastilles. They are some of my bestest best friends, and we’re trying to record a full length album in the next couple months. Here’s that link:
I know times are tight, but if you love music, please considering contributing any amount of money to either project. Thanks!
Jan 10, 2012
Dec 6, 2011
So, for some reason, embedding is disabled on this video. But here’s a link. Click on it. What is the link? The music video for Brooke Fraser’s “Something In The Water.” The song is excellent. The music video is extremely hipster and excellent.
Have you heard of Brooke? An award winning folk-pop artist out of New Zealand, Brooke Fraser plays and writes with Hillsong Church in Australia. And she’s the best thing that ever happened to Hillsong’s music.
Please watch the video and let me know what you thing. I heart it. And I love Brooke. Too bad she’s married. Because that’s the reason I’m not dating her.
Dec 1, 2011
Do you like Indie Folk music? Do you like Christmas music?
Then you should check out Over The Hills And Everywhere. Based out of Athens, GA, Aaron Slaten, Emily Hearn, John French, and Justin Kimmel collaborated to do a Christmas album. Aaron puts it this way: “We wanted to record something that sounded like a bunch a friends playing together in our living room.”
Well it may sound like that, but it sounds fantastic as well. I’m gonna stay out of the review arena on this one though because I recorded some bass on the album and these are some of my best friends. I think you’ll enjoy Over The Hills And Everywhere.
Download it here for free:
Nov 26, 2011
I apologize for my blogging absence! But, Christmas music is upon us, and I have a few Christmas album reviews in the works. They should be here in the next few days. Stay tuned!
Oct 26, 2011
(Random, Favorite Lyrics)
Did you say were from the Netherlands? Or was that Netherworld?
– Steely Dan, “Slang Of Ages”
When you love the truth enough, you start to tell it all the time. When it gets you into trouble, you discover you don’t mind.
– David Bazan, “People”
There’s something in the water that makes me love you like I do.
– Brooke Fraser, “Something in the Water”
Cause it is hard to stay; it is hard to wait, to out-love, to out-suffer them.
– Derek Webb, “Cobra Con”
In the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair. But Gollum, the evil one, crept up and slipped away with her.
– Led Zeppelin, “Ramble On”
Oct 20, 2011
I’ve been fortunate to play bass with Emily Hearn on many occasions. If you haven’t heard of her, check her out at www.emilyhearn.com and listen to this track! She’s phenomenal.
Like Ships Need The Sea - Emily Hearn
If you like smiling and feeling happy, you will like this song.
Her album gets officially released in January so keep an eye out!
Oct 18, 2011
Even some of my favorite artists are guilty of these. Just because a band or singer does one of these pet peeves doesn’t mean I hate them. But I may very well hate the song in which they are utilized. And I’m sure I’ll add items to this list in future. Probably as soon as I turn on a top-40 radio station. But these few things are my nonnegotiable musical pet peeves. These are nails on a chalkboard to me:
- Rhyming “jail” with “bail.” It is one of the more unfortunate occurrences of the English language that these related words rhyme. Just about every song that mentions jail follows it up with something about “making bail.” Lynyrd Skynyrd and Charlie Daniels both rhyme these words on a few occasions. I greatly enjoy Skynyrd and the CDB, but I have to turn down their songs when I know that rhyme is approaching.
- Sports metaphors in song. Come on. Ugh. The all time worst one of these is “Swing Batter” or “Baseball” or something like that, by Trace Adkins. I’m not even gonna look up the name of the song because it disgusts me. Why do I even know a Trace Adkins song? Well, I used to like terrible music. This song has a baseball announcer in the background giving a play-by-play of a guy trying to hit on a girl, and Trace sings about his striking out and then hitting a homerun later. Vomit. This song swings and misses. Ha. I crack myself up.
- 1 – 5 – 6 – 4 chord progressions. Sure, I know a lot of songs are four chord songs. Some are good. But the 1 – 5 – 6 – 4 progression is terrible. Any other combination of those chords is better. 6 – 4 – 1 – 5? Fine. If you don’t know what I’m talking about with music theory, I’m saying songs that go G – D – Em – C are the bane of my existence. Simplicity is fine, but please do it creatively. And avoid this progression like the plague that it is.
Those are my pet peeves in the music world. What are yours? Do you disagree? Tell me! (Then I’ll tell you why you’re wrong.)
Oct 16, 2011
(Random, Favorite Lyrics)
Why am I scarred for what she did to me? Why can’t I trust anyone, no, not even me?
– The Format, “Oceans”
Maybe I should ditch this little white rental on the interstate and start a new effing life in Effington.
– Ben Folds, “Effington”
Look on horizon, there’s the sun. Look in her eyes and there’s the sun.
– Harrison Hudson, “Horizon”
Me? I’m always sh**ing diarrhea of the mouth till your speakers crap out.
– Eminem, “Untitled”
Moving to Montana soon. Gonna be a dental floss tycoon.
– Frank Zappa, “Montana”