Category Archives: Articles

BEST OF 2020- PART 3: TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2020 [JAN-JUNE]

Hey everyone… guess what! Yep, it’s our third post of the best of 2020 series in one day! Definitely making up for lost time! Last time I wrote about our top 30 music videos of 2020 (January-June) and the time before that I wrote about our top 40 songs of 2020 (January-June). Now it’s time to delve into our top 20 albums of 2020 (January-June). Impacting and inspiring songs are special, but whole album near-masterpieces? They’re even more special!  So without further ado, let me present to you all our favourite 20 albums as a site for the past 6 months! So sit back, be inspired, and let these full length projects minister to you during this time of uncertainty!

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BEST OF 2020- PART 2: TOP 30 MUSIC VIDEOS OF 2020 [JAN-JUNE]

Hey everyone… guess what! COVID-19 is still here… and we’re all still quarantined at home. This means that music albums, movies and TV shows have all been put on hold and delayed until a later date when it is safe to film… but that doesn’t mean we can’t jam out to inspiring music videos! This past 6 months have been crazy, but there have been some heartfelt, poigant, emotional and just fun-filled music videos that have debuted. So without further ado, let me present to you all our favourite 30 music videos as a site for the past 6 months! So sit back, be inspired, and let these music videos minister to you during this time of uncertainty!

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BEST OF 2020- PART 1: TOP 40 SONGS OF 2020 [JAN-JUNE]

Hey everyone… guess what! It’s the middle of 2020 already. It’s been such an eventful and crazy year in and of itself- with COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and everything else in between! Amidst the hustle and bustle though… we’ve realised that we have not uploaded one single Best Of 2020 post! I know, it’s unforgiveable really! So let’s not make anymore excuses! Let’s dive back ithrough the past 6 months- as we now let you all know our favourite songs of 2020 thus far. All 40 of them! So sit back, be inspired, and let these songs minister to you during this time of uncertainty!

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BEST OF 2019- PART 13: TOP 40 SONGS OF 2019 [THE ENTIRE YEAR]

Hey everyone… guess what! It’s the middle of 2020 already. A crazy year in and of itself- what with COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and everything else in between! Amidst the hustle and bustle though… we’ve missed posting the last installment of Best Of 2019. While we have posted our favourite songs from each quarter of 2019 here, here, here and here; let’s dive back into the year that was, and rewind 6 months ago- as we now let you all know our favourite songs of 2019. All 40 of them! So sit back, be inspired, and let these songs minister to you during this time of uncertainty!

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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 22: Hunter Hayes

One of my favourite movies trilogies of all time is Back To The Future, filmed in the 1980’s and starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. You can all look up the series on Wikipedia, read the plot and the synopsis of all three movies if you want to. But I suggest that for this iconic movie series, you’d have to trust me on this if you haven’t seen it and go out and buy the DVD or Blu-Ray yourself, so that you could binge what I reckon is one of the most confronting and engaging movies series of all time- even to this day. This series is one of my favourites because of its warmth, heart, comradery, and the fact that it speaks about issues still prevalent today, such as trying to be a better version of ourselves that we were before, standing up for yourself and not letting others walk all over you, and being there for each other through thick and thin just like best friends Marty McFly and Doc Brown. If you want the cliff notes version- the story is about Marty who lives in Hill Valley in 1985, who after witnessing his scientist friend be gunned down and left for dead by terrorists, inadvertently travels back to 1955 in Doc’s time travel car that he created. There he accidently prevents his parents from meeting, and hence the premise of the first film was that Marty would try to get his parents back together all the while ensuring that he could convince Doc to make revisions on the time machine and get him back to the present and back to his life in 1985.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 53: REBECCA ST. JAMES

You know how sometimes you have a plan of what you want to do, and how you’re going to go about it, and then in the end, the plan is uprooted and everything changes in an instant? Maybe that’s how I felt leading up to this blog post that I’m embarking on right now. And if I am to be completely honest, I wasn’t planning on writing about this particular artist today. I had everything planned out- for the next few weeks in fact, and I knew what I was going to write about, and it wasn’t about Rebecca St. James. Nevertheless, God always has His ways of showing up in the 11th hour, in places that you know you may not necessarily expect Him to. And He did- and as I write about Rebecca’s music and how it has been instrumental in my own life, and how the music has shaped my own ethos, beliefs, way of life, and outlook on people in general, I am thankful to how God can even use the things that have impacted us in the past, to remind us indeed of the past, as we understand that the things that have got us from then to now, still impact us to this day, creeping in our everyday lives when we may not think they can. Rebecca’s music has been a blessing to my own life in the last decade and a half since I first heard her passionate vocals in the mid-2000s. An Australian from a big family who uprooted themselves in the early 1990s to settle in to living in America (and Rebecca then subsequently moved into CCM ministry at the early age of 17 in 1994!); Rebecca’s place in Christian music, as well as even music in general has shaped the 1990s and the 2000s in ways that even I know I can’t even fathom- her trademark voice, and her youthful and energetic demeanour is what drew me to her music in the first place, and is what continues to bring me back to her music time and time again as the years continue to roll on.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 52: AMY GRANT

Once upon a time there was a tiny community in the Swiss Alps. This community was in serious trouble. The well that supplied water to the village went dry. The people began to panic. A river was near the community but it was located at the bottom of a deep, deep gorge. Hence no one could reach the water. And it was the middle of summer, so the snow on the mountain had long since melted. There was, however, another well flowing with water across the gorge on the adjacent mountainside. An imaginative young thinker came up with a solution. He built a bridge across the gorge. The villagers were elated. A bucket brigade was formed immediately and the water supply was replenished. Needless to say, the bridge became very important to this group. It was their source of life. They honoured the bridge. They named the bridge after the builder and painted it a beautiful gold. Tinsel was strung from the bridge. Miniature bridges were built and sold in the streets. People wore them on their necks and hung them in the windows. A committee was formed to pay homage to bridge. Only certain people were allowed to walk upon it, and then only on certain days, and then only when wearing certain clothes. The bridge keeper became the most respected and revered position on the mountain. No one could see or cross the bridge without his permission. Unfortunately there were some disputes within the committee. The disagreement centred on whether a canopy should be built over the bridge. So the bridge was closed until a decision could be made. Many villagers died of thirst while the leaders debated.

It’s easy to think that in the above paragraph, what went wrong was that the decisions weren’t made quick enough, or that the committee should’ve been changed earlier, or even the bridge should’ve not been painted…but maybe, just maybe, the real reason why the bridge debacle happened in the first place was that people were putting emphasis, maybe even a resemblance of worship, upon the bridge itself, rather than acknowledge that the bridge was just a means to an end- just a way to receive the water the village desperately wanted? Everyone wanted the spotlight, and everyone wanted to matter, the leaders the most, so rules were made- you can’t walk on the bridge on Sundays and Thursdays because that’s when the founder of the bridge has his quiet time on it, you can’t wear blue or red on the bridge because the bridge founder hates those two colours, bridge visits are to be supervised at all times because…well, who knows what could happen when people walk on the bridge not supervised by the one who created and thought about the bridge in the first place. When we look at it, these rules seem farfetched, and the story itself seems farfetched, but deep down, we all know we can act that way in life. Especially towards our fellow Christian brothers and sisters.

As like how the bridge was respected and worshipped, to the point where there were disputes and arguments about who was to walk on the bridge and what the bridge would look like (and thus people died of thirst while the dispute happened); we as Christians may place more of an emphasis on the process of being a Christian than really be a Christian. What does it mean to be a Christian? Should I have a cross around my neck? Should I try to discuss about God, Jesus and the questions about eternity in every conversation I have with strangers and friends alike? Or should I try to always give words of encouragement to our friends, in the name of love, even if we know they are not in the mood for such a word? Should I have a bumper sticker on my car, or quote bible verses to you when you’re feeling down? What does it really, really mean for us to show God’s love to those around us? Is it to do all these things that I’ve aforementioned, or is it just simply to love without reservation, and be present in the situation? We don’t have to say or do much for them to know God’s love. In fact, sometimes saying a bible verse here and there, or even discussing about Jesus at every moment we have, may often deter people away from wanting to know more about Christ. Because at the end of it all, we will we placing more emphasis on the ‘rules’, rather than the grace that comes from just letting all our preconceived ideas of what a Christian should be, behave and undertake, down before Christ, and allowing Him to shed light on how He wants us to act when we’re in the presence of people who don’t believe in Christ.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 51: ALICIA KEYS

As I reflect upon the 50 blogs I have written so far in my journey of exploring a myriad of musical genres and understanding that regardless of genre, God Himself can use whatever, whomever, and whichever, to show people things about themselves that maybe need to be addressed, or even show people things about Himself that people indeed need to address as well; I’ve come to realise a few things. One things for certain, I don’t know much about music that I initially thought I did coming into this experimental project. I was humbled, in a good way. I delved into the genres of country, exploring the likes of Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood and Shania Twain, to name a few, who have made a tremendous impact on today’s society and music in general, while I also dived deep down into the unknown with the realisation that rap/hip-hop wasn’t as scary as I initially thought, with the exploration of Christian hip-hop (CHH) crossover icon Lecrae. I immersed myself into the pioneers of CCM in artists like DC Talk, Steven Curtis Chapman, Carman and Michael W. Smith; while also taking to the artists that themselves have had quite a big of success in both CCM and mainstream- Switchfoot, Skillet and needtobreathe. Now here I am about to move into my 51st post (wow, already more than ½ way in my journey through this list- then it’s off to the timeless ones!), and I realise this- that the more you don’t know about a certain particular genre, or a certain artist, or the more you realise you don’t know about the things that you don’t know, you start to develop a bit of a hunger to know, to understand, to travel deep within the crevices and cracks of whatever genre you are discovering next, and realise that every musical genre out there, no matter how foreign it may be to you, will still impact someone in the world on their journey in life.

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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 21: Hailee Steinfeld

Have you ever stopped to wonder about influence, impact, popularity, determination, poise, grace, just a general sense of identity, self, command, authority, and how you carry yourself? I reckon it all comes down to confidence, and sometimes acting like you’re successful even if you’re not. But more often than not recently, the thought has indeed crossed my mind of ‘when’ is it in life that we become aware of these big important things that we need to talk about, and ‘when’ is it in life that we start acting as if we do have the ability to change the world in whatever way we’re called to do? The other week I wrote about how in this time of global pandemic and how we as humans are stuck at home quarantining, staying safe and healthy- about how we should try to see the good, the glory in the grind; this past week my thoughts drove back to that Louie Giglio sermon- which by the way I reckon is one of the most relevant sermons you could ever watch this year!- and to the point of when is it that we realise that we ourselves can make a difference in this world, no matter how big or small we are, and no matter how little we think of ourselves?

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 50: SHERYL CROW

‘…sometimes I wonder what would’ve happened if I listened to great bands and songs, and the great albums from said bands, when they actually released, rather than all these years later. How would my music tastes have changed- or would they have stayed the same? How would my outlook on life be, would I be more of an extrovert or an introvert, would my values change or would I still be in the same profession that I am currently in? I know, weird questions, but I truly believe that music and the song that can impact and encourage, influence and challenge; can really change a trajectory of someone depending on when they hear it in their lives. And at a certain point, a song can be a catalyst for change, personal or as a collective, to be something better, to look inward and see what needs to realign and refocus, or what values that is held close, need to be reassessed, and which need to still stay the same. So to answer my own question that I posed earlier…I don’t really know what would’ve happened if I did listen to artists when their respective albums released. I mean, had I did listen to artists like Avril Lavigne, Ronan Keating, U2, Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, even Owl City and Lifehouse, during the times when albums of these said artists released; maybe, just maybe, the wonder and awe, and the unique feeling that comes when discovering a whole discography of a new artist, could be less and less. Because essentially if you follow an artist’s career from year dot, you become accustomed to their music your whole life, as opposed to someone else discovering for the first time a whole discography of an artist they’ve missed out on…’

‘…mainstream music for me has always taken a bit of a back seat throughout my life, and it was only when I heavily invested my time and my intrigue and interest into this blog series that I started to undertake last year, that I truly understood that there was a lot of mainstream music out there that I was missing. That mainstream music was just another avenue of music that God can and does use for Himself to be revealed in our lives whenever we hear the music, either currently of now, or of the years gone by of yesteryear. As I’m about to undertake blog post #40 this week, I have reflected upon the artists I’ve delved into thus far: Delta Goodrem, Lifehouse, Sara Bareilles, Ronan Keating, Owl City, Martina McBride, U2, The McClymonts, Shania Twain, Ed Sheeran, Rascal Flatts, Evanescence, OneRepublic, Tina Arena and Daughtry, to name a few; have all had impacting and influential careers in music over the years. And all of them have been instrumental in the reshaping of my own views of mainstream music since my discoveries of this wide array of music from last year onward. And, all these artists aforementioned are under the label or category of ‘mainstream’ music, or just music that isn’t Christian, or ‘religious’ in any way. And maybe, just maybe, mainstream music doesn’t have to be as bad as I myself originally thought it was back in high school. It was only last year that I was stretched in my understanding and comprehension of what good music really looked like, and that it was ok for me to enjoy music that wasn’t Christian in any way, and that God Himself could move if He wanted to, speaking to me through the unlikeliest of sources, even mainstream music. And that’s ok! …’

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