Tuesday, September 09, 2003

The Obsession Continues

In my last column, I mentioned two recent CD releases to which I've been obsessively--and enjoyably--listening: "More Than You Think You Are" by Matchbox Twenty and "The Beautiful Letdown" by Switchfoot. Today, I want to mention two other CDs that I highly recommend.

(1) "The Light of Things Hoped For..." is the second release from Brave Saint Saturn, a four-man group made up of members from the soon-to-be-defunct ska band, Five Iron Frenzy.

This release is a pleasant surprise, as the quartet's first CD was unimpressive. Reese Roper, who serves as part-time assistant pastor of the wonderfully-named Scum of the Earth Church in Denver, handles most of the composing and lead singing duties, as he did in his other band.

Many of the tracks seem to deal with the after-effects of a relational break-up. This helps to make "The Light of Things Hoped For..." the most emotionally poignant album I have heard since Bob Dylan's 1974 release, "Blood on the Tracks."

Roper has an interesting voice. His lyrics run the gamut from an irony reminiscent of Steve Taylor or They Might Be Giants to a tenderness that can evoke tears. Musically, this is a rock band that can occasionally break into ballads.

(2) Two members of the OC Supertones, calling themselves Grand Incredible, use overdubbing to sound like a traditional rock foursome on "G.I.gantic." While containing many thoughtful tracks, this is a fun release which is at times musically reminiscent of Elvis Costello or the J. Geils Band.

Like Switchfoot and Brave Saint Saturn, these Christian musicians produce more than praise music, although it should be remembered that according to the Bible, everything we do well and with the right intent can glorify God. The Bible says, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (First Corinthians 10:31). Martin Luther once said, "A dairymaid can milk cows to the glory of God." Today he might also say that a rock musician can do the same thing plunking his or her bass guitar.

Conversely, Christians should feel free to enjoy the work of non-Christian bands like Matchbox Twenty because, "every perfect gift" (one surmises that this includes the gift of musical talent) comes from God (James 1:17).

Whenever musicians use their talents to build up, strengthen, encourage, incite thought, give expression to our common emotions, or just positively entertain us, God is glorified.

Luther also said, "Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise." I believe that.

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