• Christians fighting with other Christians

    5. Jul. 2008, 14:38 von Arwen4CJ

    I can't stand it when Christians tell other Christians that they are not saved. Recently I've recently gotten into a discussion with other Christians over this. The issue was over Roman Catholics, and whether or not they can be saved.

    Several people in the group said that no Roman Catholic is saved. I strongly disagreed with them.

    When I was in college, some of my closest friends were Catholics, and they actually had a stronger faith in Christ than most of my Protestant Christian friends, and they also encouraged me and supported my own relationship with Christ more than my Protestant friends...

    One of them...when I was upet at dinner once, called me right aftwards and asked if she could pray with me and stuff...and she did...and she read out of the Bible.

    Another of my Catholic friends was my accountabilty partner...and she too encouraged me to grow in my faith

    Another one was a guy who, when I was struggling with my emotional wounds from my past, comforted me and reminded me that I was bought with Jesus' blood

    So I just wanted to say that not all Catholics are non-Christian or are not born again. There's also certain stuff that I totally disagree with as far as the Catholic church is concerned, but Catholics CAN still be Christian.

    I admit that there are a lot of Catholics who have no clue what salvation is, but then again, neither do a lot of Protestants. I was raised in a mainline Protestant church, but I never once heard the gospel message there, and no one ever talked about a personal relationship with Christ, or anything that God had done for them in their lives. Faith was a very private thing, and no one wanted to talk about sin or grace...because they didn't want to offend anyone. They started a "contemporary" service, and decided that God shouldn't be a part of it. They covered up the cross (because they didn't want any "weird or confusing symbols that no one would understand), and the pastor just talked about himself....and didn't even mention Jesus.

    Biblically, if someone declares that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, then that person is a Christian! If the person has surrendered their life to Him, asked Him into their hearts. Anyone who places their faith (trust) in Him for their salvation is saved. It doesn't matter what denomination they belong to or whether or not they are Catholic or Protestant.

    Christianity is all about the personal relationship that can only come by faith in Jesus Christ. We are saved by grace through faith....

    I have been labeled a non-Christian because I believe that my Roman Catholic friends are saved. That's fine...other people can think I'm not saved if they want to, but they are not Jesus.

    Honestly, we Christians get into fights over the stupidest doctrinal differences (the method of baptism, denominational beliefs, versions of the Bible that should be used, methods of worship - contempoary or hymns.....) None of that really matters. We are all one in Christ Jesus.

    I'm sick of all the fighting.

    Now, granted, there are heresies which go against biblical Christianity - Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals, theologically liberal Christians....anyone who denies the Trinity, denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and Jesus' death on the cross as atonement for sin......the reason those groups are heretical is because they deny the most essential Christian beliefs.

    Fighting over what version of the Bible a person uses is stupid. All versions carry the same message. Of coruse it's fine to prefer one version over another. Everyone does that...but to say that one version is the one and only version and that all other versions are corrupt....that causes an unnescessary barrier among Christians.

    Also, while I believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including tongues, it upsets me when other Christians say that a person who does not speak in tongues is not saved. That's not biblical. The only thing that is required for salvation, in the Christian understanding, is faith in Jesus Christ.

    It also annoys me when people who do not believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit to claim that Christians who do practice the gifts are going to hell for practicing them. They're claiming that the gifts are of demonic origin...which is just as unbiblical.

    I've heard both arguments from people (you must speak in tongues to be saved and you cannot use the gifts or you go to hell).

    Seriously, we need to unite over the only thing that matters...the thing that we all have in common - our faith in the triune God of the Bible, in Jesus Christ's life, death, and resurrection, and all the promises that we have in Him, and in His 2nd coming...all the hope we share.

    Just think how much good we could do if we all united together instead of being divided over trivial things. As it is right now, we're setting a bad example for non-Christians.

    Jesus prayed that we'd be one.....and we're not doing a very good job of being one. Can't we all just get along and support and encourage one another? What happened to edifying (building one another up)?
  • My personal statement of faith that I wrote for class

    22. Okt. 2008, 2:32 von Arwen4CJ

    Please note that this all had to fit on one page...I changed the font size to squeeze it onto one page as it appears here, so it is not going to be extremely detailed. If there are any specific questions that you have about what I have said here, or what I believe, please feel free to ask in comments to this journal entry.

    1. I believe in one God, and I believe that this one God is triune. I believe in the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. In other words, I believe that the Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. So I believe in the Trinity.

    2. I believe that God is personal and loving, and that He created everything. (I will be using “He” and “Him” for God because that is the language that I feel comfortable using for God. This does not mean that I believe God is necessarily male or that God is only for males. I am using the language that is used for God in the Bible, and this is the language Jesus used too, and I am comfortable with it.)

    3. I believe that God created humanity (both male and female, and both sexes as being equal in His sight) to have a loving relationship with Him – and that we were meant to be in fellowship with Him, and with this came the pleasure to worship Him and serve Him. However, I also believe that because God wanted us to be able to choose to love Him, or it would not be real love. He gave us the option not to love Him too. And I believe that the first human beings chose to turn away from God and to disobey Him.

    4. I believe that because of this, that that relationship with God was broken between humanity and God and separated from God, and that now all of humanity inherited the tendency to sin. (So I believe in original sin.) I believe that sin is open rebellion against God, and that the punishment for sin is both spiritual and physical death.

    5. I also believe that our rebellion did not keep God from loving us. I believe that God became human in the person of Jesus Christ so that He could do what we could not do – live a perfect life. I believe that Jesus is both fully God and fully human. I believe that He lived His human life without sin, and that He did many wonderful things during His life. I believe in His miracles.

    6. I also believe that Jesus willingly suffered and died for everyone. I believe that He took everyone’s sins upon Himself and took the punishment that humanity deserved and paid the full price for us. Therefore I believe that He died in my place and that He died for me. His sacrificial death restored the broken relationship between humanity and God. I also believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. I believe that whoever trusts in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior is completely forgiven of their sins and can have a personal relationship with God. I believe that this whole thing is a gift to us, and that it is undeserved. People cannot earn it. (I believe in grace).

    7. I believe that this is the beginning of the relationship with God. We continue to grow in that relationship for the rest of our lives, and that the Holy Spirit continues to convict us of our sins, and that He is constantly leading us in closer relationship and perfecting us to be more like God.

    8. I do believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but that they are not essential for salvation. However, I do think that the gifts edify individual believers as well as the church, and help the church carry out its mission, and help people grow in their faith. The gifts take our faith to another level. I believe that the ministry and mission of the church are basically the same. The church is to reach the lost for Christ, but at the same time to encourage believers to grow in their faith and support them. As far as sacraments are concerned, they are great ways of displaying faith and showing what that faith represents. They are constant reminders of what we believe.

    9. I believe that Jesus is the full revelation of who God is, but I also believe that the Holy Spirit reveals truths to believers so that we can understand the Bible and as part of a growing relationship with God.

    10. I believe that Jesus Christ will return, so I believe in the Second Coming of Christ. I have no definite opinion of exactly how that will come about, but I do believe Jesus will return and will fix all the rest of the problems (physical death and sickness and whatever is leftover as a result of sin.) I focus more on knowing what will happen to me as far as heaven and hell is concerned. I believe that whoever trusts in Jesus is saved and I believe that whoever rejects Him will go to hell.

    11. I believe that the Bible is the Word of God, and is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and is without error.
  • And the sky belongs to you.

    25. Aug. 2008, 12:09 von aznsupragrl182

    Work experience has really changed my outlook on life. Not sure if I told you but I went to the Sheraton on the Park's kitchen (it's a 5-star hotel in the city opposite Hyde Park). Not that I want to be a chef, but it was worth doing to know what it's like to slog my ass off all day for a non-existent wage because I'll be likely to be landed with a job that allows me to literally numb my behind to a gangrenous state due to a horrid, sedentary lifestyle.

    And you know what?

    The early morning rises, the excruciatingly heavy backpack, the torturous train-ride (think peak-hour carriage-squish!), the frosty walks, the lonesome hours in Hyde Park (watching the masses and imagining each individual's circumstances) and the the nine-to-five days spent aimlessly carving grapefruit after orange and peeling potato after carrot just seemed

    There is no doubt I've met some amazing people. People who will be forever in my heart.. but at the same stage, thinking about them hurts. I met a guy who said that he always wanted to be an engineer, but having six other brothers made it impossible for his parents to send him to school. Yet there he was, wasted potential, searing sirloin steak as black as his heart, while his brain degenerated slowly. Steadily. Suddenly uncontrollably.

    The sky is the limit - if you have money. I can't sit back and ignore this anymore, Tara. I can't feign ignorance in my teenage middle-class bliss when similar tragedies are happening all over the world.

    People should be given the opportunity to live out their dreams, no matter how big or small. A smile on a forlorn face is what I live for now.

    Somewhere in Bonn, a 20 year-old who is my rock and comfort is counting on me to be strong. He thinks no one cares about him, but he'll never know how much he means to me. I want to mend his broken heart, but I'm not sure how. I want to hug him and never let him go, but he's too far away.
    But when I close my eyes, he's oh-so-close until I'm forced to open them again.

    In Viersen, a 26 year-old is expecting me to give it my best shot, as I would expect him to do the same. Too often has he allowed others to step on him for their own personal gain. But now it's his time to stand tall and proud for everything that makes him a beautiful human being and for once in his life, not care about what others think of him - especially people who don't matter.
    Because as far as I'm concerned, the people that DO matter hold him in the highest esteem.

    And in a Sydney hotel, there is one person slaving in a kitchen for a below minimum wage rate with an empty void for a heart that is relying on me to change the world for him for the sake of his soul.

    And for them, the sky should know no limits.
    And Tara, neither should it for you.


    **For all who are reading in confusion, I have a letter correspondence with Tara. We are to give our letters to each other in a creative manner and seemed perfect, considering that this letter was written with other people in mind.

    27. Mai. 2008, 10:22 von aznsupragrl182

    Just taking this opportunity to especially shout it out to all the Europeans who frequent this site who may be coming this year to World Youth Day in Sydney !

    Call me annoying, but I'm hoping that by submitting this entry to all the groups I am a part of, it reaches as many people as it can without having to individually spam every single user on last fm :P

    In that case, if you're coming to WYD08 in Sydney, where I happen to live, I'd love to talk to you about it !

    Feel free to shoutbox me so we can discuss this. I'd also like to extend my support and/or assistance to you an all things to do with coming to Sydney and WYD08.

    I am SO EXCITED about WYD08 this year - the event is coming to me, and this will be my first one! I think that's pretty special and largely auspicious:) I hope that the turn-out will be huge, though really unlikely because of the distance of Australia from Europe, where the bulk of Catholics are. Still, this is my first World Youth Day AS A LEGITIMATE YOUTH in the city I live in!

    Speaking locally, the church's school is hosting 400 pilgrims from around the world in the large gym, with an extra 200 being taken in by parish families.

    My family is hosting this year! I'm really looking forward to the whole experience. I think it's important to establish global connections - through understanding and tolerance, I hope that we can piece together a better world by educating people through the medium of communication and personal contact, and I think hosting a pilgrim is definitely a giant leap in showing the world how hospitable Australians are!

    Right now I'm praying for all things WYD08 to run smoothly as planned, and for the health and well-being of all fellow Christians out there, that you will really grow spiritually in your faith in the time you stay in Sydney. Amen ;)

    Remember to shoutbox, message.. grab my attention!
    God bless, Agape, take care and all that.
  • Top 20 of 2007 - yearly summary

    3. Jan. 2008, 18:49 von Vami

    So it's my favorie time of summaries. So, let's get things done. The ultimate top 20 (22 to be precise :>) songs played by me in the year 2007.

    20-22. Can't Take My Eyes Off You (NEW)

    Well, memories, memories and even more memories. This song reminds me of two great women I tried to be with. Both unsuccessful. Still I'll never forget the moment I sang it to one of them in a club ;) You know - just like in "10 Things I Hate About You" ;)

    20-22. Komu Bije... (NEW)

    The verse "Dlaczego mam oczy mokre, stojąc pod Twoim oknem?" says it all. No need to explain.

    20-22. If You Could Read My Mind (NEW)

    Better than original by Gordon Lightfoot. Yes, if I could read their minds... Women...

    17-19. Help Me (NEW)

    Lord, Help me walk
    Another mile, just one more mile
    I'm tired of walkin' all alone

    I could have as well written it myself...

    17-19. Bridge Over Troubled Water (NEW)

    Another cover by the great late Johnny Cash. I just find his last recordings better than anything. EMOTIONS are what I'm looking for in music. Here, Cash delivers them perfectly.

    17-19. Blues dla Małej (NEW)

    Not the best well known song of this band, but I find it particularly good, because of numerous factors. Emotional lyrics, delivery and harmonica are some of them...

    14-16. Ne me quitte pas (NEW)

    French song in my charts is really a rare thing to see, but this one deserves it. Just listen to this emotional delivery...

    14-16. Amazed (NEW)

    Well, again women... I was so amazed... And it ended just like it always does...

    14-16. Wasting The Dawn (NEW)

    Some may wish never to be born
    Wastin' the dawn

    I sometimes feel like that... Amazing tune...

    12-13. Czerwony jak cegła (-7)

    Now this is one of two Dżem songs in this year's summary and the ONLY song from the WHOLE list that also appeared on it last year. 7 places drop, but still a great song.

    12-13. Ćma barowa (NEW)

    Now this is another, and last, one by Dżem. It's from their latest album (though 3 years old). Again, lyrics... Loneliness, drinking, etc...

    11. Your Song (NEW)

    I sang it for her too... Long story... Memories, memories... Geez, all the songs here are from the first quarter of the year...

    10. Can't Help Falling in Love (NEW)

    She sang it to me... You know...

    9. Hymne ASEC (NEW)

    Curious thing. This is a football song, sang by a former football player from Ivory Coast. It's an anthem of ASEC Mimosas Abidjan, one of the greatest African football clubs.

    8. Thank You (NEW)

    If the sun refused to shine
    I would still be loving you

    Isn't that the most beautiful thing you can say to a woman?

    7. First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (NEW)

    I already wrote about those covers by Cash. Pure emotions... Everybody should know them. Better than original. Rest in peace Johnny

    • 6. I'm Free from the Chain Gang Now (NEW)

      What a song... He is free... From the chain gang named life...

      4-5. Trzy Zapałki (NEW)

      The only song by TSA in the charts. High enough and fully deserved place. Congratulations.

      4-5. Jedyne Co Mam (NEW)

      The highest ranked Polish song (ex aequo with TSA). Real surprise, as this band has never been my top league. Again, lyrics and emotions...

      3. Would You Lay with Me (NEW)

      The highest ranked Johnny Cash song this year. That's what love is all about, ain't it? Being together in good and bad, happy and sad...

      2. Your Song (NEW)

      Filipino song in my charts? Oh yes. And what a song! It really does bring memories of some great women in my life. You all were great... You all hurt me... I never regretted meeting any of you...

      1. You're Beautiful (NEW)

      Prophetic on the top:

      But it's time to face the truth
      I will never be with you

      And that was it. The top 22 songs of the passing year... Feel free to comment on them.
  • Faith in music.

    31. Okt. 2007, 16:44 von Lifesong

    Just want to write some tought about the state of indie music in general, I found it very promising to have secular artists with christian message. Bands like Arcade Fire, Eisley, Mute Math and Sufjan Stevens have very clear passages about their Faith, and young people seems to enjoy the thing.

    Today, the message of Jesus seems like folklore to the rational world we are living in it. In contrary, it is the fondation of us human being. We must continue to preach,help each other, not just our christian community but every others. Artists like the ones I mentionned seems to get this very well. Even if they are not labeled Christian, they are not afraid to put their beliefs in their art.

    May God Bless you all, have a good day.

    Arcade Fire
    Mute Math
    Sufjan Stevens
  • So much to listen...

    18. Jul. 2007, 16:59 von Lifesong

    We are living in an era that is bless by God my friends, we have the chance to listen to so much great music, it's nearly impossible to try each new artists that comes out and sings about Christ. Just imagine a couple of hundreds years ago when communication was nearly non-existent and just the simple pleasure of hearing choir music or a classical piece could be the joy of a lifetime. Today, we can have this every single second of our life.

    Since the last two decades, the Christian music community has grown to become such a beautiful thing for all of us. I pray the Lord that it will continue to grow. Since this is my first entry, I will share a video found surfing on youtube, God Bless you everyone and the light of Jesus be with you always.


    Casting Crowns
    Jars of Clay
    Amy Grant
  • My top albums I got in 2006

    5. Jan. 2007, 23:50 von eibmaverick

    NOTE: I'll apologize ahead of time for the length, but if you're reading this you probably know already that I'm incapable of writing anything short and void of detail. From start to finish it probably took me 4-5 hours to write this entire entry. And in case you were wondering, yes, I do have too much time on my hands. If you just absolutely have no patience for reading long entries you can skip to the bottom where I simply listed my 10 favorite albums I got this past year, and also all the other ones I got that didn't make the cut.

    By my own count I either bought or received as a gift 25 albums in the calendar year 2006. Now this list should not be confused as a "best of 2006" list because less than half of them were actually released in 2006, and the others were mostly from the 2 or 3 years before it. I got more albums this year than I have in several years, and it was an interesting mix. A couple were the full-length debuts of bands I became a fan of after getting their EP (Mute Math and The Hourly Radio), a couple were new releases by artists who hit their popular peak in the 70s (The Who and Neil Diamond), a few were popular indie artists I only became a fan of this past year (Sufjan Stevens, Snow Patrol, Editors, Ray LaMontagne, and Interpol), others were albums by acts I've been a fan of for a few years and just needed to fill out my collection (Elliott Smith, Pete Yorn, and Sigur Ros), and two were new albums by bands I've been a fan of for a long time and the new material did not disappoint (Jars of Clay and Switchfoot).

    In compiling this list I found it easy to pick candidates for the top 10 but difficult when it came to leaving some off. I've known for a while what my top 3 albums were, since they were all masterpieces and in other years any of them might have been my top album. Picking the next 4 behind the top 3 didn't take a long time either, but finalizing the last 3 to round out the top 10 took a while and I really hated leaving out a handful of albums, so I designated these with "Honorable Mention" status. Even the ones that didn't make honorable mention were good albums, they just weren't in the running for the top 10 so I set them aside in their own category, so don't let that fool you into thinking that they're not worth buying as well. So, without further ado...

    Honorable Mention
    Derek Webb - Mockingbird
    Neil Diamond - 12 Songs
    The Secret Machines - Ten Silver Drops
    Pete Yorn - Nightcrawler
    Ray LaMontagne - Trouble
    Five Times August - The Acoustic Sessions
    Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights; and Antics

    All of these 7 albums have very good qualities about them but they all barely fell short. Mockingbird had some powerful songs with very searching lyrics about modern day churches and many Christians' unfortunate tendency to eschew God's word for rules and commandments of their own making. "A New Law", "Mockingbird", "Zeroes & Ones", and "Please, Before I Go" are all great songs but I couldn't quite find a place for it and decided there were 10 other albums I'd rather listen to. Favorite lyric: "What's the use in trading a law you can never keep for one you can that cannot get you anything" - from A New Law

    12 Songs didn't sound much like anything from Diamond's hit-filled catalogue of the 60s and 70s (save perhaps the bouncy, upbeat "Delirious Love"), and much of it is quiet and meditative, but it has several songs that grew on me over time. That said I liked it a lot but not enough to rank it higher. Favorite lyric: "And if your goldmine comes up empty I'll be there to work the claim / If you're a captain of a shipwreck I'll be first mate to your shame." - from Captain of a Shipwreck

    Ten Silver Drops I was disappointed with at first but came to like it more over time, but still not enough to crack my top 10. It is notable because it contained "Lightning Blue Eyes," the one song I listened to more than any other in 2006. Favorite lyric: "And in your dreams you've seen it all / through a window so far off / remember watching when your lightning blue eyes reflected sunrise" - from Lightning Blue Eyes

    Pete Yorn's 3rd album, Nightcrawler, was a confident and assured effort after the disappointment that greeted his sophomore album Day I Forgot. I loved his 2001 debut album, musicforthemorningafter and was let down at first by Day I Forgot but that one had some great songs and grew on me as I listened to it many more times. Nightcrawler on the other hand I liked immediately after I got it. The main knock against it, and the reason it's not in the top 10, is because while it's a very listenable album it isn't one I can listen all the way through without skipping (like Musicforthemorningafter) and it doesn't really have any standout "You gotta hear this!" tracks (like Day I Forgot). Still it has some good work on it, my favorite songs being "Vampyre", "For Us", "Undercover", "Alive" and "Ice Age".

    I bought Trouble after I'd fallen in love with his follow up album Till the Sun Turns Black (more on that later) and while it isn't very similar stylistically it's a very good album with songs in the soulful acoustic troubador tradition of Van Morrison. This album's title track was a minor hit and more-or-less put him on the map, and Kelly Clarkson has covered the 2nd track ("Shelter") in concert a number of times. Other standout songs include "Hold You in My Arms", "How Come", "Forever My Friend", "Jolene", and the closer "All The Wild Horses", a slow mournful song with strings that makes for a good segue into his 2nd album, which uses strings much more heavily than Trouble does. Favorite lyric: "Forever my friend / Forever my love / Forever the woman that I'm thinking of / I just think if we keep our hearts together / Just think if we build on this trust that we have for one another / Baby we can make this last a lifetime" - from "Forever My Friend"

    I've been a fan of Five Times August (the moniker Flower Mound native and current Austin resident Brad Skistimas performs under) for around 4 or 5 years now and I have every album he's released. The Acoustic Sessions, as its name suggests, is a collection of his best work all performed in solo acoustic fashion. I've seen him play pretty much all these songs live before and this set gives a good idea of what he's like in person. I don't rate it higher mainly because most of these songs have been released before on another acoustic album he did and I liked other versions of them better in some cases. The Acoustic Sessions comes free as a bonus disc when you buy his album Fry Street, in case anyone is interested. Favorite lyric: "I’m standing in the place we first kissed / There’s so much I miss / This I can’t resist cause I’m all over / Where we took our first photograph, and where I first held your hand and laughed /Awkward moments like that have passed, it’s over" - from First Time for Everything

    I first heard a few songs by Interpol early in 2005 but didn't buy their albums Turn on the Bright Lights and Antics until 2006. They're both good, have songs with frequently infectious beats and atmospheric guitar licks, and are easy to listen all the way through. I just didn't quite like either enough to put in my top 10. Standout songs include "Untitled", "NYC", "Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down", and Leif Erikson (from Turn on the Bright Lights); and "Next Exit", "Evil", "Slow Hands", "C'mere", and "Narc" (from Antics). Favorite lyric: "It's way too late to be this locked inside ourselves / The trouble is that you're in love with someone else / It should be me. Oh, it should be me" - from C'mere

    The Top Ten
    10. The Hourly Radio - History Will Never Hold Me

    I got into this Dallas band after I heard a few of their songs played on a weekend local music show on a Dallas rock station. I bought their EP Lure of the Underground soon after and bought their full length debut this fall. The band's echoing guitars and atmospheric rock style owes a lot to post-punk acts in the vein of early U2 and The Cure (whose influence is most easily heard on "Not a Victim", which seems to borrow from the Cure's song "Pictures of You"). They're definitely a band that deserves to be more popular than they are, and hopefully that will happen for them soon. Favorite songs on it include "Deaf Ears", "Please Forget", "Closer", "Not a Victim", "Means to an End", and "Stealing Off" (which begs to be used as the closing credits song for a movie at some point.)

    9. The Killers - Sam's Town

    The Killers' debut album Hot Fuss was one of my favorites of the last few years and I listened to it many many times after buying it. I was disappointed the first time I listened to Sam's Town, but like many albums, it grew on me the more I listened to it. It's much more ambitious than its predecessor, and, while not quite hitting the heights it shoots for, it's a more mature work and is a fun and entertaining listen in its own right. Favorite songs: "When You Were Young", "Bling (Confessions of a King)", "For Reasons Unknown", "Read My Mind", "Bones", and "The River is Wild".

    8. Switchfoot - Oh! Gravity

    This album was released the day after Christmas and thus was one of the last that I got in 2006. I've been a fan of the band since I got their album New Way To Be Human in high school, and of course they really blew up and became mainstream radio regulars after the release of The Beautiful Letdown and its hit single "Meant to Live". I wasn't sure what to expect from Oh! Gravity aside from the fact that I knew I loved the bouncy title track. I listened through it a few times and it seemed that each time I'd run across a different song that provoked a "Hey, I really like this song!"-type reaction. As much as I liked New Way to be Human and The Beautiful Letdown, neither was an album I tended to listen to all the way through, but so far, Oh! Gravity has been just that. It has the group's typical strong lyrics and addictive hooks and might just be the most flat-out listenable album they've released. Favorite songs: "Oh! Gravity", "American Dream", "Dirty Second Hands", "Head Over Heels (In This Life)", "Burn Out Bright", and "4:12".

    7. Snow Patrol - Eyes Open

    Another album I wasn't entirely enthused with when I first listened to it. I loved the first 4 songs, but after that I thought it was hit-or-miss. I remember telling a friend that I might actually have had buyer's remorse. However, as happens to me a lot, I grew to like the rest of the album as well. I'm seeing Snow Patrol in March so that was one reason I wanted to listen to all of their songs, and I'm glad I did, because "Open Yor Eyes" and "Set Fire to the Third Bar" are two of the best on the album. Other favorites include the opening foursome "You're All I Have", "Hands Open", "Chasing Cars", and "Shut Your Eyes", as well as "It's Beginning to Get to Me" and "You Could Be Happy".

    6. Mute Math - Mute Math

    I've loved Mute Math since the day over 2 years ago that I heard their anthemic song "Control" on 89.7 Power FM while driving around Arlington. I bought their Reset EP as soon as I could find it and have been a fan ever since. Their major label self-titled debut was finally released in late 2006 and was well worth the wait. Their mix of pop, alternative, rock, funk, and electronica is very unique and has earned the band comparisons to everyone from U2 to The Police. Paul Meany's vocals are said to resemble what Sting would sound like if he fronted U2, and drummer Darren King is one of the best and most hyper you'll hear anywhere these days. I saw them live this past October and it was truly an awesome experience, one everyone who loves live music should have some time. Favorite songs: "Chaos", "Noticed", "Typical", "Control", "Without It", and "Plan B".

    5. Editors - The Back Room

    I had never heard of the British rock band Editors until last year when I saw some of my MySpace friends name them as a favorite band. I checked them out sometime later and liked them immediately. They get compared to Interpol a lot but I think Tom Smith has a better and less whiny voice than Interpol frontman Paul Banks, and their music is more epic and arena-friendly than the club rock type of sound Interpol has. This isn't a knock against Interpol, it's just that I find the Editors album more interesting and compelling. Favorite songs on the album are "Munich", "Blood", "All Sparks", "Fingers in the Factories", and "Open Your Arms". Favorite lyric: "People are fragile things you should know by now, be careful what you put them through" - from Munich

    4. Nada Surf - The Weight is a Gift

    Nada Surf is probably still best known for their decade-old hit "Popular", but since then they've put together a string of memorable pop/rock records most easily comparable to a more radio-friendly version of Death Cab for Cutie. As far as unpretentious pop bands go, Nada Surf is one of the best and The Weight is a Gift is full of the type of songs your ears will thank you for playing. My favorites are "Always Love", "What is Your Secret?", "Your Legs Grow", "In the Mirror", and "Armies Walk".

    3. Jars of Clay - Good Monsters

    I've been a Jars fan for over 9 years and I have practically every album they've released. Their self-titled debut from 1995 was a masterpiece and while every album they've done since then has been somewhere between good and great, Good Monsters was the first that made me think it could be as good or possibly better than anything they'd done before. Once you've listened through it a dozen times or so, it becomes hard to argue against it being their best work. The style they use is similar to what they've done on past albums, particularly Who We Are Instead and The Eleventh Hour, but with a more pronounced rock influence and the songs just feel important and seem to posses that earnest quality that U2's best work is known for. I saw the band live in October and heard them play every song from Good Monsters except one, and hearing them in a live setting made me appreciate some of them more, especially the sad "Light Gives Heat", which references the plight of Africa and how there must be other ways of combating it than through the efforts of self-important Western activists (a U2 reference perhaps). Best songs: "Work", "Dead Man (Carry Me)", "Good Monsters", "There is a River", "Mirrors & Smoke", "Light Gives Heat", and ""Water Under the Bridge".
    Favorite lyric: "Catch the rain empty hands, Save the children from their lands, wash the darkness from their skin. / Heroes from the West, We don't know you, we know best. But this is not a test." - from Light Gives Heat

    2. Ray LaMontagne - Till The Sun Turns Black

    After I'd listened to this album a few times I thought it sounded a bit like an American modern-day version of Nick Drake's best work, with more strings and a higher recording budget. It opens with "Be Here Now", a gentle song with understated pianos and guitar sounds to go with LaMontagne's hushed vocals. It closes with the title track and "Within You", with the former seguing into the latter, and both sounding like something you just swear you must have heard at a wedding somwehere. In between its highlights include the soulful "Three More Days", the lonely-sounding "Can I Stay", the music-sounds-happy-but-the-lyrics-are-sad "Gone Away From Me", and "Lesson Learned", which sounds like it was written in the aftermath of a broken relationship. It's an album as beautiful as anything I've heard in the last few years and has songs for almost any emotion. The whole album is so great I won't bother to specify songs other than the ones already named. Do yourself a favor and buy this.

    1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

    I'd heard of Sufjan Stevens a few times in recent years but never checked out his music until early 2006. When I bought his Illinois album in late May I knew it was the most remarkable piece of music I'd bought in a long time. His music is difficult to describe to people who have never heard it. Words I've used to describe it include big, folksy, epic, orchestral, and joyful. It's chock-full of textured instrumental and vocal arrangements and is one of the most unique musical listening experiences you're likely to have. I liked's review of it, in which they said, "Illinois sounds like The Sea and Cake collaborating with the high-school band from a Wes Anderson film on banjo-driven, pulsing meditations on Vince Guaraldi's music for Peanuts."

    I've listened to it more than any other album I bought in the past year, and it's next-to-impossble to pick a favorite song from it. With song titles as quirky as the music itself, it's hard to even name favorites while keeping a straight face. Best songs include: "Come On! Feel the Illinoise!", "Jacksonville", "Chicago", "Casimir Pulaski Day", "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts", "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Us!", and "The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders". It's my favorite album I bought in 2006 for all the reasons listed above, and because of the memories it evokes. I hear it and remember driving away from the Best Buy I bought it from, waiting at DFW airport to board my first plane, driving around rural roads in Kentucky, browsing the bookshelves of a Borders in San Antonio, watching Little Miss Sunshine, and various other events of the past year of my life. For that reason alone it will always hold an important place in my musical collection.

    The whole list
    1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
    2. Ray LaMontagne - Till The Sun Turns Black
    3. Jars of Clay - Good Monsters
    4. Nada Surf - The Weight is a Gift
    5. Editors - The Back Room
    6. Mute Math - Mute Math
    7. Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
    8. Switchfoot - Oh! Gravity
    9. The Killers - Sam's Town
    10. The Hourly Radio - History Will Never Hold Me

    honorable mention (in no particular order):
    Derek Webb - Mockingbird
    Neil Diamond - 12 Songs
    The Secret Machines - Ten Silver Drops
    Pete Yorn - Nightcrawler
    Ray LaMontagne - Trouble
    Five Times August - The Acoustic Sessions
    Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights
    Interpol - Antics

    the rest of them (in no particular order):
    Snow Patrol - Final Straw
    The Who - Endless Wire
    Eric James & the New Century - The City Lights EP
    Elliott Smith - Either/Or
    Elliott Smith - Figure 8
    Sigur Ros - ( )
    Mew - And The Glass Handed Kites
  • Redeeming Redeemer

    19. Dez. 2006, 1:29 von CovinS

    When I first got O' God, the Aftermath, I didn't like it at first. The vocals sounded monotonous on first listen compared to Scogin... But then I started listening to a lot more closely with it CRANKED, and, having used to be a hardcore vocalist, I realized that he's SHREDDING his throat the entire time. He's relentless. I never got as good or developed enough stamina to last like he does with that much intensity.

    I'm beginning to go through the same experience with their new album "Redeemer." At first, I couldn't -stand- it at all... But after giving it a few more listens and overlooking the drastically terrible change in vocals, the music is more chaotic than anything I've -ever- heard. The music is just flat out chaos...

    What's crazier, is that everyone was complaining that the vox flat out suck on Redeemer; I agreed completely, until I started reading all these rave reviews about their latest tour. I was thinking "There's no way people could enjoy the vox on that album live...something's not adding up." Then I started to get the feeling that vox are intended to be really off on Redeemer.

    A lot of the lyrics such as "I've been so bitter towards you" give a really personal, self-berating attitude, and I think that it's meant to sound kind of ugly. Instead of the relentless screaming of O' God, they added chaos to the vocals as well, which takes Redeemer to an insane level of energy and intensity.

    Norma Jean have done something, imo, very few bands would ever dare to do. They advertised the album as "their most personal album yet," and indeed it is. It's incredibly heavy, and I would go so far as to say it's a kind of heavy that I've never heard before.

    Note: Just because I believe the vox are intended to sound that way doesn't mean that sometimes I still don't wince. There are still a couple of parts that are really just terrible and can't be appreciated, despite the amazingly artistic scope of the music. Mainly:
    A Small Spark Vs. A Great Forest (LOVE that title)
    Blueprints For Future Homes
    Other than that, I don't think the rest is [as] bad.
  • my desert island albums

    29. Nov. 2006, 6:37 von eibmaverick

    This was an entry I made on my other blogs about 3 months ago but since this site is specifically music-related, and since I haven't posted much, I thought I'd copy and paste it here. I've thought about it since then and might actually change some of the ones on it if I make the list again in the future, so these are just what my favorite albums were as of August.

    Some people like to make "desert island" lists of their things, that is, which CDs, DVDs, books, etc. they would want to have with them if they were ever stuck on a desert island and had only those items for the foreseeable future. I haven't really made any of those before but I've now decided to post my list of desert island albums. I looked over my collection, which probably has somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 CDs or more, and from those I've selected these 10. This list is subject to change as my musical tastes become more refined or as I hear more great albums, but right now these would be my picks (in no particular order):

    A Rush of Blood to the Head by Coldplay

    An album I've loved since I bought it some 4 years ago. I can listen to it all the way through with no skipping through tracks, I love the pianos (who doesn't love Clocks?), and I love the mellowness of it all. Other great songs off of it include The Scientist, God Put a Smile Upon Your Face, Green Eyes, Warning Sign, and the closer Amsterdam. If Coldplay has proved anything with AROBTTH and the albums that came before and after it (Parachutes and X&Y), it's that they really know how to begin and end an album. From Politik to Amsterdam, this is one I go back to a lot, and according to my music tracker on it's among my 2 or 3 most played albums.

    Plans by Death Cab for Cutie

    I thought this album's predecessor Transatlanticism was a masterpiece and didn't like this one nearly as much at first but it's grown on me a lot in the 8 months since I bought it. Death Cab's lyrics are among the most poetic you'll hear from any band, and in their case, also among the saddest. Transatlanticism had its share of sad ones but Plans has so many songs about death, aging, and lost love, that it would be easy to dismiss it, as one critic did, as "a kleenex box shaped like a CD". But DCFC are often at their best when they're at their saddest, and this is just one beautiful album that sticks with you. Best songs: Brothers on a Hotel Bed, What Sarah Said, Marching Bands of Manhattan, Soul Meets Body, and Someday You Will Be Loved.

    Crash by Dave Matthews Band

    I first got into DMB my junior year of high school and this was the first album of theirs that I bought. They became my favorite band for my last year of high school and my first couple years of college, though Crash was, like most of their albums, an acquired taste. I love the band but it's always taken a few listens for me to really like any album they've put out. Crash was their biggest seller, on the strength of the hit single "Crash into Me", but DMB's trademark sound (some rock, jazz, and blues with a jam band twist) was even better exhibited on other tracks. My favorites of these being Two Step, #41, Say Goodbye, Lie in Our Graves, and Proudest Monkey. Their follow up to Crash (Before These Crowded Streets) might have musically been a better album but this one is still my favorite of theirs.

    All About Chemistry by Semisonic

    I still remember the first time I heard Semisonic's song "Closing Time" on the radio in the summer of 1998. I fell in love with it and it was my favorite song for several months afterward. And when I finally bought the album from which it came, Feeling Strangely Fine, it took up a semi-permanent place in my CD player. For several years I rated it above its follow-up, All About Chemistry, which was released a couple of years after Semisonic hit their popular peak with "Closing Time". It had some great songs on it and showed singer Dan Wilson's gift for songwriting and clever lyrics sporting frequent double entendres, but for some reason it was never nearly as popular as Feeling Strangely Fine and only had one modest radio success, the title track "All About Chemistry". I liked that song and "She's Got My Number" a lot but it wasn't until this past year or so that I appreciated it more and began to listen to all of the other songs on it and not just those two. All About Chemistry has songs for just about any mood and shows one of the greatest and most underrated late 90's pop-rock bands in peak form. And it's chock-full of songs that are just plain catchy. Best songs: Act Naturally, I Wish, Get a Grip, Surprise, Sunshine and Chocolate, and All About Chemistry.

    The Best of Simon & Garfunkel by Simon & Garfunkel

    My dad essentially stopped listening to new music in the 70s, and one result of this was that I heard a lot of oldies songs and artists as a kid and gained an appreciation for 60's folk-pop bands. Simon and Garfunkel were arguably the best of that sub-genre, and they created some of the most memorable songs of their era. There are many reasons to have this album with you on an island; The Sounds of Silence, The Boxer, Scarborough Fair/Canticle, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Mrs. Robinson, and For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her are some of the best ones. But my number one reason would be... "Ceciliiiaaaaa, you're breaking my heart, you're shaking my confidence dailyyyy. Oh, Ceciiiilllliiiiaaa, I'm down on my knees, I'm begging you please to come home, come on home."

    Illinois by Sufjan Stevens

    This is the 2nd album in Stevens' ambitious goal of recording a concept album for all 50 states (except Texas, supposedly ). It's difficult to describe to people who haven't heard it before. It's got some melancholy pop with strong folkish tendencies and lots of horns, flutes, and percussions thrown in. Lots of instruments can be heard on most tracks and Sufjan Stevens shows a masterful grasp of instrumental and vocal arrangement here, along with a pretentious tendency to give his songs the quirkiest titles he can think of. I bought this album in May and have listened through it dozens of times since. Best songs: Come On! Feel the Illinoise!; Chicago; The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!; The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders; Casimir Pulaski Day; and The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts.
    Note: Illinois is the album whose songs I play the most of, according to, and it's not really even close.

    The Best of 1980-1990 by U2

    No real explanation needed here. Most people either can't stand them or they think they're the greatest band in the world. Surprisingly little middle ground with them. In my case they've been my favorite band for the last few years and this compilation of work from their first decade has some of the best tunes they ever did, with songs from their first masterpiece The Joshua Tree, as well as great 80s albums War and The Unforgettable Fire. Among the U2 essentials here on this one are: With or Without You (my favorite U2 song), Bad, All I Want is You, Where The Streets Have No Name, Pride (In the Name of Love), Desire, Sunday Bloody Sunday, New Year's Day, and I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

    The Ultimate Collection by The Who

    Another of rock music's most legendary acts, and though they hit their peak in the early 70s this wasn't a band I grew up hearing dad play. I first got into them when I found out their song Baba O'Riley was the background music for the trailer of the movie American Beauty. Little by little I got into the band, just as they started to get played everywhere from C.S.I.'s opening credits to Hummer commercials. If you've ever seen videos of them on YouTube then you know what an energetic live band they were. This compilation album of their hits has many 70's rock staples that are still played a lot today, and for good reason. My faves: Baba O'Riley, Behind Blue Eyes, Won't Get Fooled Again, Bargain, Pinball Wizard, and The Seeker. I don't have the greatest knowledge of 70s (and especially 80s) music, but what I've heard leads me to believe that no rock group has ever reached the heights that The Who did when they were in their absolute prime, especially in their legendary live shows.

    Braveheart Soundtrack - composed and conducted by James Horner

    For some years before I got into post 70s pop music, I listened to a lot of movie soundtracks. Albums like the soundtracks for Superman, The Last of the Mohicans, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves were favorites of mine, but James Horner's score for Braveheart is my favorite of them all. He won the Oscar for best original score for Titanic 2 years later but he deserved to win for Braveheart and didn't. There's a lot of moving bagpipe and violin music along with the big, epic, orchestral music for the battle scenes and William Wallace's execution. The only negative to this score is that Horner has written very little original-sounding music since then. You can hear a lot of his Braveheart music in the score for Titanic and flashes of it in his score for Enemy at the Gates. In my opinion, The Mask of Zorro, done 3 years after Braveheart, is his best post-Braveheart work and one of the few that doesn't sound like a musical repeat of previous scores. Best individual tracks on here: The Gift of a Thistle, Wallace Courts Murron, The Battle of Stirling, For the Love of a Princess, and Betrayal and Desolation.

    XO by Elliott Smith

    Smith was a singer-songwriter who was plagued by depression and drug addiction for much of his early career and eventually committed suicide before finishing his final album. But when he was at his peak he produced some of the most hauntingly beautiful 60s-inspired soft pop-rock music of the late 90s and early 2000s. X0 was his first album released by a major label. He signed with Dreamworks Records after the success of the Good Will Hunting Soundtrack, which featured a handful of Smith songs, including the Oscar-nominated original song Miss Misery. XO was released in 1998 to much critical acclaim, and since I can be an easy sell on some things, I bought the album some time after it came out. I was torn over it because the first 3 tracks were all very good but a couple of later songs contained an F-word or two, which bothered me at that time. So I ended up selling my copy of the album. But over time the music for those first 3 songs were still stuck in my head and I later ended up buying it all over again (albiet a used copy). The arrangements show a big influence of 60s pop bands like the Beatles, among others. Like Death Cab for Cutie, Elliott Smith was known primarily for songs that could sound depressing and beautiful at the same time, and this, in my opinion, was his best album. Best songs: Sweet Adeline, Tomorrow Tomorrow, Waltz #2 (XO), Pitseleh, Bled White, and A Question Mark.

    Other albums that were considered but didn't quite make the cut were (in no particular order):
    The Last Broadcast
    Jars of Clay
    Teaser and the Firecat
    Out of the Vein
    How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb