Don’t you just love feel-good stories? Stories where there is 100% chance of a happy ending? Stories where the protagonist or main person grows and learns from their mistakes and becomes just… you know, better in the end? I know I do. Over the years, I’ve watched almost every show of the Arrowverse (aside from Black Lightning), as well as every movie and TV show of the MCU. I’ve seen Once Upon A Time in the past almost religiously week to week; as well as binging on Nancy Drew, One Tree Hill and Hart Of Dixie in recent times (shows grounded in reality somewhat but set in fictitious towns). And in each and every show where there is a distinct good v evil concept, or at least a concept of one person versus another; I’ve always rooted for the hero, which is most of the time presented to us to be the underdog. You see, we all have our favourite books or movies or TV shows or comics or fables or other works of fictions; and we all have the people that we root for. The people that could do no wrong in our eyes, the people that we always know are going to make it, the people whom we aspire to be like, or even to be. Sometimes though, we as people can be lost in the idea of a feel-good story, and the idea of good overcoming evil with a click of a finger; that we sometimes forget that real life can be a real hard slog. We dream about the what-ifs and think about the worlds that we have immersed ourselves in. We think about Storybrooke or National City or Central City or The Enchanted Forest, or The TVA or Madripoor or Wakanda or Blue Valley or Horseshoe Bay or Tree Hill or Bluebell; and we wish. “What if I was there? What if I was living ___, being a superhero or a hero or a detective and doing something worthwhile with my life? It would certainly be more interesting than real life, than what I’m doing right now!”. And then we spiral. Now, before each one of you object and try to explain to me that there’s no way that you’d ever, ever have these thoughts about escaping reality and hoping to be existing somewhere else in the world, or in a fictitious world that is very much alive through a certain movie or TV show; well, let’s not kid ourselves, shall we? Because I reckon all of us, at one point or another in our lives, have hoped to be part of something bigger than the world we live in right now, and have latched onto the hope and the dream and the fantasy that these fictitious worlds bring. Am I right? Am I wrong? Too close to the truth?
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 98: RIHANNA
Release Date: December 10th 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Alicia Keys– KEYS (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
Continue reading Alicia Keys – KEYS
Warner Music Inc.
Release Date: October 1st 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
JoJo– trying not to think about it (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
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Success. Influence. Popularity. And to some extent happiness. Is it possible that these 4 aspects of life are more intertwined more than we think? Throughout the past 95 blogs, both Jon and myself have written about popular artists, about not-so-popular artists, about rather obscure artists (by society’s standards), as well as about artists who are no-brainers. All of these artists are who we firmly believe to be influential. But more than that- the most influential artists of all time. It’s a bold statement to declare, and I reckon that artists like Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Keith Urban, Backstreet Boys, Ed Sheeran, U2, Adele, John Farnham, Josh Groban and Carly Rae Jepsen to name a few- would be instantly included for any subjective list, on what I believe is a dynamic and ever-evolving list anyway, and is right now only a snapshot in time. While I reckon that maybe on any other day and on any other list written by any other person, artists like Richard Marx, Hanson, Leona Lewis, Jackie Evancho, Cimorelli, Five For Fighting, Colbie Caillat, The McClymonts, Hoobastank and SEAL would not make the list at all. And for me to include the shoe-ins and the obscure artists on one list… it might be head-scratching for some. And that’s ok. Because we all have different preferences, likes and dislikes- everyone’s list of influential artists is going to be different. This list is not gospel. I’ve said it once and I will say it again until I think we understand that it’s ok to have different opinions on music. It’s perfectly fine. Differences make life interesting and underpin our humanity, don’t you reckon? But coming into the final 5 blogs about influential artists- I don’t think that any of us would argue anything with these representatives. Think about it. Rihanna. Taylor Swift. Kylie Minogue. Robbie Williams. And this week’s artist- Mariah Carey. There really shouldn’t be any doubt about the calibre, impact and prowess of any of these artists- and if you all have apprehensions to any of these artists- maybe a deep immersion into these artists’ discographies will tug at your soul and at your emotions; and quite possibly change your mind.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 96: MARIAH CAREY
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.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 95: BEYONCÉ
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?
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 91: NSYNC & JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
What makes an artist influential, or even popular? That is the million dollar question, is it not? I know that we’ve posed this question many times throughout the past few years, and that we’ve added and subtracted artists to our ever-evolving influential artist list; based on the conclusions that we’ve drawn over the years. And so, I ask this question yet again, because… one more time can’t hurt, right? Is it the impact of the song that determines an artist’s longevity and legacy and standing in their career, or is it their songwriting ability? Is it the fact that an artist has blown up on social media and is using their platform for good away from the spotlight, or is it simply because their songs are connecting with listeners on a deep, personal, emotional and spiritual level even if their personal life is in ruins? Is an artist influential because they are so for their particular genre or time period, or is an artist influential because they are so across so many decades and for so many listeners across the board? Or are artists influential because they are not popular but rather unknown, but resonating to a specific group of people just because of one song or one album? What if I said that the answer to all of these questions is yes? Yes for all of them? Yes, an artist is influential for all of these reasons… that’s a lot of criteria, am I right? Confused with where I’m going? Don’t worry, all will make sense soon-ish…
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 85: JENNIFER LOPEZ (AKA J.LO)
You know how you hear a song and then instantly you know that this artist, even if you don’t know them, is destined for greatness? That this artist will blow everyone out of the water, this artist will have a long career, and this artist will inspire many, and be influential to many? The other year I think, I heard a song on the radio, that was somehow buried deep in my psyche that was unearthed this year. But when I heard it, I immediately thought that this person was blessed, that they were going to change a generation, and impact the world at large. Any guesses as to who this artist is? Is the artist I’m going to be writing about today Mariah Carey, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Kylie Minogue or Robbie Williams? After all, they each have distinctive voices, am I right? Well, no, no, no, no, no, no and no again. This artist rather is rather underrated, has flown under the radar for a while, and is only really successful in their home country of Britain. Their most successful album remains their debut album back in 2007- and they’re an artist where at first glance may not fit into this blog series. But you know how God has surprised me over and over and shaken up my definition of who is influential and who isn’t? He’s done so again for this next artist. That’s right, it’s time to dive deep into the discography of British pop/gospel singer Leona Lewis. And yes, it was the song “Footprints In The Sand” that hit at my heart and emotions all those years ago in 2007.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 83: LEONA LEWIS
It’s been hard to even comprehend and conceive the fact that this is my 80th blog post in this series about artists who have been influential in modern music history. It can feel that it was just yesterday where I wrote the introduction blogging post, that led to what I reckon, was one of the most enriching musical experiences I have ever partook in, and now 2 and a bit years later, embarking on my 80th blog discussing John Legend, before my brother Josh takes over to discuss Tim McGraw in the 81st blog, and I move over to take over his ‘Influential Artists’ list, about artists that are more newer on the spectrum of artists, how they are indeed much more influential to a newer generation of people, or maybe not necessarily influential now per se, but could probably in the upcoming years ahead…and so before this all takes into effect and I pass this beacon of a project to my brother in the upcoming weeks ahead, I’ve decided to make this blog a short one. Like…probably really short. It’ll be special, unique, different, more like a reflective blog of sorts. Looking back on what I’ve learnt and what I believe God has been speaking to over the last couple of years, about music, life, God and everything else in between.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 80: JOHN LEGEND
Release Date: December 11th 2020 / March 19th 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
H.E.R.– Hold Us Together (From the Disney+ Original Motion Picture “Safety”) / Hold Us Together (Hope Mix) (Single) (Amazon mp3/iTunes) (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
Continue reading H.E.R. – Hold Us Together (From the Disney+ Original Motion Picture “Safety”) / Hold Us Together (Hope Mix) (Single)