Every week I am sharing my playlist – simply because I like music and it’s fun for me. So, here is this week’s list, check it out:
1. “Crown Him” by Citizens & Saints
The guys in Citizens & Saints were formerly a worship band part of the Mars Hill Church “empire” out in Seattle. But post-Mars Hill their musical careers have really taken off. They’ve departed from the heavy synthesizer sounds of their previous album (Triumph) and have returned to their roots in indie rock. “Crown Him” is the first track off of their newest (2016) release, A Mirror Dimly. It’s a great introductory track to the album. Previous albums had been reinterpretations of shared songs from the Mars Hill Music scene, but all nine tracks on Mirror are brand new, and “Crown Him” sets the tone from the outset. Not only is this a true worship song, but it’s solid indie rock. I love this unique worship band and this is just one example of how competent they are at using alternative worship forms to create great music for the church.
2. “Casey Jones” by Grateful Dead
This is admittedly a weird song, the Dead were certainly known for a few strange songs. This one got stuck in my head randomly the other day and I had to go and find it again. I recall that my dad and I used to share some affinity for Grateful Dead and it brought back some happy memories. The song is a folksy tale about a train engineer who is headed for a crash. Various factors contribute to the perfect storm that will create the accident, including an engineer who is high on cocaine, a switch man who is sleeping, and another train speeding along. The song has that classic Dead blues rock sound. The main protagonist of the song is based on an actual engineer named Casey Jones who was known to have some legendary exploits. This song is one of the few recognizable tracks that non “Deadheads” would know. It’s a fun if, again, admittedly weird song. Despite the band’s association with pot and psychedelic drugs, the song displays the disastrous consequences of substance abuse. Who knew that the Dead had any anti-drug songs!
3. “Heard that Sound” by MxPx
“I may be lost but I am not hopeless,” a great line describing the feeling of many young punks. This song was a hit song from the pop-punk trio’s 2005 record Panic. It was featured on both MTV and on a popular video game. The song is catchy and heartfelt, like a good pop-punk ballad should be. Singer Mike Herrera recounts a relationship loss in this song, he can hear the sound of her leaving coming “from a mile away,” but there wasn’t much he could do to stop its coming. So, “misery loves misery,” but at least he has his “favorite songs [to] keep [him] company.” This song in and of itself kept me company this week.
4. “To Hell with the Devil” by Stryper
Stryper were the first overtly Christian metal band in the history of rock, and this album (and this song in particular) garner them attention in the secular mainstream. The song is the title track off of their 1986 album, the third of the band’s career. It was the first Christian metal album to achieve platinum status and went on to become multi-platinum. The song is tirade against the devil, think Martin Luther meets glam metal. The song basically tells Satan where he can go, and ultimately where he is headed. For the days and weeks when you are just sick of evil and wickedness this is a great song to rock-out!
5. “This is Who I am” by Shane & Shane
To balance out the list here is a simple acoustic praise song from the Texas duo. Everything is Different, the album featuring this song, is their sixty studio album and contains the usual dynamic harmonies of Shane and Shane, and is full of rich Scriptural references throughout their lyrics. This particular song is a reflection on 2 Corinthians 5:17, and it is chock full of Scriptural references. It is a wonderful meditation on truth and a great way to rest an anxious or weary heart.