Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ohh Music, Wherefore Art Thou Music...?

Surprise surprise, I love music.

Let me stress that again;


If you read my 100th blog, you'll have seen that I have a huge love and admiration for a number of artists. And through the course of 2009, there was a significant growth in my admiration. And upon seeing some of my friends writing posts based on new albums and what not, I thought it would only be right if I gave my two cents.

And so begins my mammoth task of sifting through the proverbial mountain of new music that has come across in the past 12 months or so. However, I do wish to point something out. I love Jesus. *Gasp!* Really? I hadn't noticed from the reference to Jeremiah at the top of your blog, writing consistently for about 6 months on the work of the're kidding me!?

Shocking as it may seem, it is in fact true. But without spinning off into a tangent, I must add the following addendum. Just because I love Jesus, doesn't mean that I have to love Christian music. There are a lot of wing nut Christians out there who have crazy theologies who write music. And while I'm not saying that I don't love them, I do, what I am saying is that people need to be discerning when it comes to music. It just so happens that I do love Christian music, because the band I listen to are quite sane in their doctrinal beliefs...And because I've sounded like a pastor guy talking about doctrinal beliefs, chances are you've lost interest. Ohh well...

So over the past 12 months, the music that I'll write about has been split into two categories. 1st being artists that I already know and love releasing new albums. The other section is where artists that I never knew about suddenly came into my field of vision. Hopefully I'll get both done so that you'll still be alive by the time you come to comment.

So new albums first off. Well there have been quite a lot of new albums. Muse's "The Resistance," U2's "New Line On The Horizon," Skillet's "Awake," and so on...but here I hope to write about the albums which to me stuck out this year. That's not to say the above albums aren't good, they just aren't as good as the others. Truth be told, I wanted to write this quite a bit back so that I could consider "Brand New Eyes," and while it is a cracking album, it doesn't have the spark that the other albums do.

So let's kick things off with a band who you may have vague recollection of, Mute Math and their new release "Armistice." The reason why you might recognise them is the fact that their single from their album, "Spotlight" featured in the "blockbuster film" twilight. Yes, I despise the series so much it doesn't deserve inverted commas of capitalisation. But I digress.

I'll openly admit that Mute Math is not everyone's cup of tea. Quite the opposite in fact. Consider it a ix of techno rock, with dashes of Paramore driving beats, and lyrics to match any John Mayer song (more on him later). Its an odd blend. What I think drew me to the album so much is the maturity of it. Listen to their first album, a masterpiece in its own right, and listen to "Armistice" and you'll see where I'm getting at. For a band that's as original as Mute Math, there is a lot of depth and passion behind the lyrics. Honestly I could recommend the whole album, but I'll give you verse to one of the songs, entitled "Lost Year;"

Hold on to the way we started,
How it all should've gone,
Somewhere love was disregarded

And it all came undone, undone.

'Cause nothing's a breeze,
We suffer, we bleed,
For two hearts to beat as one.
We learn as we go,
At least now we know,
Something we can't become, become.

Second band that has delivered some new piece of work to the fray its not The Fray, but rather Thousand Foot Krutch, or TFK for short. I'm not gonna lie, I do occasionally love to head myself admittedly, but still...and what I've loved about TFK is the fact that they can be deep, while still making you want to start a mosh pit.

"Welcome To The Masquerade" is no different, and in my opinion is their finest work yet. From the driving beats of "Bring Me To Life," to the raw intensity of "E For Extinction," there's something for everyone. If you're not big into the whole wanting to make your ears bleed, then they satisfy your needs too with the deep and meaningful "Forward Motion." What stuck with me about this album is the cleanness of it. It feels so much more refined than a lot of what I've heard this year. Musically it doesn't put a foot wrong, all the elements are there to keep it solid throughout. As a sample, here's the opening lyrics to "Forward Motion;"

Let's keep it moving in a forward motion,
If we can hold on, we can cross this ocean
There's no sense in lettin' our emotions
Get in the way, until the door keeps closin'

If we sort this out, would we know how,
To live like we were different,
I know we've both had some doubts,
whether things would come around,
And look at us now

I'm not trying to tell you how to live your life...

And so we come to the final album in this section. And it wouldn't be right if I didn't put this on here. Decyfer Down aren't a well known band. I'd be very surprised if you've heard of them outside of me mentioning them to you. And yet they have some of the finest talent for producing top notch music, while still remaining true to their faith, and packing every last drop of their new album "Crash" with passion.

Again, this is on the rocker side of things. However, I would implore you to not let that put you off. "Crash" can be heavy in places, but not to the point of, say, Metalica heavy. What I mean by this is that the music they've composed, while being in a rock format, is packed with depth and emotion. Out of all the albums and artists that are on this post, these guys deserve an award for crafting some of the finest pieces of music I've heard in a long time, while still remaining true to the God they love. From the complexity of the title track "Crash," to the all out good time tune of "Ride With Me," to what is possibly my favorite CCM song of the year, the absolute emotion and power of "Fading." Listen to that one song, I beg of you. You will not regret it;

It starts with one time to fit in
Addiction slowly setting in
I drifted off into dismay

Eyes looking back at me
I can't even see your face
The pressure is closing in
It's taken me again

Wait, it's all that I can take
And every single day
A part of my soul is fading
But now by letting go somehow
Unshackled and unbound
I'm calling out your name
I'm fading
So save me
From what I've become...

Truly each of the above artists deserve a look at. However, these were not the only artists musically to catch my eye. Over the course of the past 12 months, I've discovered artists which I have never heard off before. Both of the artists that are going to be mentioned aren't new. They've been around for about 4-5 years roughly. So they aren't new to the scene. Its just taken me some time to get around to them.

These will be more brief than the above artists, but the first one that I discovered which has spoken volumes to me in the small amount of time that I have listened to her music is a gal called Brooke Fraser. If you're into Hillsong, you'll know that Brooke is the women who wrote "Hosanna," a favorite worhip song among our peers. If you didn't know, well...surprise!

What I love about Brooke is her depth and complexity. That's a phrase that seems to be cropping up a lot in this post, but it really is why I love her music. This is not forgetting the fact that she is a freaking awesome guitar singer. And let's not forget her voice! Aww! To me, when I listen to my favorite song of hers "CS Lewis Song," her passion is so vibrant I know what, I don't think I can come up with an analogy that would do justice to her;

If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy,
I can only conclude that I, I was not made for here.
If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary,
The of course I'll feel nude when to where I'm destined I'm compared.

Speak to me in the light of the dawn,
Mercy comes with the morning.
I will sigh and with all creation groan,

As I wait for hope to come for me.

The final artist that I'll mention really should need no mention at all. I'd be surprised if you haven't heard of John Mayer. Mind you, I hadn't heard of him before this year, so I'm surprised at myself in that case.

Out of all the guitarists I've heard, Mayer far exceeds all of them. And not only does he have the most incredible male vocals I've heard in a long time, his songs, despite him saying are no way spiritual, have many spiritual layers, and contain such a depth and understanding, that I've often questioned if he really meant that statement. My favorite song at the moment has to be "Covered In Rain," with absolutly fantastic guitar work, and deep lyrics and vocals to back it up;

In these days with the world gettin colder
She spends more time sleeping over

Than I’d planned

Tonight we're gonna order in

Drinkin wine and watchin CNN
It’s dark, I know
But then again, it's the brightest thing I've got

When I'm covered in rain, rain
When I'm covered in rain, rain, rain, rain

And so there you have it. From old time favorites of mine releasing cracking new albums, to brand new artists in my eyes displaying huge amounts of talent. If I was to recommend anyone of the new albums, I'd recommend "Armitice," simply because its very different to everything else that is floating around out there. And as for the artist...well, seen as most of you have probably had some form of contact with John Mayer, give Brooke Fraser a go. Trust me, you won't regret it.

Let Him be the Nexus of your life...