September 7, 2009
So I’ve made some comments about Christian radio, and it’s about time that I try to back it up with some market analysis. You might remember me saying that Christian music is 34% Casting Crowns, 33% Third Day, and 33% Chris Tomlin. I went on WayFM.com and captured what 88.7 Nashville was playing throughout the day for about 24-26 hours, give or take.
Here we have the top 10 (out of 165) songs played during August 27, 2009 with a few hours into August 28. TobyMac seems to be ruling the airspace with a whopping 9 songs played in one day with his “City On Our Knees” accounting for 3 of those plays with 4 other songs accounting for the other 6 plays. That’s impressive… like Kelly Clarkson impressive. In fact, “City On Our Knees” is a pretty good song that shows tobyMac’s response to the changing trends of Rap/Hip-Hop with him utilizing digitized voice enhancers (that work wonders with his voice), so now he can sing more instead of rapping or doing his famous dc Talk whisper-singing. Tenth Avenue North is in a close second place with 8 plays divided between 3 songs their hit “By Your Side” getting 5 plays. While Third Day and Chris Tomlin made the Top 10, Casting Crowns did not make the cut (top 20 instead). Casting Crowns didn’t even make the top 20 in songs that got played, they were only played 3 times in a day.
Britt Nicole’s “The Lost Get Found” and FM Static’s “Take Me As I Am” are the most played songs on the radio during a typical day with 6 plays each. FM Static’s popularity is surprising since virtually nothing was played from their 2nd album despite having a sold first album. Certainly Thousand Foot Krutch’s popularity has helped Trevor gain support for his side project’s 3rd album.
Third Day and Chris Tomlin have a presence with “Born Again” getting 5 plays and “Sing Sing Sing” getting 3 plays. Now with 165 songs played, these top 20 songs account for 79 songs (48%). While the Top 10 Artists that get played account for 63 songs (38%). While there is overlapping here, this is really significant because only 16 songs got played once which means that 10% of the music played on the radio only played one time, and this includes Jars of Clay’s “Love Song for a Savior”, and nothing from their album that they released this year.
So, while I almost always hear a Casting Crowns song on the radio during the hour that I drive, I most just have awesome timing. While I have about the same probability of hearing a tobyMac song as I do someone who only gets played once a day.
So there it is. In other news, Relient K’s Forget and Not Slow Down is hitting shelves October 6th and their new song under the same title can be heard at their myspace. As far as Derek Webb’s new record Stockholm Syndrome, guys I’m just not a fan. Yes it’s different from his usual blend of white guy with guitar, but he is still pointing fingers but now he openly cusses in his music which is either cool or the worst thing ever depending how you stand on the issue. Despite his music being different and his words being stronger, to me it’s still pretty typical of his newer music. If only some band could come along and break the spell of the typical… that would be sweet.
August 22, 2009
Oy Vey it’s been a long long while ladies and gentlemen. So I haven’t forgotten about this blog. As I posted in June, I’ve been busy, super busy. You see I’ve been so busy that if you don’t know who I am, all you know about me is that I write this blog. So while you might expect this post to be about the Casting Crowns song “Who Am I?” it’s actually about me… how selfish is that?
My name is Bryant and I was baptized when I was 9 but did feel God’s call in my life until I was 13 and began reading the Bible. I was Word thirsty and eventually finished reading it when I was a senior in high school. Somewhere along the way I noticed that the scriptures revealed characteristics about God and his Providence that my church wouldn’t touch on despite walking through Romans. Those characteristics were the 5 points of Calvinism, which through my study of the word I agree with. As I’ve said in posts before I’ve had some faith testing events in my life that could have resulted in me not trusting God’s plan for my life, but by the grace of God I was able to stand on His good and perfect Word.
I married my high school sweetheart nearly two years ago after dating for 3 years. She’s pretty awesome. She’s beautiful and loves to cook (and is great at it). We both attended the University of Tennessee “enjoyed” 4 years of terrible football… to be fair one year was all right because we got to the SEC championship due to a technicality. I graduated in Accounting and returned this fall to pursue a Master of Accountancy degree. The reason I haven’t been posting is because I’ve been studying during all of my free time for the CPA exam so that I may be one day a Certified Public Accountant. I took two exams this summer while I entered for one of the Big 4 accounting firms, where I will be working when I finish up my degree. Let me just say that working and studying is terrible. Imagine working 55 hour weeks performing a sit down intellectual job then sitting down and studying until you are ready to pass out. That was how my summer was. Just today I received the score of one of the two tests I took this summer and I passed! I’m 1/4 a CPA right now and it feels amazing.
I really enjoy studying theology. It’s frustrating for me because I don’t have the time that I wish I could to sit down and read some Calvin or Lewis or Driscoll, etc. All I have time to read is accounting related stuff and let me tell you that is very uninteresting 90% of the time. I try to listen to podcasts when I can, but I do attend a really good church here in Knoxville. The teaching at Fellowship Church never ceases to amaze me. It’s not about the band that plays or the number of people that attend, it’s about Christ Jesus.
I hope this gives you a little more background on me and where I come from when I write certain things. I didn’t start this to blog about my life (but obviously it happens) but to bring you some perspective on Christian music. It’s funny. I’ve got a ridiculous ear for music. I can identify a song in less than two seconds based on the baseline, etc. I can’t sing which might be why I don’t enjoy Chris Tomlin as much as everybody else… his range is simply too high for me to sing along. I can play a little guitar but it doesn’t seem to be something worth me pursuing. But I do love listening to music, good music. And that is why I do this.
June 14, 2009
In anticipation for a move, I’ve allowed myself to go without an internet connection for a few, maybe 3 weeks or so. I didn’t think it would be that tough because I’ve never completely relied on facebook as a means for communication, and if I don’t complain about Christian music the world will still go on. Needless to say it felt like living in pre-internet dominant life… like 1995. Oddly enough I did find myself watching movies on VHS, a correlation or just an unwillingness to purchase Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on DVD? So as far as I can tell from my drive from Knoxville to Nashville and from Nashville to Atlanta, not much has changed in CCM. I did hear a few unheard before (by me) songs in Nashville which is encouraging, but I don’t recall if they were good.
So is there any good CCM out there? You tell me.
I’ve been in Atlanta since Wednesday, and I won’t be leaving until this coming Friday. I’m never in a car, and so I’m not in a radio friendly environment. Oddly enough I’ve been dwelling on some songs by Chris Tomlin and Casting Crowns. If you have read nearly anything I have written, then you have a decent chance of knowing that I am not a fan; however, I do respect their ministry and them as artists. I find myself singing their songs in my head, which has to be better than the many terrible alternatives that my mind could be thinking of. They’re causing me to dwell on whatever is pure, noble, etc. So they are fulfilling their purpose of singing a song that keeps me focused on Christ… and I honestly did not see that one coming. Props.
Derek Webb could have released his album by this point online, and I would not have known (due to the offlining). I have heard some buzz that we can expect something more substantial by early July. Relient K should be contributing some new sweet sounds in October.
Meanwhile I came across a video from Derek Webb that I is applicable to the purpose of this blog, see below.
A good friend of mine recommended John Mark McMillan. JMM is an unsigned artist, but he sounds similar to Matt Kearney. Click his name to go to his Myspace. I found him very relaxing and fun, but I’ll try to give him a more detailed review in the future.
Some fun experiences today: Chatting with an executive of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Let me just say that there seemed to be a thousand Presbies flocking at the hotel here for the Big Tent Conference. Now when I kick it Presbyterian, I try to kick it PCA, but that’s not what this story is about. We had an interesting conversation about doctrine and how some denominations and churches miss the point of focusing on Jesus. I wish this conversation could be had with the executives of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Congregational Church, the United Methodist Church, the Church of Christ (but we’d probably argue more about Christian music), etc. Possibly, if this conversation about focusing on Christ could be had with those that lead the organizations that govern the churches, it could trickle down into the churches and we could be more like what the Apostles established and less like what our non biblical traditions/limitations dictate. Now I’m not saying our conversation is going to reform the PCUSA, but if we aren’t talking about Jesus then we are probably just wasting our breath.
May 21, 2009
Shane Bertou is doing a great job of keeping everyone updated on Derek Webb’s most interesting release of the Stockholm Syndrome. If you are interested in hunting down the clues (and want to do it the easy way), see http://shanebertou.wordpress.com/2009/05/19/stockholm-syndrome-marketing-as-performance-art/.
May 19, 2009
Before I get into the Jars of Clay concert last night, I’ll give you a little update on Derek Webb’s Stockholm Syndrome project yet to be released due to a dispute with his record label. He has sent out two messages to his fans sort of explaining the situation with the label. I say “sort of” because he essentially says he can’t really talk about it. He did say that the dispute is over one particular song that Derek feels passionate about that has a lot to do with race and sexuality. That’s scarey because I do not know what Derek is going to say in the song. He has since then reported that he will not be using his twitter account for updates and has created a new twitter account named “ssyndrome”. He seems to be dishing out clues about something to somebody, but I haven’t figured out what is going on. As far as I know the label trouble is real; however, I think he has turned this into a marketing opportunity to get people excited about the album’s release. It seems to be working. This morning when I started following ssyndrome, I was one of like 600. Now there are over 3000. To read the messages that he sent out to fans, go to derekwebb.com. From what I heard him say live about the album, it is almost purely digital with the possiblity of a little bit of guitar. He said he was bored and wanted out from what is the typical. I bet Mute Math could identify. On to the Jars of Clay Concert… Read the rest of this entry »
May 18, 2009
I’m into lyrics… it bothers me when I see or hear, which ever happens first, scripture used when it is not completely appropriate. You might also know if you have read any of my posts that I am not a fan of Francesca Battistelli’s CCM #1 hit “Free To Be Me”. Here’s yet another reason with a visual aid. Read the rest of this entry »
May 11, 2009
Despite how the title reads, this is actually a positive review. First, please notice the quick updates to the right side of this. That serves to quickly update any readers of news or stuff that happens that doesn’t warrent a post at that instant. The Derek Webb concert was great. The Ellery opened for him, and they were really good live. Try their MySpace to hear what they sound like in the studio. Derek brought the folk as usual and took almost all requests. His new studio projet is called Stockholm Syndrome and should come out this week; however, as Derek explained to us… his label has some issues on the content of the album and so he might be forced to have it released through a different medium. I would guess he would release it through NoiseTrade.com which is a website set up where people can download artists’ music for free by referring 5 people or paying what you want for it.
I bought the new Jars of Clay album The Long Fall Back to Earth Extended Edition which includes 2 remixes and “The Story Behind the Songs” video which should really help me understand their vantage point playing the songs. Upon the first listen-through, I really loved the album. It was very chill, a sound I had only really appreciated from bands with the letter U and the number 2 and Coldplay. So I’ll try to go through the album a few more times to give you a substantial review and see how great the lasting appeal is. I also purchased the new Remedy Drive album and the new Anberlin album for $5 from Amazon.com. They have 50 albums that are offered at this price, with some Christian bands represented. I haven’t had an opportunity to get to those albums either, but I usually only listen to music when I drive, and I guess I haven’t driven far enough anywhere to knock these albums out, much less my podcasts.
This post is dedicated to reviewing some of Jon Foreman’s work, namely Read the rest of this entry »
May 8, 2009
In case you were wondering. Relient K just announced that their new album that is supposed to come out this year will be named “Forget And Not Slow Down” and is also the name for a title track on the album. It should be interesting to hear what this band will produce as a full length album with their new drummer and a few years more experience.
April 30, 2009
The Dove Awards were a little while ago, but count it because Casting Crowns took home Band of the Year for the 4th straight time. I’m not surprised, also see my post entitled “Send A Message.” That’s sort of incredible because there are quite a few bands out there and typically full length LPs aren’t released every year. So while I do not personally like the music of Casting Crowns, I do admire their accomplishments both in music and in ministry. A complete list of Dove 2009 winners can be found here at doveawards.com.
Brandon Heath is the latest artist to win New Artist of the Year as well as Read the rest of this entry »
April 17, 2009
So I’m going to fight back… slowly… possibly and most likely insignificantly against bad music on the weekend 22 by joining their “Hit” Music Crew. What they do with this information and the impact of my opinions are totally up to them, but I’m going to try never-the-less. So what does make a really great song, one that does not make me immediately turn the station (also see/hear the weekend 22’s number one song for the nth week… “Free to Be Me”)? For me it has to do with the lyrics and music, but I guess that’s pretty obvious, I mean what more is there to a song? But quality in both is hard to come by. What is more powerful over the listener, the music or the lyrics?
On the surface, it’s clearly the music because if the song sounds terrible, why would you listen? But have you ever listened to the lyrics and wondered why you were listening? There are plenty of good sounding songs with less than stellar songs (also see my post “Let’s Dance…”). These lyrics effect us, not only the mainstream songs that inspire people to do some pretty sinful, but especially the religiousongs. I’m willing to bet (which was totally inspired by one of those mainstream songs) that lyrics come to most Christians’ minds in situations before scripture does. Is that a bad thing? Maybe and probably Read the rest of this entry »