Songs of Greatest Impact

February 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm (Inspirational, Sights & Sounds) (, , , , , , , , )

I was in the car yesterday and in the middle of a time consuming detour, “Reject” by Living Sacrifice came up on my iPod. For those of you that are unaware of this Christian Hardcore/Metal milestone, Living Sacrifice was one of the bands that I believe was pivotal in ushering in a new era of clarity in message being expressed through a quality and relevant medium (ie Hardcore music). For those of you that have experienced this tasty treat, recall for a moment where you were at when Reject assaulted your eardrums and you were awakened to a reality where Christian music could challenge you as well as rock your face off.

As my long journey on roads never traveled, this detour through Memoriam (ha ha – Living Sacrifice’s last album) afforded me additional time to consider other milestone songs. I tried to compile the “best of” with these factors: 1) Song must have a clear message; 2) Song must inspire passion; 3) Song must be crisply executed (quality); 4) Must still be relevant today (still sounds good)

Hardcore: Reject by Living Sacrifice

Alternative: Jesus Freak by DC Talk

Shine by Newsboys or Big House by Audio Adrenaline – “Secret Ambition” by Michael W. Smith deserves a nod and possibly should top the list, who was edgier than MWS in his initial era?

*I recognize there is a host of songs that church going folk will have been inundated with via Christian radio and even the “special music” from church – perhaps some of those belong on this list or maybe a separate category. Some of them may be jaded by their redundancy but a few that come to mind are “Mary Did You
Know” by Michael English; “Thank You” by Ray Boltz

Rap: “What Do You See” by Cross Movement
*I will admit that this is not a genre that I have extensive knowledge of, but I think most that enjoy this arena will have to recognize the impact that Cross Movement has had.

Ska: “Unite” by Supertones

Punk: “Never Die” by Dogwood (“Control” is also another great offering by Dogwood but slightly more mellow) “JCHC” by Officer Negative also came to mind
*I recognize that MxPx owns the most widespread audience as a Christian Punk Band but in the early days of their music where the message was clearest the quality wasn’t but perhaps “Teenage Politics” deserves a nod.

Hair Metal: “To Hell With The Devil” by Stryper

*Is there really any argument here? What was better at the time than yellow spandex and weapons that only the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had access to.

Before some of you music buffs go crazy and start rioting at my house, please note that this was mainly written on the fly with only my memories to serve me. This list is certainly up for discussion and I’d love to hear back from you all. Keep in the mind the (4) distinctives that I tried to use to guide this list.

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Iron Man gives you more

May 4, 2008 at 12:57 am (Sights & Sounds) (, )

As a fan of the genre without the investment of having followed the comic books religiously, I found Iron Man to be a worth while investment of my entertainment dollars.  It contains all of the great action sequences, seamless special effects and cool gadgetry you’d expect from a super hero movie but reaches the plateau of offering that something extra that transcends the expected.   

Recent history has shown that having a well known character with a cult following, a big budget, big names in your cast and cool special effects isn’t a sure fire formula for success with a mainstream audience.   The key to a successful movie still relies heavily on the human elements.  As an audience it is important for us to feel a connection to the characters and even in a comic-book adaptation the dialogue and interaction between characters can really make or break the experience of the film. 

Iron Man fits, arguably even sits at the top of, the class of super-hero movies that offer the complete package.  The principle of Iron Man is unique in itself, similar to Batman, Iron Man’s powers do not come from some freak experience or mutation, Tony Stark’s (Iron Man) powers are rooted in human ingenuity combined with the manipulation of skill and technology.  Rather than relying on the platform that Iron Man itself brings, Downey as Stark brings a presence to the movie and crafts his own structure that builds upon that foundation.  

Iron Man as a moive is unique to the genre in that it allows you to become connected with the characters without boring you.  Downey gives you a character that you actually want to get to know and even root for as he transforms/develops throughout the movie.  Tony Stark, is the ultimate self-infactuated playboy who gets a rude awakening and a second chance to turn a 180 and work to make a difference.  Stark works to right the wrong that he himself created, so the storyline carries real-life elements of choice, consequence and the price of redemption (from a humanistic standpoint).  Each part was well cast and every actor brought a comfort to their character that created a reality in the relationships.  The dialogue was well written, well exectued and the direction was top notch. 

I am sure that you could disect this movie and take apart its elements, but I would argue you are missing the point, especially of a super-hero moive.  This movie is molded for entertainment and I believe that it rises to the occassion and even suprises with its depth.  It is everything you want your super-hero movie to be and then some.


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Music You Didn’t Know You Liked…

October 3, 2007 at 7:22 am (Sights & Sounds) (, , , , , )

I read an article in INC. Magazine (I know, I’m so big-time – but if you didn’t know link to INC) about Pandora…

Long story short, Pandora is a company that has gone through many dubious re-inventions but the core service remains the same. You enter an artist or a song that you like and they have an intricate people-generated (programming from real musicians and feedback from users) system that attempts to match you with an feast of music selections that are customized to your tastes.

You can create several stations with various genres/sounds and easily click to change not just the channel but the entire station. You are able to ban songs from you station, which is great if you are like me and enjoy AC/DC but aren’t a big fan of Van Halen. The idea is perfect because it is all about YOU and helping you track down the evasive “sounds like” artist.
Registration is free as most of their funds are generated through advertising. As you get hooked on this great tool, get informed about the regulatory and royalty schemes that threaten internet radio.

Don’t waste another moment click to visit Pandora

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