June 14, 2009

1995?

Posted in Christian, Christian Music, Christianity, Reform, The Church tagged , , , , , , at 12:24 am by Bryant

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 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 Read the rest of this entry »

April 30, 2009

No I will never be the same, unlike the band of the year award

Posted in Christian, Christian Music, Reform, The Church tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:28 pm by Bryant

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

I’ll say the words that rattle your nerves…

Posted in Christian, Christian Music, Christianity tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:23 am by Bryant

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 »

April 10, 2009

Jesus paid it all, and thanks for Heaven

Posted in Christian, Christian Music, Christianity, Reform, The Church tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:58 pm by Bryant

Sometimes I wonder about the focus of our worship.  I sit through some churches that sing more about Heaven and about how great it will to be there so we can see all of the people we have lost and can enjoy the reward than the one who made it possible to be in Heaven.  I see people “accept” Jesus as their Lord and Savior because of a sermon that spoke of fear of hell and not fear of God.  Are we that selfish?  Now I know the answer to that is yes, but we eat this stuff up.  I’m not sure if it is wrong to sing about Heaven in and of itself, but everything put ahead of Christ and the holiness of God is an idol, even characteristics of God that are put in front of holiness (see Idol of Love by Greg Pinkner).  I’m just not sure of our motives to have salvation.  I get some of it.  I sure don’t want to go to hell, but I see the reward of Heaven as getting to be able to worship Christ in all his glory without all of the sin that separates me from a pure relationship with Him.  Is that not enough?  Christianity is more than not going to hell; it is pursuing, trying to love, and trying to glorify the One who first loved us.  Obviously Heaven is important as Jesus talks about how he is preparing a place for us, but let’s not lose focus of the Way, the Truth, and the Light.

Heaven-worship sounding music is one of the things I don’t like about much of the music we sing in Church.  There seems to be a break down of honesty in worship music.

Oh worship music.  Hymns or Choruses? Witnessing a church move from hymns to choruses is quite the sight.  I’ve heard it been put as the “Shout to the Lord” stage.  The hymns the churches are moving away from leave much to be desired as well.  C.S. Lewis called them “fifth rate poetry set to sixth rate music.”  If they don’t have sound hymns, then they probably won’t have sound choruses.  Let’s dive in Read the rest of this entry »

April 5, 2009

Let’s Dance Back and Forth

Posted in Christian, Christian Music tagged , , , at 10:18 pm by Bryant

Another week has passed which brings us a “fresh” Weekend 22.  No surprises at #1 this week with Francesca Battistelli’s “Free to be me” reigning for the 4th straight week.  Each time I hear the song I realize that it may not be all that bad.  After all it could be my general disliking of artists that sound like Sara Bareilles (specifically in “Love Song”).  Francesca’s previous song “I’m Letting Go” drove me crazy hearing it on the radio once every car ride.  Again, it’s mostly the radio that causes me not to like these artists.  But I’m not so sure who is to blame: the radio who forces us to listen to it or the people that keep requesting it because once an hour isn’t enough.  Still I think Jars of Clay “Two Hands” is a far superior song and thankfully gained 3 spaces to #10.

Oh Weekend 22, last week they premiered a “future hit” for Read the rest of this entry »

April 1, 2009

It’s all because of Jesus…

Posted in Christian, Christian Music, Christianity, The Church tagged , at 3:11 pm by Bryant

I love Christian music.  It combines my love of Christ and my love of music.  Unfortunately I find myself getting angry at what I hear on Christian Radio and even at some churches.  Ever wonder if Christian music and worship misses the point?  I know I do.  And even if it doesn’t miss the point as much there is a decent chance the music will try to take you into what I call “the Pit of Despair” and leaves you with negative feelings and confusion.

We live in a time where worship is the 30 minutes of standing and singing in church before we sit down.  Our butts in the chairs mean worship is over.  Our eyes reading scripture and our ears listening to a spiritual leader speak of our Lord and Savior mean worship is over. We forget that worship is more than music before church, it is the pursuit of meeting with God.

We then leave the church, get in our cars and Read the rest of this entry »