Stoney Creek Records / This is Hit, Inc
Release Date: August 14th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
The Classic Christmas Album (2013 Re-release of the 1998 album White Christmas)
Label: Sony Music Entertainment
The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection – EP
Label: Big Machine Label Group
The Greatest Gift Of All
Label: BIG MACHINE LABEL GROUP
The other day I was reflecting. As you do when the world has gone to pieces because of COVID-19 and other things, and you have extra time on your hands. I think I was sitting. Or maybe I was standing? Anyhoo, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that as I was reflecting on the year that was and is- and boy haven’t we all have had it rough, and don’t we all wish that 2020 would be ‘over’! – it slowly dawned on me that I’ve actually written 25 blogs out of 50, for artists who I deem as just coming to be influential now (for their respective genres and for their vastly different audiences), or maybe about other artists who may not be influential yet but will be within 5-10 years. I know that that is a mouthful to remember, because one’s definition of influence differs from person to person, and who you reckon is influential is who I reckon is not, and vice versa; yet nevertheless I have reached the half way point on my musical journey that I never thought that I would ever embark on in my wildest dreams. And the results so far… well they’re interesting. I stepped into this journey not knowing which artists would speak to me and what wisdom would be imparted to me- a similar thought process to Jon when he embarked on his much grander musical journey; yet at this half way point, much like Jon at his half way point, the questions I asked myself remained, and the answers to them not so clear cut… which in some ways is a good thing as it means that God is still speaking. I mean, have I learned anything about the music industry at large at this point, or about specific genres that I hadn’t known about before, or was God speaking to me in a profound way through an artist who I previously thought was superficial or shallow? Or was I even underwhelmed by a certain artist for whatever reason? And most of all, did I feel good about my choices of artists to include on this list at the end of the day, considering there’s other talented and up and coming artists who missed the cut on this arbitrary list?
Capitol Christian Music Group
Release Date: July 31st 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
BIG MACHINE Label Group
Release Date: July 31st 2020
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Music has the power to change a life. Or several lives. Or they can just bring things to the surface that you may have tucked away in yourself for quite some time. Regardless of what you think music is to you, what music genre you listen to, what era of music you are a fan of, one can’t deny this fact and proposition- that music changes lives. A song, at the right moment and time in someone’s life, can change the trajectory of that particular person, whatever that is. I know we have all heard the cliché saying that ‘music is the universal language’ (but hang on, isn’t the universal language food?), but regardless of how cliché that sounds, I betcha that statement is 100% dead-on true. Because it is. No matter if you love rock, or pop, or country, or metal, screamo, folk, acoustic, even Christian music or worship music; music can creep into our very souls and show us things about ourselves that maybe we haven’t realised they were there in the first place. Listening to music can be a cool thing as we enjoy something and have a good time (like when music is just background beats at a party); or music can really transform a person’s character and personality- from the inside out. It is when the music can really transcend its time period and artist, that it can truly be considered timeless- lasting years upon years, and still having the same impact on people now as I’m sure it did back then. For we may not always have to understand what is being said in the music for us to be impacted and affected by it in a positive way- just because all the classical pieces don’t have words, nor the famous opera singers, delivering their work in English; that doesn’t mean we can’t be connected to the songs, even on a soul level. Music is here to stay; and is a reminder for us all that songs delve into territories and circumstances that often a sermon or a discussion online, can never do. Millions of things are often discussed in songs that can be relatable to people from all walks of life- love is discussed. Hate is discussed. Identity, worry, belief in God, doubt, uncertainty- there’s a lot of things that music often gets right, and why there is always a certain appeal to music in all its forms and facets, across decades and years, and in and amongst all the zillions of musical genres there have been. Music makes you feel happy, sad, convicted, compelled, challenged, and everything else in between.
It was in January 2019, when Jon told me. When Jon told me that he felt upon his heart the need and the desire to undertake what at the time was a year long musical journey into artists and their discographies. And not just to write extensively about any artist but to embark on a musical journey to delve deep into and examine influential artists. Artists that moved us, that invoked emotion, that told a story, whose songs were and are timeless, and whose discographies ushered in a new generation of storytellers, entertainers, performers, magicians and just plain honest songwriters. The artists that Jon intended to write about would challenge him to the core, flip upside down his entire definition of what it means to be a great artist, and would someday be some of his favourite, and most heartfelt and poignant artists of all time. Now this was a pretty big feat to undertake, so as Jon was voicing what was on his heart back then, he asked me for advice. And though I was quietly excited and intrigued as to how Jon would undertake such a feat given our demands at the café, in my heart of hearts I didn’t really believe it would pan out the way it thought that it would and should- and never once in a million years did I think that Jon would be here today still writing what is now regarded to him as one of his most special blog series, or things he’s done, ever!
I personally want them to find out [about the infidelity] before they find out from a friend or before they start Googling. Hopefully we’re still married and we’re able to sit them down and say, ‘Look, Mommy and Daddy went through some really crazy stuff in the beginning of our marriage, but look where we’re at now and how happy we are and how we communicate.
A lot of it can be unspoken from this time leading up to it, so by the time they do find out, by the time we have that discussion and they’ve [potentially] read things that they read, it’ll be so opposite end of the spectrum of what they know about their mom and dad that it’s almost hard for them to even comprehend what that is.