Archive for November, 2010

Showbread, Mouth Like a Magazine
November 30, 2010

Introduction:

I thought I’d begin the music video category with one close to my heart.  Regardless of whether you like metal or not, Showbread carries their rock and roll with every ounce of energy they have.  This is an older video and many of the band members have changed.  However, this is the song and the video that hooked me on them.  I can promise that they deliver this energy and more live, since I have seen them six times.

Video Excellence:

If you looked at all the basic elements of art and basic design that makes a piece of visual art awesome, this video has it.  Great use of visual rhythm, repetition, balance, contrast, emphasis and symmetry make it constantly fun to look at.  I have played this video for many adults who appreciate music and they all recognize the greatness of this video.  Therefore, you should too.  I know that music is very subjective, but take a moment and ask yourself, “When was the last video I saw that pulled this kind of thing off successfully?”

Overall Rating: 5 stars

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The Point of Countersunk
November 25, 2010

The point of countersunk is: to discover, promote and discuss the best Christian music hiding beneath the surface of the popular levels of radio and the big label promotional machine.

Let’s face it, Christian radio is lacking.  Where I live there are three options:  (1) Southern Gospel, (2) CCM, and (3) Something supposed to be “edgier” than CCM.

Each station runs a Top 40 format and therefore plays the same 20 songs over and over again.

On the “edgier” version, the songs ALMOST ALL run about 3 1/2 minutes, tend to be a medium pace and follow the exact same structure: intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, chorus.  The intros are usually very short, there are few extensive musical interludes and nothing risky.  What do you expect?  The songs are written for the radio.  You wouldn’t want people to drive too fast or (gasp) turn the dial.

Yet, this has had a severe impact on me as a music consumer.  I find that I don’t much like most artists they play on the radio.  The music feels forced, cheesy and fake.  Over all, the radio poisons music for me.  I never listen to any of the music stations any more.  On occasion I will listen to the classical station, but that is the violinist in me just screaming to be used once in a while.  Mostly I listen to talk radio, or simply put my iPod in.

One caveat, there are songs on the radio I have liked.  For example, Switchfoot’s “Mess of Me.”

So what’s the problem?   Surely I am just too critical, and with the Internet I can find the music I like.  That’s true, I am and do.  However, there has been an odd phenomena.  I have on occasion been able to see some of the radio artists I thought were cheesy and fake, live.  On several occasions I have been blown away when I got to experience their artistry live.  Three examples of musicians whose radio songs I had distaste for then, saw them live and was moved by their songs and talent:(1) Michael W. Smith, (2) Mercy Me, (3) Natalie Grant.

If you knew how high my personal standards are and the kind of music I write and commonly listen to, you would never match me with these artists.  But these have met and exceeded my expectations as writers and artists.  So I don’t think they are getting their fair shake.  And, as I talk to other Christians who have standards for their music, they are frustrated about the image the radio is painting of our talented artists.  In addition to this, people who are not believers think that Christian music is laughable.  I will stand and shout it simply isn’t so.  There is plenty of great music out there but the general listening audience is simply unaware of it.  So, in my small way, I hope this blog will help combat that problem.

I will mine the piles of music out there until I find the best songs on an album.  Let’s face another fact together, shall we?  Either the radio single is the best song on the album or it is the worst.  I have a couple of albums where I just skip the “radio” song.   I have even heard that many artists on major labels write the album they want to and then write one radio song.  This seems insincere at best and destructive in the public eye at worst.  Either way, there are great songs out there.  Risky songs.  Songs that break the rules.  Songs that express true artistry, real creativity and have real value in any conversation of the arts.

So without further ado, here we go…

Please feel free to leave comments or song suggestions.  These will probably be the artists name, song title and the phrase, “I can’t believe you’ve never heard of this guy/girl/group! They’re awesome!”