31 August 2012

Music Day

This is my Saturday-morning-drive-to-prayer-walk/community-clean-up-day song. (Well, actually, I play the whole album on those days, but this song is one of the reasons why. Urban Renewal is the other one, but it's not on iTunes.)

I'm the type of person who listens to a song (or artist) because it challenges me or generally makes me think. It's one of the main reasons I hardly ever listen to 'secular' music -- let's face it, there's not much to chew on in a lyric like whoa oh oh, you don't know you're beautiful.

And this song is a challenge. Are they working harder at what we think is wrong; Than we are at what we know is right... Are they? Are we? Am I? If not, what do I need to do to change that? It's a question I constantly need to ask myself. It's so easy to settle for 'good enough' and no longer strive for 'best.'

(Also, the beat in this song is just way too catchy to resist.)

Title: More Sold Out
Artist: White Heart
Album: Emergency Broadcast
Year: 1987
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

Are we gonna sit back and let them take control
When we've got His power in our soul...

24 August 2012

Music Day

This song is darn near legendary here at the asylum.

This was the first song I ever completed a dance for. That was back in April (I think 10 April 2012 will live forever in my memory), but it kick-started my choreography in general. It was during this song that I realised, yes, I can do this. And I'm not even all that bad at it.

As for the song, this captures the band at its finest. There are so many little things that make this song amazing. (And I listened to this almost non-stop for ten weeks, dissecting the timing and listening for cues for the dancers and deciding what step would best fit this bit of music, so I think I've picked up a few things.)

There's the bass, toward the end -- it starts as a short solo, then the guitar joins it with a really fast, very quick rhythm (the part that was a nightmare to count).

There's that whistle at the beginning.

There's that drum kick in the middle of the first verse (after the cold winter streets of your life...).

There's the part in the chorus where the guitar deviates from the steady 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, for like a measure before returning to the beat.

Then, of course, there's the singing ability of the one and only Rick Florian.

But above everything else, the proof that this is a fantastic song... is that you can listen to it almost non-stop for ten weeks and still love it. Seriously. It is impossible to overplay this.

I give you...

Title: Sing Your Freedom
Artist: White Heart
Album: Freedom
Year: 1989
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

Can't drown out the truth
Or chain our beliefs
Can't drown out the song
Of those who are free...

19 August 2012

This Shouldn't Bother Me Anymore... But It Does

This is going to be a bit of a self-pity post. Consider this your fair warning.

So my grandmother is still on her 'Kate-needs-to-get-off-her-presumably-lazy-backside-and-get-a-job' kick. Never mind that I'm working one full-time job and two part-times and am still crazy enough to be seriously considering another potentially full-time job and another part-time.


So today at church, one of the worship team members came up to me as my grandmother was telling me about this utterly fantastic job opportunity she saw in the paper, and tried to thank me for running the PowerPoint.

I don't get a lot of compliments (and most definitely not in real life), so I was carefully recording this moment in my head for future reference.

But instead of letting me have the moment, my grandmother butted in and told him to tell me to get out and get a job.

Sensing a potentially explosive situation, he cut his compliment short and left. So then did my grandmother.

And the recording in my head, meant to preserve a rare compliment, contains only another reminder that I will never be good enough.

I know what you're all thinking. I know what you're going to say. You'll say that I have a lot of talent, that I shouldn't give up just because of one person, that she probably doesn't understand any of this, that I'm not the only one to feel this way. And I do thank you all for that. Those reminders are definitely helpful.

But just once, I'd like for someone to look at me and not automatically assume (or be told before they have a chance to form an impression) that I'm stupid and lazy. I'd like them to be able to hold a conversation with me without telling me everything that's wrong with me (as if I didn't already know and hate myself for it!), to be able to look at me and be able to truthfully say they appreciate me. That it's okay for me learn this whole life thing as I go, that I don't have to have it all perfect the first time. That even if I mess up, they will still love me.

17 August 2012

Music Day

I hadn't actually paid much attention to this song -- after all, on the album it's preceded by Bye Bye Babylon, Sing Your Freedom, and Let The Kingdom Come; three of the best White Heart songs ever, one right after another. By the time you've listened to all that you're reeling from the sheer epicness of it all and your brain takes some time off to process it, thus mostly missing the next couple of songs.

But the other day I really heard this song for the first time.

And my reaction was... wow. Just wow.

Such emotion. Such honesty. Such raw vulnerability.

You can almost see Rick looking in the mirror as he sings that line... I look into the mirror; Have a silent fear; There is no-one really there... He nailed this song. Absolutely nailed it. He captures the apprehensiveness so perfectly.

Title: Eighth Wonder
Artist: White Heart
Album: Freedom
Year: 1989
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

I've been thinking about me
Wondering who I am
Trying to be somebody
Wondering if I can...

15 August 2012

The Precipice Of The Creative Process

I love this part -- just finished another dance, just listened to a couple of favourite songs as part of the decision making process, and for the moment all one sees is the sheer potential of the piece I'm about to dive into. No can I listen to something else already? no brain, I order you to cease and desist with the pas de bourreés, just wow, this dance is going to be so beautiful.

14 August 2012

Ponderings -- Rock, Ministry, And Church Problems

The other night I was watching a video on YouTube about Petra's ministry.

From both a musical and ministry standpoint, these guys were a huge deal back in the '80s and early '90s. Many, many people came to know Christ through the work they did. You still see testimonies on Petra's Facebook page from people who got saved (or realised their existing commitment to Jesus had to be deeper) at a Petra concert in such-and-such a place during this tour in this year.

Today we have no equivalent in the Christian music industry. Today, pastors and youth leaders lament dwindling attendence and widespread lack of passion in those who do attend church. Why?

Perhaps a question to ask is what did Petra do differently? How was it that five guys on a stage led so many people to Christ, and today we have an entire Christian rock industry and the youth groups and churches are still shrinking? What was Petra doing then that we're missing today?

They presented the Gospel.

I personally have never had the privilege of attending a Petra concert (unless owning the cassette copy of Captured In Time & Space counts). However, it's widespread knowledge (among the fans at least) that they shared the Gospel, carefully and explicitly, at every concert. This goes back to the earliest days of the band, even before Greg X Volz came on board the first time (and that was a while ago).

However, I have been to concerts of today's 'Christian' rock bands. I've seen the Newsboys twice, plus Flyleaf, Starfield, downhere, and what is possibly one of the most recognisable bands in Christian rock today, Skillet.

Not once did I hear them explain the Gospel. In fact, by and large they toned down the 'Jesus factor' so much that their songs are more likely talking about a girlfriend than the Creator of the universe and Saviour of our corrupted souls. I could go into a long discourse right here on how Larry Norman (sort of accidentally) launched the 'Jesus rock' movement precisely so that more people would hear the Gospel and live in accordance to it.

The fact is, somehow we Christians, both inside and outside the arts, have forgotten somewhere that in order for people to be transformed by the Gospel, they need to hear the Gospel first. How shall they call on Him whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear... unless someone tells them?

10 August 2012

Music Day

This month I'm going to feature only White Heart songs. Because White Heart is my favourite band and August is my birth month and since it's the crappiest birth month of the year I need something to cheer me up... right?


This comes mainly because I NOW OWN ALL THE WHITE HEART ALBUMS!

Possibly sometime this month I'll make a list of the albums in order of fantasticness, but for now I'm just going to feature one song.

I think this is my favourite from this album. I love the melody in the chorus (It's a mask you wear to hide...) This also would have been one of the very first times White Heart fans of the day heard just what Rick Florian was capable of as a vocalist. (This was his first album.) And seriously, is that keyboard bit between the first chorus and the second verse not the most awesomely retro thing ever? (Okay okay, maybe not the most, but it's up there.)

Think of this as the White Heart version of Petra's Altar Ego (from Back To The Street, same year. And now that I think about it, that was also John Schlitt's first album with the band. But I digress).

Title: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Christian
Artist: White Heart
Album: Don't Wait For The Movie
Year: 1986
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; live version (complete with drum solo and bass solo) on YouTube here.

(In case you were wondering -- I seriously did not see that there were five Fridays this month until after I decided to make it White Heart month. Honest. And anyway, I missed one, so there's only four now.)

01 August 2012

Betting The Farm (Or Boat...)

So the other day I was griping to a friend (he wouldn't say it like that, but that's what I was doing) about how decidedly not supportive my family is about this whole dance thing.

It's really frustrating because most of them are Christians as well. They understand my faith. They know God, and how great He is. Yet they think I'm crazy when I tell them I'm just going with what God is telling me and have no 'serious,' 'logical' plan for the future outside of just going where He leads me.

Um, what gives? I want to grab these people by the shoulders and get right up into their personal space and say, "Don't you trust God?!" I mean, He created the entire universe, He keeps all of our hearts beating even now, He created me for His purpose and for all my life you've been encouraging me to find out what God wants me to do and pursue that and now that I have, you tell me it's stupid? Do you know what you're saying? You're telling God He doesn't know what He's doing.

Anyway, so I was griping about all this to my friend and I believe somewhere in there I said, "So right now I'm just kind of betting the farm that this is what God wants and giving everything to that. Either I'm acting on my trust in Him or I'm completely crazy."

And he said, "It's like when Noah built the ark. He spent a hundred years in the desert building this huge boat and everybody else probably laughed at him and teased him and thought he was crazy. And then they all died and Noah lived."

That shut me up. And believe me, once I start ranting, that's no small accomplishment.