Release Date: September 27th 2019
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Maybe it’s just a surmising conclusion and what I see doesn’t mean anything at all, or maybe there’s a pattern here. But what I have seen and realised over the last decade or so is that talent competitions, and more specifically American Idol, have produced some of the most emotive, heartfelt, talented and compelling artists this modern generation has ever seen. I know such a claim is by all means bold, and many, many people could disagree with me, and that’s ok. But I’m only going by what I’ve seen. Artists like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Kris Allen, Scotty McCreery, Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, Danny Gokey, Phillip Phillips and Clay Aitken have all had varying amounts of succuss post-Idol, all of whom have given to us songs of hope, encouragement and challenging words to think and process over. Enter in another artist, one that I firmly believe has made a mark on music in general over the last decade or so. While still not very as known or even as popular as other mainstays like OneRepublic, Coldplay, Switchfoot and Evanescence (all of whom are very similar to this artist I’m about to unpack today), American Idol season 5 finalist (4th place) and rock band Daughtry exploded onto the music scene with their eponymous band (Daughtry is lead singer Chris Daughtry’s last name, and their first album is indeed called Daughtry!) way back in 2006. Fast forward to 2019 and they sit as high as no. 3 on the list of most successful artists post Idol (#1 and #2 are occupied by none other than Carrie and Kelly respectively!), all the while delivering songs of importance as the band themselves have changed what it means to create great rock music with a solid message and an inspirational edge. Daughtry have, I reckon, shown us a great example of what it means to thrive in the rock industry that isn’t all about inspiration or even anything to do with a wholehearted message at this point. Which is a shame. Nevertheless, Chris Daughtry and co. have decided to make good music as well as impart values upon society, that we all need to strive and live by. Chris has given to us a band that is truly underrated, and one that makes me smile anytime I listen to them. While I am still on the fence as to whether they have influenced music as a whole, I know this for sure- they have influenced a lot of their fans, myself included, and with lists like this being as subjective as they are, Daughtry’s presence upon such a list like this can be determined as controversial, and maybe that’s ok.
Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I feel that artists can be too good for the period of the time in which they were impactful and prevalent in. Hear me out though. Take this new artist Bryan Adams for example, of which I am going to be discussing. Amongst the sea of countless other music artists, one could assume and think that this person Bryan hardly stands tall amongst the rest at all- besides, I’m sure everyone has heard of artists like Rascal Flatts, Owl City, Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain, Phil Collins and Ed Sheeran, to name a few. But Bryan Adams? Ok, maybe the people who indeed grew up with music from the 1980s have heard his presence on the radio, but for the average commonfolk who has just been listening to the radio all these years and nothing else, can an artist like Bryan cut through all the supposition and assumptions, and make his own music known in a world where image and how you project yourself can in many ways be more important on a fan-based level than the actual songs and meanings of them in the first place? Let me say from the outset- Bryan Adams is a legend in his own right. He is a influencer, a musician, a singer-songwriter, and a passionate guy who wants to connect feeling and emotion through the way he knows how- through music. But had it not been for this blog series, and me taking a gamble on hearing a few popular songs from the 1980s as influence for this series in general, I would not have heard Bryan and his music at all- except for his crossover hits ‘Summer of ‘69’ and ‘Everything I Do (I Do It For You)’, which is a tremendous shame. I would’ve carried on my life listening to what I’ve been listening to- nothing wrong with that; but looking at my own life and the musical tastes I have now compared to even at the beginning of 2019, I’ve taken more risks, which is a good thing. Bryan Adams is one such risk, and a well-received one. For Bryan’s knack for creating 1980s songs that still have that aura and connection about them now as I’m sure the songs had back then is nothing short of genius and maybe, God-given. Bryan’s songs have influenced a generation far and wide, and though he may even be reaching a demographic group on a generation level higher than myself, the songs nevertheless have profound meaning, asserting my view that he is one of my top 5 most surprising (in a good way) artists I’ve come across in my blog series of 32 artists (out of 100, and then a further 20 world-class artists) thus far.
Release Date: September 13th 2019
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Release Date: May 10th 2019
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
If you were to tell me a year ago that one of my frequented genres of music over the year would be country music, I’d tell you to rack off, laugh in your face, and say ‘you got the wrong guy’. No seriously, prior to this year, I was dead-set opposed to quite possibly a lot of things country- except for a few Carrie Underwood songs here and there. For me, I assumed what country music would be and what it would be like. I didn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, and so when the time came for me to compile a 100 top influential artist’s list, it was always interesting and eye-opening to say the least, whenever a country artist came around. Now here I am in October, 30 blog entries into this year-long (and most certainly longer!) project, and I’ve listened to my fair share of country music in that time period- Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, The McClymonts, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, even some odd few Kelly Clarkson songs. And what is my assessment of country music as of right now? It’s not too bad. In fact, the country that is indeed influential today, the artists that have left a stamp on music history- their music’s not that bad. Now my opinion about country music from people who are up-and-coming today may be a different story, and maybe I won’t be a great judge of artists of the ‘new’ country music. Nevertheless, what I have observed about country music from the 1990s/2000s (much of the country artists I’ve heard are from that particular era!), is the authentic and emotive nature of the songs and melodies. And now here in my 31st entry, I’ve decided to unpack yet another country artist- this time, trio Rascal Flatts have been blasted through my ears through the last week or so. In this short, albeit quick time that I have been able to make an holistic judgement, I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate the band and their undertakings of songs that are fun, but also songs that mean something too. A group that is standing tall in country music today, I’ve been further reminded of how real, honest, and emotive such a genre as this can get, and that my assumptions about country were dead wrong. A reminder that all of us can be better people whenever we assume less; Rascal Flatts are indeed a band to check out if you enjoy more older-school country music, artists who would’ve started out in the early 2000s than the artists currently in the Billboard charts today!
I love music, I love being a student of music. Now at this point in my life, creatively and my journey musically, I’m still learning, and growing and still a student. I’m still listening to music and when music moves me or inspires me, I try and figure out what it is about that, that moved me and I try to learn from that and incorporate that into what I’m doing creatively. At this point in my life I still think there are things that I have to say that can be very relevant hopefully to millennials and to all of us because there are real connecting points. Yeah there are some things that are unique to our different age brackets but there’s a whole lot more that’s real common ground. I’m trying to stay real connected to that and find that common ground.
When I first started, Christian music was pretty narrowly defined. You’d have your crazy people out there like Steve Taylor who was doing punk rock music but for the most part if you really looked at what was considered Christian music at the time it was pretty inspirational. Even the singer-songwriters weren’t even as prevalent. There were songs that were kind of hymns, big productions, beautiful great songs but it was more narrowly defined as far as what Christian music was. As time has gone on, you had DC Talk come along and said ‘let’s take rap music’- it’s an art form and it’s a style that a lot of people really connect with, let’s take that and use it to proclaim truth and use it to speak messages that are redemptive, and faith filled messages to encourage people. [Now] you have everything from singer-songwriters to rappers to all kinds of different styles and different genres. I think that has grown and also the quality of the music.
In the early days we fought a lot against Christian music being viewed as a sub par. The production wasn’t as good, we didn’t have as much money to try and spend to make the kind of record that they were making in pop and rock ‘n’ roll music. But over the time as the genre has grown and more and more people have connected with it and bought the records and supported the infrastructure, the more and more we were able to really make better quality music, with the sounds of the recording, which allowed it then to grow even more.