Sunday, November 8, 2009

Music I've been Listening Lately- Relient K, Hawk Nelson, The White Stripes, U2

I probably love music a little too much. It can be disconcerting to admit that I feel anxious if my mp3 player is not with me. My favorite genre is rock, preferably Christian Rock. And this is what I have been listening lately:

Relient K, Forget and Not Slow Down: Years ago, I heard of Relient K and the mostly excellent reviews the band was getting and I bought their album "MMHMM". Somehow it didn't click for me. I could tell that it was quality music, perhaps too good for me to appreciate at the moment, as it wasn't as conventional as I foolishly liked it to be. Looking back, as my vision in music has wildly matured (at least I like to think that it has) I could see what a fool I was! I absolutely love their new album " Forget and Not Slow Down". I find it hard to express their style, but it feels like the style of rock you'd listen in the 90s'. Very laid back and with a sunny ambiance filling their melodies, all topped with Mathew Thiessen's Piano following and guiding the guitars. Simply beautiful. And it gets better with their thoughtful lyrics.
My favorites:
Forget and Not Slow Down.
I Don't Need a Soul.
Sahara.
Savannah.

Hawk Nelson Live Life Loud: For some reason, liking Hawk Nelson and enjoying their music can be a little embarrassing. Don't get me wrong, the guys are great musician. But I felt their music is directed towards younger audience. It is pop-rock, nothing more and nothing else. But their music was fun, and I enjoyed it. I feel that with this album however, Hawk Nelson has greatly matured. While no one would call the lyrics masterful poetry, it is evolving towards more mature and thoughtful in nature. It can start a little cheesy, with the opening track featuring cheerleaders screaming "Someone throw your hands up, If you wanna take a chance then ya gotta sing a little louder, let's wake this crowd up". Fun, but surely not a track you want to hear when your adult friends are around. My favorite (and I absolutely love this song) is "Meaning in Life". Pop-rock at its best. The simple lyrics are sung with a honesty rarely found in pop music, giving it a extra depth of emotion, all beautifully topped with string arrangements while the final chorus hits in: " hey yeah, gonna find a new beginning, lately I'm tired of the life I'm living, Find a way to make a change in the lives of all of us who need to find meaning of life". For all of us who have been in the same situation, it is easy to relate. This track is quickly followed by "Alive" an up-tempo celebration of salvation.
Favorites:
Never Enough.
Eggshells.
Meaning of Life.
Alive.

The White Stripes, Elephant: I have heard many good things about the White Stripes, specially Jack White as one of the best guitarist around, which is good to see a extremely good guitarist in this era of modern rock. The White Stripes are an influential part of the garage rock revival, which can sound unconventional to some. The Album was recorded using antiquated recording gears. This is very interesting music, and while it can be an acquired taste, I really like it. White's guitar can be very rough, using lots of distortion. As the Rolling Stones said, "Don't pay attention to the notes; White is not a clean soloist. He's a blowtorch". He is also obsessed with Blues, which is very apparent in this Album.
Favorites:
Black Math.
I Just Don't Know What to do with Myself.
I Want to be the Boy to Warm Your Mother's Heart.
You've Got Her in Your Pocket.
The Hardest Button to Button.
Little Acorns.
The Air Near My Fingers.

U2, The Best of 1980-1990: U2 has become one of my favorite bands. "No Line on the Horizon" is probably my favorite album of 2009, so I decided to check their earlier stuff. Not disappointed. I really like their ambient and atmospheric sounds of their 80s offerings, specially songs that originally appeared on "The Unforgettable Fire". I absolutely love Edge's churning and scratching guitar. He is a great guitarist and I think he is under appreciated at times. And Bono's voice is one of the most gifted you'll find in rock music.
Favorites:
Pride (In the Name of Love).
New Year's Day.
Sunday Bloody Sunday.
Bad.
The Unforgettable Fire.



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