Thrice – Of Dust and Nations

“Of Dust and Nations” is my favorite song by rock band Thrice. The melody and riffs come together in a haunting but mesmerizing way, and only after you’re already drawn in do you realize that the poetry in their lyrics are the true appeal of the song, delivered with wonderful force by the lead singer.

“Step out from time, see the dust of nations.
Step out from time, hear the stars’ ovation.

Saturn will not sleep until the sand has made us clean.
Still we stack our stones and bury what we can.
But it all will be undone. Nothing built under this sun,
will ever stand before the endless march of sand.”

“The Other Promise” – Kingdom Hearts

One of my favorite tracks from one of my favorite franchises. Purely instrumental, with a piano overlay that immediately pours into you a cocktail of mystery, wonder, and ominous foreboding. I could love the song alone just for that. Alas, the fates would determine that it becomes much more. A flute enters the fray, stirring your heart and the beginning of a transformation. The song quickly ascends as strings arise through the melody and more power starts flooding through each note.

Described in one line: I read this song as a powerful, but uncertain hope to a long and desperate battle.

P.S. Super pumped for the long-awaited third installment to the primary series. Bring it.

A Note on the Grammys

This post does not belong to me. I found it through a chain of facebook links and the original author is one Matt Gilman, an individual that I do not know.  As a rule of thumb, I typically steer clear of the Grammy’s or anything associated with them, but I found this a satisfying and worthwhile read.  Enjoy.
– – – – –
OK…(sigh)…#theGrammys

I feel like I can’t stay silent on this one. I’ve read so many posts in the last 24 hours in favor of and in opposition to last night’s ceremony. So what’s one more opinion huh?

Firstly, as a musician myself, the Grammys always intrigue me. I honestly don’t listen to secular music very often. In my line of work I’m surrounded by so much music all the time so when I’m in the car or at home I often opt to enjoy the peace and quiet while I can get it. But I’m always curious to know what’s “in” these days.

Oh, and just to set some of your minds at ease, this is not going to be an “anti secular music” post. So let your guards down a little. To be honest, there are some secular artists that I really enjoy…(gasp!). I have even been known to some as a (dare I say it?) Belieber! Yes….I do enjoy the Biebs. Do I endorse his lifestyle? Absolutely not…especially after this last week. But did I go see his most recent movie on opening night with my whole extended family, of whom one member carried a Justin Bieber action figure (ahem…..Taylor Christian)? Absolutely YES!!! And I liked it!!!!

I like One Direction. Let’s face it! They’re good! Justin Timberlake is an incredible performer. Miley Cyrus, as hurt and confused and misguided as she may be, has a great voice. Let’s get old school….I enjoy a good “N’sync Vs. Backstreet Boys” debate (N’sync….duh).

My point is I don’t think the general concept of secular music is bad or evil. If I wrote a song about a chair it would definitely be considered secular. Is it evil? No…it’s a chair people. But it is secular nonetheless.

But what I’ve noticed trending in these last few years as I’ve watched the Grammys is a competition between certain artists (not all of them) to see who can push the envelope the most. Who can create the most headlines? Who’s risqué outfit is going to cause the most controversy (Beyonce)? How far can we cross the line on sexual preference (Macklemore “Same Love”)? How many obscenities can I fit into my song that won’t be bleeped out on national television? And I can’t help but think that they know exactly what they’re doing. There is a HUGE agenda being pushed right now by the leaders of the music industry. And it is getting more and more perverse, in some cases demonic, and just downright gross. Let’s recognize this. Let’s not be naive about it.

And these are the ones that our children, the future of our nation, are listening to. These are the songs that our kids will come home from school singing.

Music will shape the minds of the next generation…for the better OR for the worse.

Why?

Because, as human beings, we were created by God to have an emotional response to music. It’s in us. It’s in our DNA. Whether or not you can sing, or whether or not you can play an instrument, you cannot deny the effect that music has on the human heart. Our emotions dictate our morals. Our morals dictate our convictions. Our convictions dictate how we learn, teach, parent, instruct, how we look at politics, etc. I think for everyone, there has been a song or multiple songs that you’ve heard at some point in your life that have “Wowed” you…maybe it was the lyrics, or the melody, or the instrumentation, or the beat. Music has the power to dictate our emotions. Some music really makes me happy. Some can help me relax. Some music can make me cry. There are so many ways music can affect us. It can be our greatest asset, or our greatest downfall depending on how we use it.

Again, I have nothing against the general concept of secular music. Some of it is just plain fun to listen to. And I think that is ok. But let’s use some common sense. Let’s be careful what we are feeding our spirits on. Look at the lyrics of some of the songs that are the most popular right now. Songs that slide in under the radar because they have a “good beat”.

Now, let’s get to the reason for my rant.

This is so personal to me. Not just because I’m a musician myself, though that’s a part of it, but because playing music and singing is the number one way that I connect with Jesus. All throughout scripture, old and new testaments, there are accounts of the faithful singing their praises, lamenting in song, rejoicing with loud clanging cymbals, angelic choirs, the saints gathered around the throne singing songs, thousands of musicians and singers in David’s tabernacle, the Heavenly throne room scene described in Revelation 4 is filled with antiphonal songs or chants between four living creatures and 24 elders that worship God night and day without rest….the list goes on and on.

GOD IS MUSICAL!!! And guess what…we were created in His image…which means WE ARE MUSICAL!!!!!

Music is so precious to Him. And as a worship leader it is so precious to me as well. Not only because I connect with Him on a deeper level through song, but because I’ve seen first hand, almost on a daily basis, how a song can change a life. I’ve seen people with hard hearts break under the conviction of the Holy Spirit while listening TO A SONG. I’ve seen kids who have grown up feeling worthless and devalued their whole lives living in pain and shame and feeling condemned come to the knowledge of who they are before the Lord while hearing the lyrics TO A SONG. I’ve seen people with real physical ailments completely healed because of the power of the Holy Spirit that rested on them THROUGH A SONG.

I met a woman once who willingly gave herself to prostitution for years and years. She eventually heard about Jesus and chose to give her life to Him. But she told me that even after that moment she still could never forget the shame of her past because of what she had done. But one day she heard my song “Every Captive Free” and she said “the shame lifted off her shoulders like a heavy weight.” And it never came back. I don’t say that to “toot my own horn”. I only mention that story because through it I got to experience first hand the power of what singing the Word of God can do. It’s amazing. It’s life giving.

IT’S HEART CHANGING!

And so much of what God intended in the creativity and musicality of human beings has been taken and turned into something completely opposite of what it was intended to be. It has been made wicked and perverse. And I can’t help but think that it pains His heart.

I write this not to condemn anyone who has listened to those aforementioned artists, or those who will. But rather, I write it as an invitation to rethink and ponder what we are feeding our spirits on. What we allow into our hearts will directly affect our daily lives and how we connect to and relate to God Himself.

These are my honest thoughts after seeing the Grammys last night. Undoubtedly, a lot of you may disagree. And that’s ok. Feel free to post your own thoughts if you’d like. But please let’s refrain from personal attacks or explicit language. It is possible to disagree in a godly manner.

Thanks for reading…..
Blessings!

Switchfoot – “Back to the Beginning Again”

(As far as I’m concerned, ignore the background/thumbnail. It is simply the youtube channel and has no relation to the song or artist.)

A track from rock band Switchfoot’s newest album ‘Fading West’. The album doesn’t officially come out until next week, but I’ve been getting my share of samples from youtube and itunes. Preemptive judgment has determined that this is my favorite song on the album. Please give it a listen, as I need to know that I’m not the only one infected by the chorus. It is so. freaking. catchy.

I do not own or associate myself with Switchfoot, their record label or any establishments related to or managing Switchfoot or any of their works.

I See Fire (Ed Sheeran)

The song for this week is one I’ve only recently discovered by Ed Sheeran.  I See Fire was written for the soundtrack of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug.  It has a very melancholic, drifting energy.  I recommend checking out not only the song, but all of Sheeran’s works.  You might already be familiar with some of his songs, such as “The A Team” and “Give Me Love”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mllXxyHTzfg

Fairy Tail Main Theme

And, as I said on Friday, I will also be including a song with every new post that may or may not be related to much of anything. This week’s pick: The Fairy Tail anime theme song. I have mixed opinion with the actual series, but the soundtrack is fantastic. This piece has energetic and powerful guitar riffs, accompanied by bagpipes and some quality choir. Rocking magical fairy style.
(I don’t own anything, though I sometimes wish I did.)