It seems that music is feast or famine for me. It seems that my favorite artists come out with new albums in groups, so I’ll go a long while before new stuff comes out and then all of a sudden a bunch of new stuff comes out that enters into my regular playlist rotation. In the last few months, three of my favorite artists have come out with new albums – each vastly different from the other.
The first new one to come out was U2’s No Line on the Horizon. I am a bit of a new fan of U2 (new being defined as starting to listen to them about 15 years ago) and so their older stuff such as War, Joshua Tree, etc were out before I started getting interested in their music. I greatly regret not being a fan of theirs when I could have seen them at their Rattle & Hum shows at Red Rocks as I was growing up in Denver. Sigh. Anyway, have been listening to their new album quite a bit over the last few months and the whole album hasn’t grabbed me like their past ones. That being said, its still a really good album overall with several truly spectacular tracks. The most played ones to this point are:
- No Line on the Horizon – really great sound, good rhythm. Solid
- Magnificent – Again, great sound to the song, but I really love the sense that this song gives about what it means to be called to something. Lifts it up as a beautiful thing and not a burden.
- Moment of Surrender – A change of pace, but the lyrics in this one speak to me as well of the need we all have to surrender to what our souls and spirits need in the midst of crazy lives.
- White as Snow – Still trying to figure the meaning of the song out a bit, but there is a meaning that is still pulling me in.
- Breathe – A great way to end the album – Really speaks to me of how we are to breathe out grace in our world.
You can preview all the tracks, including the ones above on Amazon’s page for the album.
Shifting gears quite dramatically, we move to folk artist David Wilcox…
I was introduced to David Wilcox back when my wife and I were dating and have been entranced by his music ever since. He is an independent folk artist who has (side note) spent the last two years with his wife and their son traveling the country in an airstream, writing music, doing shows, and so forth. His music has always connected with me in his combination of depth, spirituality, social witness, and just beauty. His most recent album is called Open Hand. I have listened through the album many times in the month since it was released and it continues his beautiful and poignant works. The significant tracks for me are:
- Dream Again – A hopeful song about a hopeful future.
- Open Hand – a song about living in the middle of what life brings – the beauty mixed with the difficulties. All part of a single picture. Link to Free MP3 from his website
- Modern World – a song with a very unique sound that is a reflection upon what we were told years and decades ago about what the world of today would be when it was the world of tomorrow. He has some very strong social commentary throughout this piece about the effects of greed and self-interest upon the realities of our world.
- Outside Door – a piece about moving out of the prisons we hold ourselves in to the past, to pain and walking through a door to something different beyond.
- Beyond Belief – a song about what it means to try to live faithfully, recognizing that we need to be focused on grace and mercy instead of deep judgment.
Here is Amazon’s preview page for Open Hand. But if you buy the album, please buy it direct from Wilcox’s label here. If you buy direct from his site, you also get a series of bonus acoustic tracks from the album.
And the last album…The Long Fall Back to Earth by Jars of Clay.
Of the many different Christian artists out there, I have always come back to Jars because of the depth of their songs, the uniqueness of their sound, and the different types of music they craft – from very upbeat anthem types of pieces to ones that are deeply moving confessionals to ones that have brought great comfort and strength to me during some very difficult periods in my life. I’m still not yet familiar enough with the album to comment on many of them specifically, but a few that stand out so far:
There are also a few other tracks from older albums that really have spoken to me powerfully over the years
- Faith Enough (from Who We Are Instead)
- Frail (from Much Afraid)
- Much Afraid (from Much Afraid)
- Hymn (from Much Afraid)
You can also see if this link works to preview all the above tracks on last.fm (not sure it will work)