You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Music’ category.

As I was working outside this afternoon, listening to my MP3 player while digging up another flower bed, a Warren Zevon song came on.  It was Wild Age, about a rebellious boy.

Mostly when the reckless years end
Something’s left to save
Some of them keep running
‘Til they run straight in their graves

That’s a description of all of us, running from God until we wise up and let Him take over.  Or not.

I wondered if Warren Zevon had a deathbed conversion.  Not that I have found.  Two people in the comments here call him a Christian artist.  Me – I wish he had been his whole life, but I don’t find evidence of it in his songs.

Charles Darwin is another of those who is said to have had a deathbed conversion.  It would be nice, but even the Christian organization Answers in Genesis has debunked the story.

Just so there’s no doubt about me, I make the following statement.

I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.  He saves me from my sins, and it is only through the power of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit that I am able to live my life.  I don’t understand everything – predestination is still kicking around in my head, because my desire to believe in free will conflicts with what the Bible says, so I guess as a Bible-believing Christian I have my answer – but I know that having Jesus as Lord of my life is the only choice.  Living for self doesn’t work.  Living for work doesn’t work.  At the end of life, it’s going to come down to you and God.  And God is always right.  Will you be able to stand boldly before the throne, washed by the blood of Jesus, and reverently say “Hi, Dad.  I’m home!”?  I will.

My own deathbed conversion will be more of a translation – leaving this bald, fat, short-sighted lump of flesh behind, and becoming perfected with God in glory.

It’s just after 2AM Friday morning as I write Thursday’s blog entry.  Busy day at work.  And I still have to take out the trash.

time to take out the trash, you know it’s easy
but it seems harder every time you try to think about it

That’s from the song Time to take out the trash, from the Canadian group Brad Sucks.  The group is into “open source music”, where they release the tracks and encourage remixing.  I really like the Bill Berry mix.  It adds a fun pomposity to a song about taking out the trash.

Sorry for the short entry.  It’s late, and it’s time . . .

Last week I had a chance to see the A&E show Hoarders for the first time.  Interesting.  Challenging.  Bothersome.  Sometimes disturbing.

Some of the people had serious issues that expressed themselves in their hoarding.  Some were able to overcome their compulsions with a little help.  Some had deep, deep problems, that went way beyond what the producers thought they were getting into.

I watched about a show and a half.  I stopped because I didn’t want to spend more of my time watching other peoples’ misery.  Some things should be private.  But I was also get bothered because I could imagine myself in that situation.  I don’t have a whole lot of the messy thing going on (aside from books and music and software), but I can relate to the compulsive side of things.  One lady didn’t want to throw away a cheap soda cup from a fast food place, going and getting it out of the trash.  I have saved books that I may never read.  And no, I don’t blame it on genetics, although perhaps a case could be made.

My compulsiveness comes out in other ways.  I like patterns, having a certain meal that I like to get at each restaurant.  I listen to music an album at a time (shuffle is something for cards, not for music).  And the music I like is occasionally different.

Not exactly weird, so to speak, but a couple standard deviations off what gets radio play.  I’m considering getting Steve Reich’s Different Trains (“a three-movement piece for string quartet and tape”), and I like Laurie Anderson’s Big Science album with its repetitive sounds.  But I really like Phillip Glass.

He has done the soundtracks to several movies (from the plotless Koyaanisqatsi to the horror flick Candyman), and worked with a lot of other artists.  His works are very repetitive and almost mechanical.  But there is a comfort in that to me.  It’s familiar.

I have several of his CDs, and we have been to a concert.  I liked it.  Bettie, not so much.  (And Bettie thinks I didn’t like it at the time, compared to his recorded music.  I like my edited memory better than hers.)

But you might like the music, and here’s a chance to try it out.  Amazon is giving away a sampler of his stuff.  Check it out and leave a reply, if you’re interested.

A quick roundup of what we need and have, according to Christian music.

1)  A teenage fan club.

Superchic[k]’s song Barlow Girls includes this line, right after “Everyone needs to be loved”.  They are portraying the pressure some girls feel and their reaction to it, as opposed to the Barlow Girls, who are

Ordinary girls they don’t live in the fast lane

Emotional content: solid.

Biblical content: Decent.  Not exact, to be sure, but Hebrews 12:1 talks about

we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us

It’s a stretch, but a case can be made.

2) Compassion and forgiveness.

The song Mighty to save, from Hillsong, is a much more traditional song.  We used it last week in worship, and it’s been on the radio.  It talks about the lostness of us all, and the power of Jesus to save us.

Emotional content: good and catchy.

Biblical content: Yes.  Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  As far as the title, Isaiah 63:1 says

Who is this who comes from Edom,
With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,
This One who is majestic in His apparel,
Marching in the greatness of His strength?
“It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

Hard to argue with a quotation.

3) A water buffalo.

Everybody’s got a water buffalo
You know yours is fast, but mine is slow
Oh, where do we get them you ask
I don’t know
But everybody’s got a water buffalo

Originally done by Larry the Cucumber, the Water Buffalo Song has been captivating audiences for years.  When Superchic[k] (them again ) covered the song on the Veggie Rocks CD, the adult population of the world sat up and took notice.

Emotional content: You rock!

Biblical content: Not so much, even checking The Message

Don’t sing out loud while trimming.  Even if it is a Christian song.

The group Page CXVI (that’s one-sixteen, for those of you who don’t do Roman numerals) has released their second album.  To celebrate, they are giving their first album away for a week.

I liked the original album when I reviewed it a year ago.  I still like it, and play it.

Did I mention that this is a free Christian album of very good music?  Grab it.

Browsers are freeOperating systems are freeBooks are free.  Why isn’t music free?

Glad you asked.  And yes, these are all legal.  Glad you care.

The first place I look for free music is Magnatune.  They have a free song every day, a free album occasionally, and you can listen to their music (streaming on-line) as much as you want.  I have purchased several albums from them after listening.

Another good place is Amazon.  They have a free song every day (I occasionally look at them, but I much prefer Magnatune’s taste in music), and loads of free sampler albums.

The Internet Archive has live concerts here and studio music here.  Eclectic (although deep – there are over 7,000 shows by the Grateful Dead) with some bands I’ve heard of (Smashing Pumpkins, Little Feat, New Riders of the Purple Sage) and some I’ll just leave alone (Sun Dried Opossum).

There are other various ones at Artist Direct, incompetech, the Free Music Archive (roll over the “By genre” hotspot), 50 foot wave, Jonathon Roberts, and Anthony Kozar.  All untested.

And then for something completely different, David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Brian Eno took two songs off their My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts project and gave people the raw tracks to remix and share.  And they did, over 250 times.

Finally, two links from my favorite brother.  Other people have looked into the free music thing and gathered links – see the collections from Download Squad and Learning 2.1.  Thanks, Bro.

As I roll through the dozens of free albums I downloaded from Amazon, I found a couple of songs that stood out to me.  Neither of them is in English.

I’m sure my stay in India brightened the path to this one: Mere Dholna (from Saavn celebrates Bollywood)  You can’t have a movie in India without at least four dance numbers.  They could be doing a biography of Mother Teresa and would still do a thingie with too many dancers wearing too little clothing.  None of that changes this song.  It has the fast beat of a dance number, the shrill female singer, and the in-song dialog between the guy and the girl.  No idea what the song or movie is about, but I enjoy it.

The other one is from Çakk1d1 from Turkish Hits Vol. 1.  This is more of an electro-pop piece, and would probably play well in a club.  Sometimes the lyrics almost sound understandable (the words are very clear – just not English).  Nice production value, cleanly played.  The voices are pushed out to the sides, and then collapse to the center on the final line or two.  Aurically interesting.

Last night, while looking for info on the Veggie Rocks CD, I noticed that Amazon was giving away music – a free song every day.  MP3, 256 kbit, no DRM.  Pretty cool.  Once I had downloaded that (no added software downloader for me, thank you), I found other free music they were giving away.  Whole albums!

There’s a Christian music sampler, a Brazilian music sampler, and some other sampler.  Altogether I downloaded over 25 albums and 10 individual songs, for a total cost of zero.  To get albums, though, you do have to install their Amazon music downloader, which feeds into Microsoft’s Windows Media Player.  I still have to find the music and move it to where I want it to be, so I can play it with my simple, free 1by1 music player.

Since I haven’t listened to the music yet, I can’t attest to how good it is.  I stayed away from some heavy metal sampler, and several that were listed as “Explicit” – I’m not bringing junk into my life.  And if I find songs that are offensive, they’re gone as well.

Hope you find something you like.

Or if you’re adventurous, you could go luxury camping.  A resort hotel in California is offering their $200 rooms at $19 a night.  They take out the bed, turn off the air conditioning, and don’t feed you breakfast.  You might argue that it’s still not roughing it – but they also remove the towels, the light bulbs (except for one in the bathroom for safety), and you have to bring your own TP.

I was having a conversation with a co-worker today (phone call – he is in Florida), and he was talking about raising his two sons.  One is 15, the other almost 14.   My friend is a Christian, and is attempting to instill/teach/lead the boys as they grow up to be young men.

We covered a range of topics, and I don’t remember what led to this, but I told him about our church attending the Reds game last Sunday afternoon, and seeing Steven Curtis Chapman do a concert afterwards.  I related to my friend that SCC told the story of his daughter being killed.  It was over a year ago when his 5-year-old adopted daughter was run over – in their driveway.

One of SCC’s sons had missed seeing her, or the girl darted in such a way that the boy ran her over and killed her.  They rushed her to the hospital, but it was too late.  As they were leaving the house on the way to the ER, though, SCC yelled out the window to his son, “God loves you, and your father loves you!”.  In the midst of his own grief, Steven Curtis Chapman was offering grace to his son.

It didn’t stop there.  I’m not sure which son was behind the wheel that day, but both of his sons were on stage with SCC for the concert.  As SCC told the story of the girl’s death, he included the part that she died in her own driveway, but left out the part that his son was the driver.  That’s grace.  And the son was on the stage during this story.  He didn’t get up and apologize again.  He didn’t burst into tears.  I’m sure he felt sorrow, but he had moved past (through?) the anguish.  That’s the result of grace working.

The two boys showed talent.  One was the drummer, and the other one filled in for the bass player (he’d gotten go-to-the-hospital sick about a half-hour before the show).  So we saw the world premier of one of SCC’s kids as a bass player.  I couldn’t tell you whether he was good or not.  He wasn’t terrible.

And the boys are musical anyway.  They have a recorded hit.  The second song on Veggie Rocks is I Love My Lips, by Stevenson.  Get it?  Steven’s sons.  Ha!