Category Archives: Video

Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 47: Sofia Carson

Some would say that me and my brother had one of the weirdest childhoods ever. Others could say that our parents were warranted for having a lot of input into what movies, TV shows and music we as children, saw when we were younger. Because if you don’t really know by now- yes, because we were premature (amongst other things), Josh and I were sheltered quite a bit when we were younger. Whatever money that was made by my parents during the first few years of my life, went to health bills and hospital amenities, things that were needed to be funded during a time in the early 1990s where interest rates were high- I think they were at one point, up to 17.5% in 1990. Money was spent on food and other necessities, and consequently, we didn’t have much outside of that. Sure, we had a wonderful childhood growing up, but let’s just say that we were content with what we did have, rather than always wishing and wondering what other people did acquire when they were young. Because if I were to look back on my own childhood and reflect as a man in my early 30s, I’d have to say this- that the 1990s was a time of great expansion technologically, but our family was never really the type to always catch on to the latest craze or fashion, just because the next person was. We’d probably eventually would end up acquiring whatever it was, technologically (we bought a DVD player in 2002 when DVDs were around in circulation from 1999 onwards, Nintendo 64’s in our household was an occurrence from 1998 onwards, even though it’s popularity peaked in Australia from 1997), but in all honesty, our family wasn’t really that big on getting anything new- only if it was absolutely necessary. Which means one big thing- our family didn’t have FOXTEL when we were younger.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 95: BEYONCÉ

Not too long ago, the Dove Award nominations released. For those of you familiar with Christian music, and for those who have read our site since the inception back in 2014; I’m sure you’ll all believe me when I say that throughout the past few years, both myself and my brother Jon have always eagerly anticipated the Dove Award nominations every year. We’ve even written predictions for these awards on this site here, here and here (2017, 2018 and 2019); as well as our analysis of winners and nominations here and here (both 2014). But for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Dove Awards though, let’s just say that it’s like the Christian version of the Grammy Awards. It’s probably the most prestigious award show in the history of CCM music. And being that Jon and myself basically grew up solely on Christian music, the time of the year when nominations of the Dove Awards roll around is always nostalgic and sentimental to us. Even though of late, we have mostly read the nominations and shrugged our shoulders and rolled our eyes and written our own fantasy ‘fake’ lists. And it’s just because over the past few years The Dove Awards’ nominations have been somewhat spot on but somewhat off the mark at the same time. Yet… guess what? We always come back to these lists, and we always are eager to see the same things over and over and over again. And I reckon it’s what most of us (lovers of mainstream music as well!) do anyways, in a broader sense. We see these award shows nominate the same people year after year after year; and we’re still a sucker to watch them. And the Dove Awards nominations this year actually was a catalyst for me to ask the question… of why is that so? Why do we watch awards shows even when we know what’s going to happen? I’ve been thinking about how ingrained we all are in our likes and dislikes, even though we sometimes are indifferent to them as well. And it seems to me that with award shows with the biggest celebrities, we latch onto these events and spectacles like church services, and we hang onto the words of our biggest idols like they’re God. We elevate our role models like they’re perfect, and even if we know that award shows are like a popularity contest and that the nominations may not reflect in totality if these actors or musicians or artists actually have any talent or even have anything worthwhile to say; we’ve fallen into the trap that they’re still the best thing the world has to offer. And it’s because… I don’t know, actually. We love living vicariously and vivaciously through people, and it’s easier to be persuaded and encouraged to love someone who is popular and has nothing much to say than to be really invested in someone influential with something to say. If you think about most of these 100 artists we’ve written about in this blog series, from artists like Keith Urban, Pentatonix, Skillet, Jason Gray and Carly Rae Jepsen, to John Mayer, Carrie Underwood, Owl City, Train and Hanson… is it likely or probable that the majority of them would be present as a nominee, presenter or performer at a major awards show like the Grammys or The American Music Awards or The Billboard Music Awards or The MTV Video Music Awards? Yes? No? Yeah, I reckon it’s probably not. And that’s not a reflection on the talent and prowess of the artists in question I’ve blogged about… it’s just the way the music industry is these days. Popular artists sell and influential artists do not.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 94: JUSTIN BIEBER

I think I’ve mentioned this time and time again (or maybe my brother Jon has); but let me repeat myself once again for us all. When we look down our list of 100 artists who we deem to be influential across all time (not including artists like The Beatles, Queen, Elton John, Elvis Presley, ABBA, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan to name a new- and all of these plus more will be in a separate list of 50 artists who are iconic and timeless no matter what!); while the pattern seems to be that these artists are mostly active at the moment (aside from Carman who sadly passed away earlier this year!), the underlying theme that I’ve found out recently is that all of these 100 artists, though influential and inspiring in their own right, probably have virtually no links to each other. Delirious? is a different artist to Backstreet Boys who in turn is different to Delta Goodrem, The Goo Goo Dolls, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, SEAL, Cimorelli, Jennifer Lopez, Coldplay, Linkin Park, Tenth Avenue North and Skillet. All of these artists (and more) are unique and each of these 100 artists deserve their place within this subjective list… when each artist is analysed on their own merits. Yet wholistically, perhaps some of you may complain that these artists make the list over another arbitrary 100. You may complain and say that I’m not doing my job right or I’m deliberately against a certain artist or artist group (like rap, which has no representatives outside of Lecrae), or that I’m pushing a certain agenda, or that I’m like the left or the right or that I’m too woke or too conservative in including a lot of music artists that lean one way or the other on the political spectrum, or that I don’t have enough Christian artists or that I have too many Christian artists. Regardless on how you view my list- the fact is that it’s just that. It’s a list made up by an average joe. And it certainly holds no weight when compared to other more prestigious lists like Billboard or The Rolling Stone. Jon and myself are just owners of a website that maybe a handful of people in the world actually take the time out to read… and who are we to claim that we have authority over any list we make. Any of you could write up your own list of 100 names- include 100 names that we never did… and guess what? It’ll still be valid. Whatever criteria you use for your lists (and if you want to see our heart for this blog series, read our very first post we made in February 2019 explaining our thought processes!)… well that’s your criteria.

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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 46: Amy Shark

There’s always been a bit of a divide when it comes to CCM v mainstream, at least in the areas where I was growing up. Being from Australia (a country that is a lot less God-conscious than other places around the world), it’s often considered weird and different if you listen to nothing but CCM your whole life. Mind you, my brother and I did attend an Anglican primary school, so I guess early on in our own lives, we weren’t as ‘isolated’ as we initially thought we were. We then attended a ‘secular’ high school, which was fine, because my brother and I were able to see how the general population was like. Maybe it was because we were in our own CCM bubble for so long- and because we were both premature as twins; we were in our own proverbial bubble at home as well, a bubble that restricted our very own interaction with people generally, because of our family’s concerns- valid ones when you raise a family where twins are premature. You start to take extra care of them and wrap them in metaphorical bubble wrap so as to protect them from the ‘big bad world’. Maybe that’s an exaggeration as to how my brother and I grew up, but when it came down to it, we were indeed sheltered, much more than the average joe. And so high school was a pretty big deal for us- we weren’t in the bubble of ‘Christian’ anymore- because our primary school was of the Anglican variety, people didn’t really bat an eyelid when we said we only listened to Christian music (Carman and Delirious?, and some Steven Curtis Chapman, Steve Grace and Tim Hughes, to be precise).

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 93: THE CRANBERRIES

Contrary to underlying and assumed popular belief that the U.S. charts comprise of the holy grail of artists, and that they comprise of the be-all-and-end-all of every artist that is undoubtedly the most inspiring and the best; there has been, and probably will forever be, something much more poignant, moving, powerful, compelling and encouraging if you will, about music that is produced, written and recorded outside of the U.S.A., in my humble opinion. I’ve already mentioned in a previous blog post (or maybe in the introduction post in this series) about how we aren’t as caught up as most people on the state of ‘pop’ music these days; and since that time we’ve found out that a number of artists on the top 100 charts whom we do not listen to, and haven’t blogged about- are American. Artists like Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, BTS, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Post Malone, Drake, Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Megan Thee Stallion, Maroon 5, Lil Nas X, SZA, Luke Bryan, Dan + Shay, Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Khalid, Imagine Dragons, Eminem, Cardi B, Chris Brown, Twenty One Pilots, Kendrick Lamar, Jonas Brothers, Eric Church and Panic At The Disco; have all dominated the charts over the past year or so, and apart from BTS who is from South Korea, they’re all from America, or American adjacent countries. None of these artists are artists who we have blogged about, or are going to be blogging about (except for Justin Bieber, who was recently a late addition to this blog list!); and so when looking at who is cool and hip at the moment… does this mean that we’re out of touch with American pop, and even if we are, does it matter in the grand scheme of things?

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 92: LINKIN PARK

Life is fragile. One minute it’s there and the next, it’s not. You could be healthy one day and dead the next, and the day before, you’d be none the wiser. Gee, that sounds morbid, doesn’t it? That sounds like a super way to start a blog post, don’t you think? But bear with me, everyone; there’s a point to this introspection and this depressive start. You see, if death can come knocking at a moment’s notice, and you can’t really prepare for it…then what is the point of striving so hard, to acquire money and possessions and the like, if you’re not going to take it beyond the grave? Death is so certain, and it’s something that affects all of us; and the fact that it’s not just the old and sick that die, is pretty scary and overwhelming. As cases of COVID-19 keep rising around NSW and in Australia and also around the world, and as people keep on dying, I often of late have thought about the lives cut short by the pandemic, especially people who are young. I wonder about their hopes and dreams and how they can’t ever accomplish everything that they would want to- because they’re dead. Dreams cut short and potential not realised- because you’re dead. I know that if you’re dying not because of old age, but because of any other means; then that is an incredibly sad way to go. And though I’m being reminded about death a lot, I know it’s not something that you can change. You can’t cheat death, no matter how you try. When it’s your time, then there’s no two ways around it. Death is something that we all, like it or not, eventually will have to accept. Death happens to ALL of us. Not some. Not just the old or the babies who are unfortunately aborted. But to all of us. And though I’ve seen death and been to funerals before (for my uncle and also for a friend from church), the thought that death can happen tomorrow…actually sunk in for me about a week ago.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 91: NSYNC & JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

The other day NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian extended the lockdowns across NSW for yet another 2 weeks. With little change happening over the past few weeks of lockdown that NSW has had so far, freedoms are once again limited to exercising around the block and only one person going out to the shops for groceries. It remains to be seen whether the two-week extension of the lockdown will have any effect at all on case numbers and whether COVID-19 infections will decrease or not; but the fact of the matter is that we all are frustrated. Tired of staying at home, wanting more human interaction, and mingling with friends and co-workers. We long to go over to people’s houses for a barbecue and a cold beer, and we long to go to the movies or to a concert. In short, we as a nation and as people globally, long to get back to a life that is semi-normal, before COVID. Because at home, we don’t seem to be productive, and at times we think that we’re not doing anything. Yes, we’re listening to music, we’re zooming, we’re binging on all of our streaming shows, we’re sleeping in… but as we look abroad to other countries who have opened up the country a whole lot more than us Australians have (and it’s largely due to a supply issue of vaccines, which are more readily available overseas, plus people from other countries are generally more willing to receive vaccinations!); I reckon we’ve all become slightly envious. Envious and jealous of how many countries around the world have sprung back to normalcy (to an extent). Envious of how people are living overseas with apparent freedom. And though we know that there are still rampant COVID-19 deaths happening overseas… we choose to overlook them, in favour of our biases and preconceptions that other countries have it better than us because they have less restrictions. Are we envious and jealous though… unnecessarily? I mean, someday Australia will have opened up to the world, and for now we just gotta be patient and stay the course until more vaccines come, am I right?

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 90: CHRISTINA AGUILERA

It’s been about a couple of years since I’ve seen a reality series in full. In general, the reason I think that is, is because there’s not many reality shows that I can be fully invested in, as in shows that leave me fully satisfied come the seasons end. But I somehow always am sucked in… for more times and many occurrences than I would ever care to admit. For me, I’ve always had this love hate relationship with reality shows, especially singing shows, and it started all the way from Australian Idol back in 2003, stretching all the way to The Voice from a couple of years ago. But I’ve found that I’m easily drawn into reality shows that aren’t just singing shows like Australia’s Got Talent or The Voice. My weaknesses (which I’m not proud of at all!) extends to cooking shows like MasterChef and Iron Chef as well. Thankfully though, I’ve never caught many other variety shows like I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Survivor, The Amazing Race, Big Brother, Farmer Wants A Wife, The Block and Beauty & The Geek; although I did watch Lego Masters, Australian Ninja Warrior and The Masked Singer a few times. Yet these shows are extremely popular by society’s standards. For me though, in the most general sense I could ever extrapolate, I just find that people’s fascination with everyday people’s lives is quite disturbing… yet then again I’m a culprit and I am part of the problem for certain shows. I’ve often sometimes sat down on the couch on any given night, turned the TV on and done a bit of channel surfing, and then end up on YouTube on my computer instead, simply because reality TV is dominating the channels. I wonder to myself ‘why are these shows on the air’, and then I forget about said reality show, my puzzlement and confusion at them being on the air, and my frustrations… until the next reality TV show. It’s a never-ending cycle of me being completely disinterested in a show, then being sucked in by some clever advertising midway during the season (for singing and cooking shows), then me coming to my senses and drifting away for a bit, then being sucked in for the final week or two weeks. I always thought that that’s the way it was… and it’s only recently that I’ve realised that maybe there’s a reason for me being drawn in by reality shows, and singing shows in particular. On the surface, the incessant need for us to be filled with entertainment, is mindless. Yet a deeper look reveals that singing shows may not be so mindless after all, and may serve a purpose beyond us wanting to be entertained.

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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 45: Ava Max

I dunno if this thought can be a bit presumptuous, simplistic or even revolutionary, but I’ve realised that throughout the last 2 or so years of me blogging about specific artists in terms of their influence and impact on music, society, and music history as a whole, that pop music comes in various forms, and the various pop artists I’ve discussed in these blogs each employ a unique way of crafting their music within the confides of this three lettered word ‘pop’, and each of these artists I’ve listened to, have gained a greater appreciation and respect from myself. The piano pop of Delta Goodrem who delivers powerful ballads and has a big voice, is different from the pop of Kelly Clarkson that is as traditional as they come. Carly Rae Jepsen’s version of pop leans more EDM, while the 80s synthpop that has been prevalent in a lot of Bryan Adams material is on a different scale than anything else. Ed Sheeran’s pop lies more in the folk/acoustic/experimental category; and provides a unique way of how music from Britain is progressing at the moment, while John Farnham’s pop relies a lot on anthemic moments of emotion and heart, as big ballads consist of most of his discography. Each and every one of these artist’s way of delivering ‘pop’ is unique and distinct, and just like the musical genre of country, pop can be as vast, expansive, and confusing, especially when you are more gravitated towards a certain aspect within a certain genre compared to another. Pop has many fans, and I’ve been privileged enough to take a glimpse and snapshot into a genre that I still don’t know much about, even though I’ve discussed and blogged about more pop artists than any other artist in any other genre, in this blog series thus far.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 89: PINK

I don’t know if you all know this, but mainstream music hasn’t really been my thing. I don’t think that’s it’s been a secret, for those of you who religiously follow this site, but it really, really hasn’t. You see, since as early as 2018, I was still listening to Christian music. Not that there’s anything bad with that. But the fact of the matter was that I was still listening to Delirious? and Carman, and since 2006, other bands and artists like Natalie Grant, Newsboys, Casting Crowns, Third Day, MercyMe, for KING & COUNTRY, Tenth Avenue North, Britt Nicole, Kari Jobe, Meredith Andrews, Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Lincoln Brewster, Phil Wickham, Francesca Battistelli, and Jeremy Camp to name a few. Some of these artists were indeed pop in musical nature, but to me were Christian first and foremost. So I didn’t consider them as pop- I instead considered them all as ‘Christian’ music. Not that ‘Christian’ should be a music genre, but the facts are the facts. CCM (or contemporary Christian music) is in fact a genre, and it is very isolated from the rest of the music industry. And I guess I might have been naïve, but I thought Christian music was so big, and that everything outside of Christian music was bad. Because songs weren’t talking about Jesus. To be fair though, in hindsight and looking back, songs that do not talk about Jesus but do speak about relevant, prevalent and confronting issues such as identity, self-worth, love, death, relationships, God, faith, doubt, other kinds of spirituality, sex, hurt, pain, betrayal, the wonder of the cosmos… songs about all of that without the explicit mention of God; they’re all not all bad songs. If the message of said song doesn’t point you directly to Jesus, but speaks about living a better life and improving upon your previous efforts as a person; do you think God used that song or that artist or that album, to maybe subtly draw listeners back to Him or at least to more focused conversations about religion and spirituality? I know, I know, I might be speaking blasphemy or heresy depending on who you talk to, whether you are a Catholic or a Protestant, or Conservative or a Progressive… but keep in mind that 3 years ago I was of a similar viewpoint. That Christian music is good and everything else is bad. I think I might feel like a broken record by the end of this blog series… but the truth of the matter is this: that it was virtually since Jon and I started this blog series, that I have had an appreciation for music that isn’t decidedly ‘Christian’ in nature. I’ve understood more about how God can move, and I’ve actually liked a few mainstream artists more than their Christian counterparts. I’ve realised that all music can be used to better our society, and to inspire ourselves and to further God’s kingdom; and I’ve also realised that the timeless artists and the iconic artists and the influential artists- predominately aren’t in the Christian music industry.

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