Here’s this week’s playlist, with a special emphasis upon nostalgia:
1. “Mrs. Hippopotamuses’ ” by Relient K
Matt Thiessen sings, “There’s nothing better than knowing where you come from.” I have been feeling über nostalgic lately, and this week I spent time reflecting on wonderful memories of growing up in rural Ohio. I remembered great friends from Waverly High School, from church youth group, and all the antics I used to get into with my best friends. Needless to say I had “all the feels” this last week, and this particular song – which is all about growing up in rural Ohio – helped me to foster that nostalgia. When the band shouts out “O-H-I-O” I do too. When Thiessen laments “I wish it didn’t take me all this time to figure it out,” I can relate. You don’t usually appreciate what you have in the moment, it’s not until after it has passed that you look back with fondness.
2. “Another Man’s Shoes” by Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
Drew Holcomb has a great knack for folk and this is just a fantastic song about remembering the troubles and sorrows of others. No one escapes pain and heartache and remembering this allows us to care for one another better. “Everyone’s got their own set of troubles; everyone’s got their own set of blues.” The song is a simple song, but with a powerful message of compassion and sensitivity. It’s a musical reminder of Paul’s emphasis on the commonality of trials (1 Cor. 10:13).
3. “I’m Gonna Make It Better” by She & Him
This fun duo consists of M. Ward and, actress, Zooey Deschanel. The two met on the set of a film in which Zooey was a main star, and Ward was recording music. They bonded over similar musical interest and after a time began to record the songs that Zooey had privately been writing for years. Their sound is distinct and beautiful. It harkens back to another era. Deschanel’s smokey voice is distinct, and yet reminiscent of 70s soft rock. Volume Two, the record from which this song comes, was received with general praise, debuting at #6 on Billboard 200. It has been called a “jaunty” and full of “confection,” a “spring breeze.” These odd descriptions somehow seem perfectly apt as you listen the record. This song is just one gem, and my choice of it this week was entirely arbitrary. I could have easily chosen “In the Sun” or “Thieves”. This is just a fun and retro album from front to back. It’s got a hint of nostalgia in its sound.
4. “Hold Onto Jesus” by The O.C. Supertones
The Supertones were a Christian ska band from Orange County, CA (hence the O.C.), popular in the 90’s. This song, however, is not a ska song. In fact, much of Hi-Fi Revival, the sixth studio album from the band, was overall a more stripped down sound. The horns on this album, and this track in particular, add color but are not dominant. This is a heart-felt worship song which serves as a musical reflection on Philippians 3:8-10. I’ve particularly needed this song this week. I stumbled onto again in shuffling through music, but it hit me at the right time and was such an encouragement to me in a long and disappointing week. “Hold onto Jesus. Tell Him everything, your dreams and troubles.”
5. “Today is in My Way” by MxPx
When I saw Mike Herrera on the reality show Fixer Upper I geeked out a bit. Krista and I love to watch the home remodeling show, and I loved MxPx when I was in high school. So, it was a colliding of worlds for me this last Tuesday. Seeing him on the show, however, inspired me to go back and listen to the bands early records. Life in General, the band’s third album, was a smashing success and remains one of their best (IMO). In honor of its 2oth anniversary, the band re-recorded the album and released it afresh in 2016. “Today is in My Way” is a simple pop-punk song, with a great bass line, that highlights the struggle of moving on from a break-up. “How will I get through tomorrow, if I can’t make it through today.” This of course is an important warning for me not to spend too long stuck in remembering the past. “What’s done is done and in the past,” Hererra sings. I can remember the past with fondness, but I don’t want to get stuck there or I won’t be able to move on.