May 11, 2009

I Hate All Your Show

Posted in Christian, Christian Music, Christianity, Reform tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:29 pm by Bryant

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 “Your Love Is Stronger” and “Instead of a Show”.  You can hear these two songs for free here off his MySpace album page.  Within the span of a year, the lead singer of Switchfoot, Jon Foreman, put out a series of 4 EPs of solo greatness to write songs that more reflect his beliefs and musical talent.  The product was 24 songs that are divided into the four seasons.  The EPs were somewhat consolidated onto a 12 songs album called Limbs And Branches.  The first song on this album is the first of his solo work that I heard on the radio called “Your Love Is Stronger”.

“Your Love Is Stronger” is essentially the Lord’s Prayer set to violins and steady strumming of guitar.  The Prayer is augmented by Jon noticing God’s beauty in nature (which is how he makes himself known).  The tone of Foreman is almost somber, but is more relaxed as if he were in his quiet place praying to God.   It is a reflective song and is one of my favorites on the radio right now.  People who are frustrated with Switchfoot’s “lack of Jesus” in their music should listen to his solo work.  It’s not that Switchfoot isn’t a Christian band, but a band of Christians that will sing about the problems of the world, happiness, sorrow, love, politics, and their faith.  But Christian people who sing non Christian music is a debate for another post, which is hopefully coming soon.

Oh the next song is a fun one called “Instead of a Show”.  Please take a few minutes to listen to it here.  Below are the lyrics:

I hate all your show and pretense
The hypocrisy of your praise
The hypocrisy of your festivals
I hate all your show
Away with your noisy worship
Away with your noisy hymns
I stomp on my ears when you’re singing ’em
I hate all your show

Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show

Your eyes are closed when you’re praying
You sing right along with the band
You shine up your shoes for services
There’s blood on your hands
You turned your back on the homeless
And the ones that don’t fit in your plan
Quit playing religion games
There’s blood on your hands

Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show
I hate all your show

Let’s argue this out
If your sins are blood red
Let’s argue this out
You’ll be one of the clouds
Let’s argue this out
Quit fooling around
Give love to the ones who can’t love at all
Give hope to the ones who got no hope at all
Stand up for the ones who can’t stand at all, all
I hate all your show
I hate all your show
I hate all your show
I hate all your show

Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show
I hate all your show

So, wow.  Any Christian should know that asking for justice is probably not something they want to do because we all deserve death and Hell.  Singing “I hate all your show” cracked me up and greatly confused me at first.  At first listen is seems as if Foreman is trying to channel Bob Dylan, which is a major influence on him and the inspiration behind much of Switchfoot’s Nothing Is Sound.  The song sounds more Jewish than Christian, and there’s a very good reason for that, a lot of it was written by a Jew.  Much of the lyrics came from Amos 5:21-24 which says,

21“I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
22Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
I will not look upon them.
23Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
24But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

So there’s the inspiration behind that song which makes it fun.  This is a rebuking song that we should heed.

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