Release Date: April 24th 2020
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Release Date: April 24th 2020
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Capitol Christian Music Group
Release Date: August 7th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ
Label: Centricity Music
There are sometimes during the weeks where I sit and ponder and wonder. What really, really constitutes a great song or artist? Is it the message of the melody, the lyrics, what is being said, that would make the song stand the test of time in the end? Is it the musical composition, and the various layers of guitars, drums, keyboards and the like, that evoke different emotions, considering who is listening to it? Is it the general perception of the artist that determines whether a song or even an album by that artist, is successful, impactful or even decade-defying or not? Does an artist make a song, or can a song make an artist? These are the questions that have been haunting fans of music, and critics of it, for quite some time, and as we sit and think about all this, in 2020; I don’t think we’ve ever come to a clear conclusion sooner, if at all. For artists, songs, and albums are people’s preferences, and what one person can deem in their own lives as influential, the other can avoid with a ten-foot-pole. That’s just life, and there’s millions of genres available for people to listen to, to their hearts content. Music is very, very subjective, and so for me to tackle this year-long (and then some), project, about the top 100 Influential Artists (in my very own subjective opinion)- and then to top it off, 40 artists that are deemed the ‘classics’…you see what I mean right? People can call this ‘music experiment’ mere folly. And yet for me upon reflection- since I started embarking on this vastly daunting (yet equally exciting and rewarding) venture, I’ve been realising that such an exercise as this, as led me to appreciate music in all its facets all the more.
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.
‘…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! …’
Do you often wonder why you’re in the valley sometimes? Why you’re in the same valley that you reckon, or maybe even believe, you’ve been there since the dawn of time; and the same valley that you’re certain and convinced that you’ll stay there until the day you pass? Do you often wonder why life isn’t going the way you thought it would be at this very moment, or why the whole world seems against you? You get the sense that fate, or destiny, or whatever deity or higher power that is up there (that you probably know for a fact is up there in the heavens floating about, but don’t really give the time of day, except for at Christmas or at Easter or at Ramadan or Hannukah or any other token religious festival and occasion) doesn’t care at all about you and your problems and your situations and your relationships with others, or your needs, or your wants and desires… otherwise he, or she, would be actively doing something, anything to create a positive change in your life. For the past umpteen years, it has seemed like you’re on your own, in the valley for eternity, with no one around you to keep you safe, or make you feel good, or make life worth living. So do you wonder why you’re seemingly stuck in the valley with no way out?
I’ve realised a couple of things since I started this blog post series over a year ago. One: I am totally unprepared, in a general sense, for these blog posts, and I don’t pretend to know more than I do know at any one moment. I am but an amateur in terms of knowing about these artists, or these songs for that matter. I try and fumble through each and every week, sometimes I write more on one artist than another, sometimes I connect with an artist and their music more so than another, and I try and write my two cents. At the end of the day, hopefully I gain some kind of wisdom or appreciation for music that for me, is outside my comfort zone. For this blog post list is merely my own opinion, and various other artists outside the list, could easily, on any other given day, be inside. And that’s just life. Second: I am continuously amazed, impressed and inspired by the music I’ve heard over the last year or so, that I’ve noticed that lately, I am challenged and confronted, comforted and encouraged, and just plain reminded of how God can use anything and anyone, including music that I may not have listened to that much throughout my own life, or music that I may not initially enjoy, from artists that may not have been on my radar to begin with; to bring about my own good and His glory, as I learn more about myself, Himself, about love, life and the intricacies in between. For this week’s blog, I am embarking into the realms of Australian music once again- and with artists prior to this week that I’ve delved into that are Australian, from Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian, The McClymonts and the Newsboys, to for KING AND COUNTRY, Hillsong and Tina Arena; I have again put my hand into the proverbial hat of the plethora of Australian music artists at my disposal, and I’ve since pulled one out- Keith Urban.