A couple of notes about some recently purchased music:
For the If It Ain't Christian, It Ain't Cool crowd there is, newly released, Remedy by David Crowder* Band. My personal opinion is that in the world of CCM, no one is doing it better right now than David Crowder. And while I don't think that Remedy is as complete or as full an offering as A Collision, it's still a worthwhile purchase. The title track, "Remedy," is beautiful and the lyrics throughout achieve much.
It's a good album. If you don't have any Crowder and are going to purchase only one album, however, go with A Collision, it's my personal favorite and what made me a Crowder head. B Collision has more of a bluegrass feel to it - and I love that - but loses the narrative that A Collision accomplishes.
For those of you who like to change things up and aren't afraid of murder ballads and an occasional f-bomb, I'd recommend Okkervil River. This band's sound is, perhaps, my favorite at the moment. Will Sheff's voice pours out of him. Their new release The Stage Names is brilliant. And brilliant following the darkness of Black Sheep Boy. Perhaps it is Black Sheep's darkness that makes this album seem all the more brilliant.
That being said, I need to interject a word of caution. While The Stage Names sheds the violence, the "Pan's Labyrinth-ness" of Black Sheep, it's still got some language. And it's still, thankfully, moody at times. But if you can't stomach buying the entire album, try buying one song.
"Unless It's Kicks" makes even a fat man want to crank it up and shimmy and shake all night long. It propels. Inspires. It makes my heart beat faster and threatens to throw out my back. There is no cussing in this song and no violence. But it kicks.
Spend $0.99 and shimmy and shake with a fat man, miles and miles away. (I know, it's tempting. Am I right?)
It'll make you happy to be alive ... at least for about five minutes.
"what gives this mess some grace
unless it’s kicks, man—unless it’s fictions,
unless it’s sweat or it’s songs? What hits
against this chest unless it’s a sick man’s
hand, from some midlevel band? He’s been
driving too long on a dark windless night,
with the stereo on, with the towns flying
by and the ground getting soft.
And a sound in the sky, coming down
from above, it surrounds you and sighs
and is whispering of what pulls your body
down, and that is quicksand. So climb out
quick, hand over hand, before your
mouth’s all filled up. What picks you up
from down unless it’s tricks, man? When
I’ve been fixed I am convinced that I will
not get so broke up again.
And on a seven day high, that heavenly
song punches right through my mind and
just hums through my blood. And I know
it’s a lie, but I’ll still give my love. Hey, my
heart’s on the line for your hands to pluck
What gives this mess some grace unless
it’s fiction—unless it’s licks, man, unless
it’s lies or it’s love? What breaks this heart
the most is the ghost of some rock and roll
fan, floating up from the stands with her
heart opened up. And I want to tell her,
“your love isn’t lost,” and say “my heart is
still crossed!” I want to scream, “hey, you’re
so wonderful! What a dream in the dark—
about working so hard, about glowing, so
stoned, trying not to turn off, trying not to
believe in that lie all on your own.”